Robert BurnsPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by (C0279)

The bronze statue commemorates the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1756). It was erected in National Circuit by public subscription of Scotsmen in all States as a gift to the nation. The cost of the statue was £5000.  Behind the statue are bas-reief plaques with extracts from his works. 

A monument which is important for its associations with the cultural life of early Canberra. It is highly valued by those in the community who are of Scottish extraction and is particularly valuable for the way it demonstrates the nostalgia and reverence held at the time by Canberra`s Scottish community for Scotland and Robbie Burns.

Its importance is shown by the fact that the monument was the first in Canberra erected with the aid of public subscriptions and that it was presented to the Commonwealth. Burns was not only Scotland`s National poet, but he was seen as the poet of true democracy and a statue of him was therefore considered appropriate in the capital of democratic Australia.

Burns memorials symbolise the loyalty and affection of Scots for the poet Robert Burns and for expatriate Scots communities worldwide they are also monuments to Scottishness, Scots traditions and achievements in adopted countries.

Scotsmen from all parts of the Commonwealth gathered at Canberra to witness the unveiling of the Robert Burns Memorial—the first statue to be erected in the Federal Capital. Unveiled by Sir James Murdoch, of Sydney, the monument, which is a striking piece of work, depicts the poet in contemplative mood, sitting in front of a polished granite block, bearing plaques inscribed with extracts from his works.

Special trains and motor cars brought visitors to the ceremony and among those specially invited were the Prime Minister, Mr Lyons, the Minister for the Interior (Mr Paterson), Mr James Boyd, representing the Victorian Scottish organisations, Dr. Henry, president of Canberra Highland Society, and Captain Patrick, president, of the New South Wales Highland Society. Standing on the platform of the monument, which was draped with yellow Scottish standards, Sir James Murdoch officially handed over the statue to the Commonwealth as a gift in trust for the nation. The unveiling ceremony was followed by a dinner at which 600 people drank the toast " to the immortal memory of Burns.''
Singleton Argus (NSW), 30th January 1935.


Address:National Circuit & Canberra Avenue, Forrest, 2603
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.314752
Long: 149.129536
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Designer:J Shedden Adam (architect) John Samuel Davies (statue)
Artist:John Samuel Davies


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 26th January, 1935
Front Inscription


Born 1759  Died 1796

O, wad some power the giftie gie us
To see ourselves as others see us !
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design