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The monument over the grave commemorates the goldfields pioneer and politician, Robert Benson who died in 1860. 

Robert "Pump Handle" Benson was a well known agitator on the goldfields from Castlemaine to Bendigo. He was a stalwart of the Land Reform League and the Miners Protection Society and the first representative of the goldfields in the Victorian Parliament. 

Mr. Benson, we believe, arrived in the colony in 1852, and he very soon after his arrival was engaged in gold digging on Bendigo, chiefly in the vicinity of the present township of Sandhurst. He was engaged in almost all the political movements in this district. He was a zealous and efficient member of the Reform League, whose efforts contributed so materially to securing the mining communities a share in the representation of the country, and he was one of the members of the first Mining Board. He was elected member for the Sandhurst Boroughs on November 15th, 1855, having polled the largest number of votes. Mr. Grant was returned with him. Mr. Benson took his seat on the 23rd of November following, and until the dissolution of Parliament, which took place a few months afterwards, he was always at his post, faithfully recording his vote on the Liberal side.

On the inauguration of Responsible Government in the succeeding year, Mr. Benson was a candidate for the Loddon district, but was defeated. Last year he was a candidate for the representation of the Sandhurst boroughs, and although unsuccessful he polled a large number of votes. Afterwards he stood for Creswick, and was again defeated, and there is no doubt that the anxiety, the losses, and the disappointment attendant upon these successive failures, materially injured his health. Mr. Benson was Registrar of the District of Maudurang up to the time of the last elections, and indeed, we believe, up to the time of his death, and had he not involved himself in such heavy losses by electioneering and other expenses, he could have maintained himself very comfortably and respectably.
Excerpt from Bendigo Advertiser (Vic), 12 June 1860.

The friends of the late " poor old Benson" will be gratified to learn that the result of the somewhat tardy public recognition of his services has now assumed a tangible form, and the White Hills Cemetery, Sandhurst, is beautified by the presence of a handsome monument to his memory. By the courtesy of Messrs Vahland and Getzschmann, the designers and architects of the work, we are enabled to furnish the following details : - The base, which is one piece of granite, is three feet six inches square by eight inches in thickness, rests on rabble piers taken down to the bed rock ; on this base stands a block of freestone two feet ten inches square by one foot ten inches in depth, on this stands the plinth, two feet five inches square by one foot three inches, above this the block two feet two two inches square by a depth of two feet seven inches, having sunk panels at each face, the cornice, which is two feet seven and a half inches square, by four inches deep, with worked mouldings.

Above this is the base of the obelisk itself five feet three inches in height, squaring, one foot five and a half inches at the foot, and five inches at the top; the total height of the monument is twelve feet, and with the exception of the base stone which is granite, is composed of a fine grained freestone. The workmanship is by Messrs Symonds and is very well executed. The panels in the block stone are filled one by a general description of the name, age, and date of death of the deceased ; another, recounting the public services of the deceased in the various public movements of the day, and that he was the first representative of the goldfields in the Victorian Parliament; on another panel is an emblematic design alto relievo, and having the pick and shovel of the miner. It is intended to rail the whole in with a substantial wooden fence. 
Mount Alexander Mail (Vic.), 9 November 1860.



Address:Holdsworth Road & Plumridge Street, White Hills Cemetery, White Hills, 3550
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.728961
Long: 144.298628
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Colonial
Designer:Vahland & Getzschmann
Monument Manufacturer:Symonds


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:September-1860
Front Inscription

In memory of Robert Benson who departed this life
June 11th 1860
Aged 69 years

This memorial has been raised by the people of Bendigo

September 1860

Source: MA,VMR
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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