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Sir John Franklin
Sir John Franklin

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

The statue commemorates Sir John Franklin (1786-1847), Lieutenant Governor of Van Dieman's land.

Sir John Franklin was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen`s Land in 1837. During the politically turbulent years of his office (1837-1843) he strove to promote the development of cultural pursuits in a colony of brutalised convicts and Aborigines, and free settlers. Sir John established a State education system, founded the Tasmanian Natural History Society (which became the first scientific Royal Society to be established outside Britain) and subsidised the Tasmanian Journal of Natural History. During his period in office, Tasmania became the intellectual hub of the Australian colonies.

After his Tasmanian appointment he conducted two significant polar explorations, the first in 1845 and the second in 1847 in his attempt to discover the North West Passage.

In 1847, Franklin reminded the Admiralty of its promise that his having held a civil post should not debar him from further naval service. When James Clark Ross, the only officer with superior claims to the leadership of the expedition, declined it, the Admiralty kept its word and offered it to Franklin. At 59 he was too old for Arctic exploration and died on this expedition, in the HMS Erebus, which was beset in the ice-pack off the coast of King William's Land, on 11 June 1847, in sight of the North-West Passage which he had first set out to find nearly thirty years before.  Franklin and 128 sailors aboard the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror perished in the Royal Navy’s worst polar expedition disaster.

The statue intended to commemorate the governership of Tasmania by the great Arctic navigator, Sir John Franklin, was raised to its destined position on the pedestal erected for that purpose in Franklin Square on the 22nd ult., but will not be formally inaugarated for some considerable time to come, probably, indeed, not until after the commencement of  the next session of parliament.
The Mercury (Hobart), 23rd March 1865.



Address:Macquarie & Elizabeth Streets, Franklin Square, Hobart, 7000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -42.88339
Long: 147.330649
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Statue
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Colonial


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1865
Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au