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Francis Ormond : 19-June-2011
Francis Ormond : 19-June-2011

Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

The statue commemorates grazier and philanthropist Francis Ormond (1827 - 1889), for his role as a public benefactor. 

The statue was unveiled in 1897 on the 10th anniversary of the Working Men's College (later the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and currently RMIT University). Francis Ormond as the founder of the Working Men`s College. 

Ormond`s earliest ventures in educational philanthrophy were the provision of a Presbyterian theological scholarship in 1872 and the financing of printed sermons for rural distribution. His respect for education was closely associated with religion, morality and successful living. In 1877 he donated £300 to the appeal for a proposed Presbyterian college in the University of Melbourne for theological training and residence.

Another special interest was the education of working men, and in England and on the Continent after1860 Ormond took particular note of institutions for technical education. In 1881 he began his long struggle to found a technical institute in Melbourne, but his toil and doggedness did not succeed until the Working Men`s College was founded in 1887. He contributed £20,500 to this project and as its chairman spent much anxiety and effort.

The statue erected to the memory of Mr. Francis Ormond, the founder of the Working Men's College was unveiled on Monday at the college by the Governor. It is a bronze figure, designed by Mr. Percival Ball, and cast by Robison (sic) Bros. The fee paid to the artist was £1,000, but as he agreed to "make a donation of £200 to the fund," the amount was really £800. It has cost with the granite pedestal £1,200. Professor Kernot said that the establishment of a great technical school for the training of artisans was Mr. Ormond's own idea, and was taken up by him as early as 1881, at a time when few people in the community shared in his belief as to the importance of the scheme. Mr. Ormond himself said at the outset that if the new school were attended by 400 scholars he would be well content, and his expectations were far more than realised, for within the first year there were three times 400 students. Mr. F. A. Campbell, the secretary, reported that the college had suffered a little during the financial depression, but was again on the upgrade. It was mentioned by Dr. Morrison that Mr. Ormond's gifts to Ormond University College amounted to £100,000. How much he gave to the Working Men's College was not stated, but he supplied most of the money for the erection of buildings, with the condition attached that "the public" was to make up the balance. Mr. Ormond died on May 5, 1889.

At the distribution of prizes at the college on Monday Archbishop Carr said he was glad of an opportunity of expressing his deep admiration for the Working Men's College. No country could succeed in these modern days of competition unless the body of its workmen were well and thoroughly instructed. Latterly there had been a good deal of question in the newspapers with regard to the subject of "Made in Germany." He had travelled in Germany, and could speak from observation. While he believed that the English workman and artisan would hold his place to the end of the chapter against all competition, still it could not be denied that in Germany a great advance had been made in modern times, and made very much, if not solely, on account of the splendid opportunities given to young men by institutions similar to the Working Men's College in Melbourne.
Australasian (Melbourne), 12 June 1897.


Address:La Trobe Street, Melbourne, 3000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.809127
Long: 144.964885
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Artist:Percival Ball (Melbourne, VIC)
Monument Manufacturer:Robinson Brothers (Melbourne, VIC)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 7th June, 1897
Front Inscription

Francis Ormond

Public Benefactor
Died 5th May 1889

Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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