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Sir Redmond Barry
Sir Redmond Barry

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

The statue commemorates Judge and benefactor Sir Redmond Barry (1813 - 1880) who was the founder of the State Library.  A plaque was added in 1980 to commemorate the centenary of his death in 1880.  

At the Library he took a very direct role, overseeing the details of the building, the selection of books, the specification of colours of the bindings, the instigation of an ingenious security system, and a constant advocacy with Government for funds for further additions and improvements. Barry’s confidence in his position was given public display in his decision to have his family coat of arms carved over the entrance to the Library, together with the arms of the four original trustees.

Parodied in Melbourne Punch, who suggested that the Library was seeking a license to sell liquor and would henceforth be known as the Barry Arms, the decoration caught the attention of members of parliament. In his defence, Barry pointed out that he was merely continuing a tradition that dated back to Roman times, when Senators emblazoned public buildings with a record of their achievements. Barry’s arms and those of his fellow trustees are there to this day.

Mebourne, Tuesday. The ceremony of unveiling the statue of the late Sir Redmond Barry, recently erected in front of the Public Library, was performed this afternoon by the Governor in front of a large concourse of spectators. The statue, which was erected by public subscription, was commenced five years ago by Mr. Gilbert, an English sculptor, who died before he had concluded his task. The statue was finished by Mr. Percival Ball of this city. It is of bronze, and represents Sir Redmond in his robes as Chancellor of the University. His Excellency, after unveiling the statue, delivered an appropiate address, in which he referred to Sir Redmond`s many services to the colony. He then, in the name of the people of Victoria, presented the statue to the trustees of the Public Library. The following inscription is engraved upon the pedestal:  "Erected by grateful public to the memory of the invaluable services rendered to Victoria by Sir Redmond Barry Doctor of Laws and Judge of the Supreme Court."
Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 24 August 1887.


Address:328 Swanston Street, State Library, Melbourne, 3000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.810038
Long: 144.964387
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Artist:James Gilbert & Percival Ball


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 23rd August, 1887
Front Inscription

Erected by a grateful public to perpetuate the memory of invaluable services rendered to Victoria by Sir Redmond Barry Kt, Doctor of Laws, and a Judge of the Supreme Court,


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