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Digger statues: the Italian connection

January 1, 1970 @ 10:00 am

There are sculptures of ‘diggers’ on the war memorials in many Australian towns and suburbs. The nearest is in Parkside, on the verge of Sydney Road. Although they are hardly ever noticed, they have been icons of Australian culture since the Boer War. But few know that many of them were actually designed and carved in Italy – in the ancient marble workshops of Carrara – and bought by Australian monumental masons, who simply erected them on their pedestals. They are actually part of a long Italian tradition that goes back to Ancient Rome (and includes Michelangelo) on to which Australian iconography has been grafted. Because the tradition was that only the names of those who served and/or died should appear on our war memorials, few artists signed their works, so their valuable contribution to our culture was in danger of being lost forever.
Donald Richardson OAM, BA, Dip.Art, T.Dip.Art, RSASA, is an art and design historian who has published a book on the art and design of Australian war memorials: Creating Remembrance. Now retired, he has taught and worked in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia and published several books on Australian art and design, art education and art theory.


Free event – RSVP essential: ihs@coasit.com.au


January 1, 1970
10:00 am

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