Commemorating with Stone in Melbourne
221 Bouverie Street
T: (03) 9035 9781
This presentation will look at the use of stone as a material in commemorating colonial, national, subaltern, critical and indigenous meanings across Melbourne.
A key strategy for conveying ideological meanings, identities and historical interpretations across space is through memorialisation: the erection of a structure or form that is intended to command attention and organise place identities. Stone has been deployed as a key constituent of commemorative memorials across human history in marking selective events, commemorating esteemed people, marking out sites of sacred significance or glorifying deities, whether carved into figures and obelisks or serving as plinths for elevated bronze figures. Throughout history, and especially over the past 200 years, groups have competed to commemorate ideas, figures and events in stone in complex and diverse ways. Nevertheless, the built environment is invariably replete with reminders that the powerful are especially able to impose selective meanings and sentiments across space. This remains the case in Melbourne, with some extremely powerful and enduring sites of commemoration. Yet the city is continuously in a ferment concerning its relationship with the past. Such contestations and challenges are particularly intense in the current era.