State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 29 April 1982


Fund-Raising in Colonial Melbourne: The Shakespeare Statue, The Brooke Bust and The Garibaldi Sword

Colonists who had been active in literary and other cultural circles before emigrating were naturally anxious to promote similar activities in their new homeland. While the distance between Australia and Europe remained immense, physical isolation was eased by the foundation of clubs, societies and institutions that reflected overseas models. In the 1860s, during the rapid development that followed the Victorian goldrushes, a Melbourne resident with an interest in literature and the theatre might belong to the Garrick Club, formed in 1855 by a group of men ‘drawn together by common sympathies and by a common love of Shakespeare and the stage’.1 He might also belong to the Yorick Club, a gathering of literary and social members founded in 1868. He could use the books in the Public Library, study at the University if qualified, attend performances by visiting artists and listen to readings and lectures by local and imported speakers. Melbourne, though far from the cultural centre of the world, provided companionship and the means for intellectual stimulation for those who sought them.
Involvement in local activities was accompanied by a continued interest in overseas affairs. Reports of literary appeals and historic events were followed with close attention and, where possible, the colonists took part, either through direct financial support or through the organization of a related event of their own. One such occasion was the celebration of the tercentenary of Shakespeare's birth in 1864. An English memorial fund was set up and contributions invited from the Australian colonies but, when interested supporters gathered at a public meeting in the Melbourne Town Hall on 24 April 1860, it was decided that Victorians would erect their own memorial in the form of a statue of the poet.2 A committee of management was elected, including among its members Sir William Stawell,3 Sir Redmond Barry,4 Professor Martin Irving5 and James Smith.6 However, there were soon indications that the decision to erect a statue was not unanimous. The question of an alternative memorial of a Shakespeare scholarship at the University was raised at a committee meeting on 28 May 1860.7 Members were divided and the Shakespeare memorial became the subject of opposition between supporters of one or other of the projects.
Those who wanted the statue, initially the majority of the memorial enthusiasts, went ahead with arrangements for an amateur performance by members of the Garrick Club, the proceeds of which were to assist the fund. The club's production of The Merchant of Venice took place at the Princess's Theatre on 6 June 1860, under the patronage of the Governor Sir Henry Barkly. Supporting items were Stirling Coyne's musical extravaganza Enquire Within, an allegorical tableau of Shakespeare surrounded by his principal characters and a vocal solo by Melbourne printer W. H. Williams.8 According to the Argus critic, the performance of the play was ‘on the whole, the most successful the Garrick Club has yet given’. On the other hand, the extravaganza was ‘more noticeably amateur’ and the singer less successful than the song, a new number by popular composer S. Nelson.9 The audience was appreciative and the sum of £40 was raised for the Shakespeare Memorial Fund.10
Encouraged by the successful launching of its fund-raising programme, the committee began the search for a suitable sculptor. English and colonial artists were invited to compete for the commissioning of the statue and a tribunal consisting of Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin and the artist William Mulready was appointed to decide the winner in co-operation with the Victorian committee.11 But time went on without a decision. Public support declined and the tercentenary drew closer with small prospect of the erection of a Shakespeare statue. The memorial was the subject of the Argus editorial on 6 July 1863. It begins with a description of the public meeting at which the choice of a statue was enthusiastically accepted. The writer goes on to deplore the shift in support for this form of memorial:
More than two years have gone by, and brought us no nearer to the accomplishment
of the Shakspeare statue. Our orators were too flattering, and our writers too hopeful. The scheme of the Shakspeare monument has miscarried, and April, 1864, will find us still without a sculptured effigy of the poet in Melbourne. The committee which was formed to carry out the resolutions adopted at the general meeting in April, 1860, has failed to raise a sufficient sum of money for the projected memorial. A minimum of £2,000 was required before anything in the shape of a decent statue could be got, and, towards this amount, the committee has only been able to raise something like £500 or £600.12
As a compromise, the Melbourne sculptor Charles Summers13 offered to prepare a plaster model of a statue that could be cast in bronze for £1,000.14 This was a feasible alternative to the original plan though disappointing to a committee that had been prepared to spend twice as much. Summers was requested to prepare the model while renewed efforts were made to raise more money. He went ahead and the model was displayed at the fourth annual Fine Arts Exhibition held in Melbourne, commencing on 1 March 1864.15 It was then placed outside the Public Library and formally unveiled by visiting actor Barry Sullivan16 on 23 April 1864, the date of the tercentenary. The Argus reporter described the model in the following terms:
The ‘immortal bard’ is represented in a sitting posture, with his head resting on the left hand, and some open manuscripts in his lap. The countenance is marked with thought, the attitude and disposition of the drapery manifest repose, and the entire treatment of the subject is consistent with the xml:idea that the poet is giving form and shape to some piece of gorgeous fancy.17
The previous evening the amateur actors from the Garrick Club had given a performance of The Merchant of Venice, accompanied this time by the introduction to The Taming of the Shrew.18 A prologue by R. H. Horne19 was delivered by elocutionist T. p. Hill and James Smith's epilogue in defence of the choice of a statue was spoken by club secretary J. M. Forde.20 These lines from the epilogue illustrate the strength of the opposing forces:
What need of monumental bronze or stone
To magnify his fame who stands alone,
Divinely honoured and supremely great,
In solitary glory, fixed as Fate?
So runs the question, pointed with a sneer;
For answer, I appeal, undaunted, here,
Why on the canvas do we fondly trace
The lineaments of some beloved face?
Why do we bend with rapture o'er the page
Which tells how looked, how lived, the wit or sage…
Warm from the human heart the wish will rise
Earth's master spirits to immortalize, To bid Art triumph over “speechless death,”
And touch the sculptured lips with all but breath.
So we with seemly reverence would rear Mankind's great benefactor's image here.21
Meetings of those who wished to see the statue completed in bronze were held at Charles Summers's studio on 12 May and 17 June 1864. At the first meeting it was decided that circulars should be issued in the form of a photograph of the model with space beneath for the receipt of subscriptions.22 Sixty of these circulars were sent out but only three or four had been returned by the date of the second meeting and the sum of £1 was the total donation.23 Still not discouraged altogether, the committee arranged a series of lectures, to be given by James Smith and Dr. J. E. Bromby,24 among other able speakers.25 As a further attraction, it organized a Shakespearean musical festival, to be held in St George's Hall on 1 September 1864.26 Despite the efforts of the committee, public response was inadequate for the purpose. The lectures were poorly attended and the festival received limited support,27 diminishing any hope of a large addition to the statue fund.
The supporters of the scholarship had been active in the meantime. On 23 April 1863, a year before the tercentenary, a meeting of subscribers had decided that the funds in hand were compatible with the foundation of a scholarship rather than the erection of a statue.28 Additional subscriptions were called for and, as reported in the Argus on 18 March 1864, the visiting actor Charles Kean29 was one of those who responded, donating the sum of £25.30 A series of lectures was arranged, the first on the subject of ‘Falstaff being given at the University on 31 March 1864 by G. W. Rusden,31 the prime mover for

Charles Summers' Model of a Statue of Shakespeare

the scholarship.32 Other lecturers included Archibald Michie33 and T. T. à'Beckett.34 Michie's lecture, entitled ‘Shakespeare: his influence and his interpreters', was given in St George's Hall on 11 April 1864. The Governor Sir Charles Darling, in the chair, explained that his appearance in support of the scholarship was simply because that project was more advanced than the one for the statue.35 At this stage, £600 to £700 had been subscribed for the scholarship,36 while the statue fund stood at around £450.37 The lecturer, speaking to an audience of approximately 700, expressed the views of his supporters in decrying the need for a statue while the works remained an adequate tribute.38 This was the view that gained final acceptance in Melbourne. The scholarship was within reach of the subscribers and the Shakespeare memorial eventually took this form.
There was no lasting disharmony between the rival groups of supporters. James Smith, whose appreciation of Shakespeare's works far outweighed his consistent support for the erection of a statue, was later to be one of the most active members of the Melbourne Shakespeare Society, founded at the University in 1884. At the time, however, some of the members of the Garrick Club were unwilling to hand over the funds raised for the statue. A letter from J. M. Forde, the secretary, was published in the Argus on 2 May 1868, retracting the sum of £21.13.0 raised by amateur performances and announcing the decision of the club to allocate this amount towards a memorial to the late actor Gustavus Vaughan Brooke,39 who had drowned in the shipwreck of the London on 11 January 1866.40 Forde's letter brought an immediate reply from G. W. Rusden, denying the right of the Garrick Club to withhold the money, when it could be added to subscriptions received towards a second scholarship.41
It was not only disappointment over the outcome of the Shakespeare memorial controversy that inclined the Garrick Club to transfer its funds to the Brooke memorial. The club owed much of the reason for its foundation to the interest in the theatre stimulated by G. V. Brooke's successful seasons in Melbourne in 1854 and 1855. James Smith was an active supporter of the Brooke Memorial Fund. His reviews of the actor's performances were amongst the first that he wrote for the Age, helping to establish his reputation as a dramatic critic. He became a close personal friend of Brooke and his wife, actress Avonia Jones, and maintained an intimate correspondence with each of them until their deaths.42 He was well aware of the deterioration in Brooke's personality and ability through excessive drinking and had promised Avonia that he would exercise some control over the actor during the proposed 1866 season by taking him into his own home as a member of his family.43 It was, therefore, with increased regret that he heard the tragic news of the shipwreck, inspiring the memorial poem that best describes Brooke's impact on his audience:
“Give something to the dead!” Across the drear
And dread expanse of the remorseless sea,
Comes a faint echo of the words which he Uttered so often in the gen'ral ear.
“Give something to the dead!” What can we give
Save vain regrets and unavailing tears,
And mem'ries of irrevocable years Wherein we thought not, “He will cease to live?”
In him a hundred noble lives went down,
Gulf'd in the dark unfathomable deep;
With him a hundred gracious creatures sleep,
And “Richelieu,” “Elmore,” and “The Hunchback” drown.
Mute, mute for evermore, the magic tongue Which thrill'd us with “Othello’S” sad farewell;
While list'ning thousands, subject to its spell,
In silent rapture on its accents hung.
Closed are the eyes which flash'd electric light,
Or blazed with hate, with sunny laughter gleam'd,
Or radiant with warm affection beam'd —
Closed in the darkness of an endless night.
Vanish'd the noble and majestic mien,
The graceful bearing and the lordly port,
The dignity which might become a court,
The stately presence which could fill the scene.
Gone the rich promise that his life enclosed. —
The mellow fruitage of its perfect prime —
The ripe result of art matured by time,
And all its golden autumn had disclosed.
That child-like loving heart will beat no more,
It rests beneath the never-resting wave;
And boundless as his fame, his world-wide grave —
We stand upon its brink on every shore.
O, brave in Death, as thou wast great in life,
Facing thy doom with calm untroubled eye,
And scanning wistfully the storm-rent sky,
At peace within, while all without was strife.
How we shall miss thee in the years to come!
How blend thy voice and features with the past!
But while the language Shakspeare wrote shall last,
Thy name will live in every English home!44
Apart from the personal charm and undoubted acting ability that had made friends and impressed theatregoers in Melbourne, Brooke's greatest appeal to those who remembered him arose from the words he is supposed to have spoken when close to death. According to the account of the shipwreck in W. J. Lawrence's biography, he called to a crew member who was manning one of the few boats that was able to leave the ship: ‘Goodbye. Should you survive, give my last farewell to the people of Melbourne’.45 Whether or not this story is apochryphal, it stirred the imagination and provoked a sympathetic response to the project of a local memorial. George Coppin46 suggested the erection of a monument and called for the formation of a committee in a letter to the Argus, published on 17 March 1866.47 He then went ahead with plans for a memorial performance on 10 April 1866. The comedy The Honeymoon was the main feature at the Theatre Royal on that date, with Coppin, his manager William Hoskins and the actress Miss Cleveland taking the leading parts, while the burlesque Faust was an added attraction. At the conclusion of the play Hoskins delivered an elegy written for the occasion by civil servant J. O'Sullivan.4849 Half the recipts were donated to the memorial fund, but, since the theatre was not full, the result was not as good as might have been expected.50
Other programmes of assistance were already being planned. A letter from J. M. Forde on behalf of the Garrick Club had appeared in the Argus on 9 April 1866, announcing that preparations were in hand for a special meeting to discuss the Brooke memorial.51 At this meeting, held on 23 April 1866 with James Smith in the chair, a committee of about thirty members was elected and plans were made for an amateur performance.52 James Smith was also involved with another group of Brooke memorial supporters, consisting of a number of men connected with the Melbourne press who, because of their theatrical performances, became known as ‘the press amateurs’. This group gave the first of several amateur performances in aid of the fund at the Princess's Theatre on 21 April 1866, after preliminary publicity in the press had assured a crowded house.53 Boucicault's London Assurance and the farce Grimshaw, Bagshaw and Bradshaw were the pieces chosen. A prologue by p. F. G. Barry was spoken by amateur actor John Edwards and an epilogue by Dr. J. E. Neild54 by the professional Rose Edouin. After the interval, when members of the press were grouped together on the stage, Charles Bright55 read an address written by James Smith.56
The Garrick Club performance took place at the Princess's Theatre on 7 May 1866. The first item was the reading by Miss Cleveland of a prologue written by James Smith. Colman's comedy The Poor Gentleman was followed by the vocal quartette ‘Threnodia’, with words by R. H. Horne and music by Joseph Summers.57 Other pieces given were the third act of Othello and the farce The Spitalfield Weavers. Again there was a large audience, ensuring a substantial benefit to the fund.58 The press amateurs then gave a touring performance at Geelong, where they raised £123, despite the heavy costs incurred.59 Falconer's Extremes, or Men of the Day, together with the farce Mr Edwards's Adventures with the Polish Princess, provided the programme for the final performance of the press amateurs at the Princess's
Theatre on 7 July 1866,60 attracting another crowded house and raising £96.5.0 towards the fund.61 At the conclusion of the evening Rose Edouin delivered an epilogue by Dr Neild of which the last four lines indicate some indecision as to the form of memorial:
The Brooke Memorial shall not fail to rise —
Statue, or fund, or academic prize;
Or shall it be all three? Come, let us try,
For Brooke's great name with us must never die.62
A marble bust was a popular choice of memorial, provided that sufficient funds could be raised. The G. V. Brooke Memorial Committee, made up largely of Garrick Club members, had only £50 in hand.63 Since this was inadequate for the purpose, they decided, at Dr Neild's suggestion, to invite the press amateurs to confer as to the best method of disposal of the memorial funds.64 However, the press amateurs had given more performances and raised more money than the Garrick Club and they wished to have more control over the manner in which their funds were used. Press amateur committee meetings were held on 21 July and 12 December 1866 without definite conclusion.65 Over £200 had been raised by amateur performances but more money was needed for a good memorial.66 The next meeting of the press amateurs was, if only temporarily, more conclusive. On 9 March 1867 they decided to make the £200 the nucleus of a fund for a dramatic college for ‘deranged and indigent members of the profession’, modelled on one existing in England.67 On reconsideration, such a project was unflattering to the acting profession as a whole and, at a meeting held on 23 March 1867, the resolution was cancelled, as being of ‘a crude and impractical character’ and ‘alien to the objects which the press amateurs had in view’. It was then decided that a bust of the late actor should be placed in the Public Library.68
Charles Summers left the colony in May 1867 to further his career overseas, first in London and then in Rome. On 20 April 1868, it was reported in the Argus that he had been commissioned by the press amateurs to furnish either a bust or a statue of G. V. Brooke.69 It was at this stage that the Garrick Club members decided to use the money raised by them for the Shakespeare statue for the Brooke memorial fund.70 But, following the objection of the Shakespeare scholarship committee to the dispersal of the money in this way, the club decided at a special general meeting on 10 October 1868 to give £20 of the money in hand for the Brooke fund to charity and to place the £60 raised for the Shakespeare statue on fixed deposit for twelve months. The members of the club also recorded ‘a strong wish to see the Brooke memorial carried out’.71 Although there had been some differences of opinion as to who should have the credit for the memorial, many Garrick Club members were associated with the press in some professional capacity, involving less division between the two groups of fundraisers than might otherwise have been expected.
It was reported in the Argus on 19 October 1868 that the bust of G. V. Brooke, designed as the ‘Press Memorial’, was on its way to the colony by the ship Dover Castle.72 When the bust arrived in Melbourne, plans went ahead for its unveiling at the Duke of Edinburgh Theatre on 12 December 1868. The ceremony was a feature of a programme consisting of Marcus Clarke's dramatisation of Charles Reade's Foul Play, an address by Dr Neild spoken by actress Adelaide Bowring and R. H. Horne's ‘Threnodia’. A portion of the profits was set aside as a contribution to the fund which was still short of the amount required.73 According to the review of the evening's entertainment, the unveiling was premature and the arrangements made without the approval of the members of the press who had raised the funds.74 On 15 December 1868 the trustees of the ‘Press Brooke Memorial’ announced that they had had no part in the ‘so-called unveiling’. Charles Summers had consigned the bust to his brother Joseph who, acting ‘out of a misapprehension’ had not handed it directly to the trustees.75
The official ceremony of presentation to the Melbourne Public Library took place in the picture gallery of the Museum of Art on 29 December 1868. Attorney-General G. p. Smith, a trustee of the Press Memorial Fund, presented the bust to the library trustees. In the course of his address he recalled the means by which the memorial had been obtained. He also acknowledged the debt owed to Brooke by the people of Melbourne for the stimulation of interest in the drama and referred

The Brooke Bust

to Brooke's last words in this variation: ‘Remember me to my friends in Melbourne’.76 Sir Redmond Barry accepted the memorial on behalf of the trustees of the Public Library, expressing appreciation of the fund-raising efforts of the members of the press while still regretting their decision to act separately without the co-operation of other sympathetic supporters. Sir Redmond promised that the trustees would ‘gladly give to those who frequent these walls an opportunity of renewing their remembrance of his lineaments, and of also being reminded of his great dramatic power’.77 The fine white marble bust of G. V. Brooke now stands at the entrance to the Reference and Information Centre.
The Garibaldi sword was a different sort of memorial, obtained with funds raised in Victoria, but designed to leave the colony for presentation to a living hero. Many of the Italians resident in Melbourne in the late 1850s and early 1860s were stirred by the exploits of Guiseppe Garibaldi as a leader of the struggle for Italian independence. Members of the French community were equally appreciative of the general's heroism and, on 8 August 1859, a group of Italians and Frenchmen met at the Cafe des Etrangers in Spring Street to celebrate the victory of the allied armies in Italy and to drink a toast to Garibaldi.78 Prominent among the Italians that evening was Alexander Martelli, an ex-officer of the Sardinian army and a former member of the Sardinian parliament, living in exile because of his revolutionary activities.79 Martelli and his compatriot B. Dardanelli were fervent admirers of Garibaldi and active members of a committee set up for the relief of the families of Italian patriots.80
When the news reached Melbourne that Garibaldi had proclaimed himself dictator of Sicily after his defeat of the Neapolitan forces at Calatafimi and Malazzo in May 1860, admiration for the Italian general became more widespread. A group of his Victorian admirers met together on 20 August 1860 with Dardanelli in the chair to decide on an appropriate testimonial. Martelli proposed that subscriptions be collected for the presentation of a ceremonial sword and James Smith, who was a fluent Italian speaker and a friend of Martelli, moved a resolution of sympathy with ‘the heroic exertions now being made by General Garibaldi, for the liberation of Italy from the yoke of its brutal oppressors’.81 At the public meeting that followed on 28 August 1860, it was decided to call for 1s. subscriptions for the purchase of the sword and the relief of widows and orphans.82 The Melbourne Club was one of the institutions canvassed at this time but, although individual members may have been sympathetic, the club was unable to give official support to the appeal because, under its rules, demonstrations of a political tendency were not recognized.83
While the Garibaldi Testimonial Fund committee continued its search for subscriptions, public interest was stimulated by the presentation of the play ‘Garibaldi’. The first performance was announced in the Argus on 8 September 1860:
An original three-act drama, of which Garibaldi is the hero and Sicily the scene, is to be produced this evening at the Prince of Wales; and from the interest manifested by all classes in the achievements of this heroic soldier, no doubt the production referred to will meet with an encouraging reception, if its dramatic merits are such as to satisfy public expectation. We believe it is from the pen of a local author, and that the scenery has been painted expressly for the occasion, so as to give spectators a vivid xml:idea of the localities which the fame of Garibaldi's exploits has rendered once more famous.84
The text of the play has been lost but, according to the review that followed in the Argus on 10 September 1860, the author had blended ‘the story of two Australian golddiggers from “Kingower” with the history of the Italian hero’.85 At the end of the week's run, public curiosity as to the xml:identity of the playwright was satisfied with an announcement in the Argus that Garibaldi was by James Smith.86
Despite the hopes of the organizers that all classes of society had been excited by the accounts of Garibaldi's activities, a meeting of Italian working-men called at the Trades Hall on 25 September 1860 was poorly attended.87 However, offers of support had been received from other sections of the community that were, perhaps, better able to contribute. The committee had about £300 in hand and the members were optimistic that £500 would be raised.88 At a committee meeting held on 8

Chevalier's Design for the Garibaldi Sword

October 1860 James Smith was appointed treasurer of the fund and he and Martelli were commissioned to form a sub-committee to confer with local artists on the design of the sword to be presented to Garibaldi.89 Five designs were submitted and that by Nicholas Chevalier90 was chosen.91 It was described in the Argus as follows:
The hilt, which will be composed of Victorian gold, represents enfranchised Italy, her brows encircled by a mural crown, her right arm raising aloft the short Roman sword wreathed with laurel, and her left resting on the guard, in which a bruised serpent, and a broken chain are skilfully combined, to typify the overthrow of despotism. At the junction of the guard with the hilt, the lily of Florence, a couple of shields inscribed ‘Garibaldi’ and ‘Victoria’ and emblems of Justice, Truth and Patriotism, are introduced; and on the blade will be engraved in English and Italian, a concisely worded and appropriate inscription. When completed, the sword will cost about 200 guineas.92
The ceremonial sword was made for the committee by A. Eick. Part of Alexander Martelli's sword was incorporated in the design, providing a further link between Victoria and those who had fought for freedom in Italy.93 The hilt, made of Victorian gold of an estimated value of £123 and decorated with a diamond presented by an anonymous donor, bore the inscription ‘Victoria to Garibaldi’ and the blade, ‘Guiseppe Garibaldi 1861’.94 The sword was placed in a scabbard of green velvet ornamented with gold and exhibited for three days from 30 April to 2 May 1861, with the joint objects of demonstrating the standard of colonial art and raising additional funds.95 Printing, advertising, postage and other charges had brought the cost of the memorial up to £343.9.6.96 Much of this amount had been raised by subscription already. Donations received during the following weeks made the total subscribed £358,10.1,97 bringing this attempt at fundraising to a successful conclusion.
It now remained the task of the committee to despatch the sword to Garibaldi. They sent it, in the first place, to the British Embassy at Turin, accompanied by a letter written on behalf of the subscribers, dated 25 May 1861 and signed by James Smith, Martelli and Dardanelli. It reads, in part:
Men of all nations, and of all creeds, have spontaneously contributed towards this tribute to the military genius and the sterling worth of the first patriot and the first soldier of his age… Remote as they are from the theatre of those great exploits in which you have played so noble and beneficient a part, the subscribers desire to assure you of their deep and earnest sympathy with your illustrious and unselfish efforts, and of their exultation at the brilliant and glorious results achieved: while it is their fervent hope that the great work in which you are engaged will be consummated by the addition of Rome and Venice to the Kingdom of Italy.98
Receipt was acknowledged by the consul Sir James Hudson on 8 August 186199 and the sword forwarded to Garibaldi at his home on the island of Caprera.100 The memorial was graciously received by the Italian patriot and his letter of thanks dated 19 August 1861 was published in translation in the Argus on 10 October 1861.101
That would have been the end of the matter if it were not for the fact that the official Roman Catholic attitude was to condemn Garibaldi because of the danger to the Holy City of Rome and the threat to the authority of the Pope. On 27 November 1861 a letter that Rev. J. J. Bleasdale102 had written to the London Tablet on 25 June 1861 was reprinted as part of an Argus editorial. It began:
Among the Victorian news by this mail likely to make a noise, will be the address to Garibaldi and the presentation sword. I have no doubt that a clever attempt will be made to convey an impression that this colony has taken an interest in the matter. Of course the little committee who have worked up the little affair have a great xml:idea that all Europe is interested in their doings, and deeply concerned about the attachment of a handful of popularity hunters at the antipodes to the person and cause of an Italian rebel, who ought to have been hanged long ago, if every man had his deserts.
Bleasdale continued:
This beggarly tribute of what will be trumped up as Victorian admiration, this sword of honour is not paid for. A whole year and more has been spent by a committe
in getting together as much money for this sword as I could collect for a pious purpose. At the end of the time they are £34. 6. 8 in debt. So much for hero worship at the antipodes! It is hoped Garibaldi may help them out of this difficulty.103
The writer of the editorial took exception to the slight on ‘the name which all the civilized world has agreed to place among the very highest in the catalogue of heroes’.104 On the following day, a letter from James Smith was published in the Argus, in which he deplored Bleasdale's ‘lack of Christian charity’. He described as ‘false and calumnious’ the charge that Roman Catholics had not supported the appeal, since two of the committee [Martelli and Dardanelli]belonged to that denomination. He used figures taken from the balance sheet to prove that the committee was not in debt and concluded that
the greatness of Garibaldi requires no vindication at the hands of so humble an individual as myself, confident as I am, that his name will be honoured and revered for centuries after the temporal power of the Pope has become a tradition of the past, and when, I am afraid, the mildew of ages will have obliterated all trace of Father Bleasdale's contribution to the scientific literature of Victoria.105
Letters from ‘Mentor’,106 ‘A Catholic’, ‘Anti-Jesuit’ and ‘Truth’107 appeared in the Argus in support of the committee and, on 14 April 1862, it was reported in the paper that Dardanelli had received a letter from Garibaldi, thanking him for ‘vindicating the Italian cause from the slanders of Father Bleasdale’.108 The Garibaldi memorial appeal thus ended with the dissension that seems to have been an inseparable feature of fund-raising in Melbourne in the 1860s.
The major reason for the difficulty in reaching a harmonious conclusion was the smallness of the number of educated people in proportion to the total population of the colony. Men who worked in one professional sphere often had interests in another, a notable example being James Smith, the journalist who held office as Parliamentary Librarian from 1863 to 1869 while continuing to write articles for publication. Dr J. E. Neild also was able to combine his position as a lecturer in the medical school at the University with theatrical criticism for the Australasian, written under various pseudonyms. These men and others like them belonged to several cultural clubs and societies, taking office and exercising control over communal affairs. In a small circle, such as then existing in Melbourne, the same people were called on both for direction and support.
When their activities overlapped, personal preferences vied with professional jealousies to inhibit, delay and alter viable decisions. So the Shakespeare memorial became a scholarship instead of a statue, the Brooke bust was twice unveiled and the Garibaldi sword provoked personal criticism based on religious differences. Even so, each fund-raising committee achieved its prime objective, succeeding, despite the dissension encountered in the process, in providing a fitting memorial to the particular hero of the time.


[James Smith], ‘Reminiscences of the Melbourne Stage. By an Old Playgoer’, Australasian, 2 October 1886, p. 656.


Argus, 25 April 1860, p. 5.


See Australian Dictionary of Biography, 8 vols., Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1966–81 (hereinafter referred to as ADB), 6, 174–77.


See ADB 3, 108–11.


See ADB 4, 462–64.


See ADB 6, 145–46.


Argus, 29 May 1860, p. 5.


Aruns, 6 June 1860, p. 8.


Argus, 7 June 1860, p. 5.


Argus, 14 June 1860, p. 5.


Argus, 6 July 1863, p. 4.


Ibid. ‘Shakspeare’, as used in this editorial, was a common nineteenth-century spelling.


See ADB 6, 219–20.


Argus, 6 July 1863, p. 4.


Argus, 2 March 1864, p. 5.


See ADB 6, 219.


Argus, 25 April 1864, p. 4.


Argus, 19 April 1864, p. 5.


See ADB 4, 424.


Argus, 22 April 1864, p. 5.


Examiner and Melbourne Weekly News, 30 April 1864, p. 13.


See accompanying photograph. A circular is included in Lucy Coppin's memoirs MS. 968/5. La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria.


Argus, 18 June 1864, p. 5.


See ADB 3, 241–43.


Argus, 18 June 1864, p. 5.


Argus, 29 August 1864, p. 5.


Argus, 2 September 1864, p. 5.


‘The Shakspeare Testimonial’ [letter to the Editor], Argus, 7 July 1863, p. 6.


See ADB 5, 4.


Argus, 18 March 1864, p. 5.


See ADB 6, 72–73.


Argus, 1 April 1864, p. 4.


See ADB 5, 246–48.


See ADB 3, 9–10.


Examiner and Melbourne Weekly News, 16 April 1864, p. 17.




Argus, 13 May 1864, p. 5.


Examiner and Melbourne Weekly News, 16 April 1864, p. 17.


See ADB 3, 243–45.


‘The Brooke Memorial’, Argus, 2 May 1868, p. 6.


‘The Garrick Club and the Shakespeare Memorial’, Argus, 4 May 1868, p. 5.


James Smith's letters to G. V. Brooke and Avonia Jones have been lost but theirs to him have been retained in the collection held by the Mitchell Library (MS. 212).


See the copy of James Smith's letter to W. J. Lawrence dated 12 June 1892, MS. 9190/71. La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria.


‘In Memoriam. G.V.B.’, Melbourne Punch, 22 March 1866, p. 97. The first line is taken from Master Walter's words in The Hunchback. Although the poem is unsigned, it appears to have been written by James Smith. He acknowledges authorship of ‘many poems and articles’ in Melbourne Punch, relating to G. V. Brooke, in the letter to Lawrence, previously cited.


W. J. Lawrence, The Life of Gustavus Vaughan Brooke, W. & G. Baird, Belfast, 1892, p. 273.


See ADB 3, 459–62.


‘The late Mr. G. V. Brooke’, Argus, 17 March 1866, p. 5.


Argus, 10 April 1866, p. 8.


‘Theatre Royal’, Argus, 11 April 1866, p. 5.




‘Memorial to the late G. V. Brooke’, Argus, 9 April 1866, p. 5.


Argus, 24 April 1866, p. 5.


In the Argus alone, notice of the performance was given in the ‘Domestic Intelligence’ columns on 12, 13, 14, 20 and 21 April 1866.


See ADB 5, 327–29.


See ADB 3, 231–32.


‘The Brooke Memorial Fund. Press Amateur Performance at the Princess's Theatre’, Argus, 23 April 1866, p. 5.


See ADB 6, 220–21.


‘The Brooke Memorial Fund. Amateur Performance at the Princess's Theatre’, Argus, 8 May 1866, p. 5.


Argus, 28 May 1866, p. 5.


‘The Press Dramatic Performance’, Argus, 9 July 1866, p. 5.


Argus, 22 My 1866, p. 5.


‘The Press Dramatic Performance’, Argus, 9 July 1866, p. 5.


Argus, 16 June 1866, p. 5.




Argus, 22 July 1866, p. 5, and 13 December 1866, p. 5.


‘The Brooke Memorial Fund’ [Letter to the Editor from ‘J. E. N.’], Argus, 8 January 1867, p. 5.


Argus, 11 March 1867, p. 5.


Argus, 25 March 1867, p. 5.


Argus, 20 April 1868, p. 5.


Argus, 4 May 1868, p. 5.


Argus, 12 October 1868, p. 5.


Argus, 19 October 1868, p. 5.


‘Unveiling the Brooke Bust’, Argus, 14 December 1868, p. 5.




Argus, 15 December 1868, p. 5.


‘Trustees: Minute Book, Melbourne Public Library, 1853–1870’.




Argus, 9 August 1859, p. 5.


See James Smith, ‘Melbourne in the Fifties’, Centennial Magazine 2 (1889), 346.


Argus, 17 October 1859, p. 5.


Argus, 21 August 1860, p. 5.


Argus, 29 August 1860, p. 5.


The reasons for the club's refusal are given in a letter to Dardanelli dated 12 September and signed by the secretary Edward Bell. I am obliged to Ronald McNicoll, Melbourne Club archivist, for a copy taken from the outwards letter book.


Argus, 8 September 1860, p. 5.


Argus, 10 September 1860, p. 5.


Argus, 15 September 1860, p. 4.


Argus, 26 September 1860, p. 4.


Argus, 9 October 1860, p. 4.




See ADB 3, 387–88.


See accompanying photograph.


Argus, 30 October 1860, p. 5.


Argus, 1 May 1861, p. 5.


Argus, 15 April 1861, p. 4.


Argus, 1 May 1861, p. 5.


‘Garibaldi Testimonial. Balance Sheet’, published with List of Subscribers to the Sword of Honor, presented to General Garibaldi, by His Admirers in Australia, Punch Office, Melbourne, 1861.




The letter was published with the List of Subscribers.


Garibaldi, Guiseppe, 1807–1882. Correspondence in connection with the presentation of a sword of honour by his admirers in Australia. MS. 11279. La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria.


The present whereabouts of the Garibaldi sword is uncertain. Dr Roberto Verdi, Assistant Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Melbourne, believes it could be held by the ‘Caso-Museo di Garibaldi’ in Caprera but, to date, he has been unable to obtain confirmation.


‘The Garibaldi Sword’, Argus, 10 October 1861, p. 5.


See ADB 3, 183–84.


Argus, 27 November 1861, p. 4.




‘Father Bleasdale v. Garibaldi’, Argus, 28 November 1861, p. 5.




‘Rev. J. Bleasdale and Garibaldi’, Argus, 29 November 1861, p. 5.


Argus, 14 April 1862, p. 5.