A soldier’s relief: Boer War Memorial due for restoration after 100 years of wear and tear

One of Ballarat’s signature statues, the Boer War Memorial in the Sturt Street Gardens, will be removed this week for conservation assessment and restoration.

Last removed in 1984, the sculpture is more fragile than it first appears.

Often confused for being made of bronze, the imposing sculpture is constructed from beaten copper with a hessian and plaster core.

The sculpture was constructed in 1906 by artist James White and stands several metres high on a granite base.

Listed on the Victorian War Heritage Inventory, the sculpture needs frequent review and assessment to ensure its integrity.

Meridian Sculpture Foundry will be undertaking the removal, and conservation assessments will be provided by local conservator Jude Schahinger and staff from the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne.

The Boer War Memorial has a special place in the hearts of those who live in Ballarat.

In the late 1990s the sculpture was damaged and the foot of one of the soldiers went missing. By February 2000, the City of Ballarat was investigating replacing the missing foot as part of a restoration.

In 2002, the foot mysteriously resurfaced, with allegations that university students at the time had used it as a doorstop for a couple of years.

The foot has since been reattached by conservator Jude Schahinger, and numerous repairs have been made to the memorial over time.

The removal process will commence tomorrow, with the process taking up to two to three days.

The sculpture will then be closely assessed for repair and conservation requirements.

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