This is the first of several posts we have planned on monuments within Centennial Park with historical significance. This is perhaps the rarest item in the park, a statue of English novelist Charles Dickens.
Thank you to the Centennial Parklands blog for much of the information I’ve included in this post. You can read more interesting facts and stories on Centennial Parklands by accessing their blog from the sources section below this post.
This piece is special due to the rarity of statues that have been made of the famous author. There are only three known statues of Dickens in the world, one in Portsmouth, England, another in Philadelphia, USA and this one at the centre of our own Centennial Park. Statues of Dickens are rare due to his desire to be known more for his works rather than monuments.
The statue was first placed in the park in 1891 when Sir Henry Parkes chose its first 11 statues. Parkes was friends with Edward Dickens, son of Charles Dickens, who immigrated to NSW in the 1860s with his brother Alfred and was also a NSW politician. The statue was purchased after heated debates in NSW Parliament which included Edward Dickens.
It remained in the park until 1972 when it was removed and went missing. A search was sparked for the missing statue in the early 2000s when a volunteer at the NSW Library saw it in a photo in a book and made enquiries. It was found in storage in Rozelle where it had been placed to protect it from the vandals which had caused it to lose its head.
After detailed sculpting using aids such as photos and portraits, the statue was restored and unveiled on Charles Dickens birthday, the 7th of February 2011.
Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.