A bronze statue depicting the patron saint of miners in Australia’s gold mining capital of Kalgoorlie-Boulder has been returned to its original home of St Barbara’s Square amid community debate and the completion of a $16-million revamp of the CBD. Source: ABC News.
The statue was relocated to the Museum of the Goldfields after the first sod for the West Australian city’s upgrade was turned in August 2021.
Debate continues over whether the statue should have remained at the museum, next to the Eastern Goldfields Miners’ Memorial, which bears the names of the more than 1400 miners to have died since the 1890s gold rush.
The St Barbara’s Festival committee told the council its preference was for the statue to remain at the museum.
The Catholic parish council indicated to the council its “strong preference” for the statue to return to St Barbara’s Square.
Reverend Elizabeth Smith of the Anglican Parish of the Goldfields suggested the statue should be accompanied by a sign to explain St Barbara’s patronage and to direct to the miners’ memorial at the museum.
The final decision was made at the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s October 30 meeting, when councillors voted 9-0 to return St Barbara to her original location.
St Barbara’s Square was named by the former Town of Kalgoorlie Mayor Ray Finlayson in 1983 to commemorate 100 years since the discovery of gold.
The statue of St Barbara was unveiled in 1999 by the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s then-mayor Paul Robson.
Artist Nana Lye, 73, was commissioned to create the sculpture, which took about six months to complete. She was there on Sunday to witness the statue return to St Barbara’s Square.
Statue of patron saint of miners returned to Kalgoorlie CBD, but location debate rages on (By Jarrod Lucas, ABC News)