The Marrickville Soldiers’ Memorial was unveiled in 1919 by Sir Walter Davidson, Governor of NSW, before 15,000 people. The Memorial honoured the 458 local soldiers, from the suburbs of Marrickville, Dulwich Hill and Enmore, who died during World War I. The monument for the top of the Memorial was created by local artist and sculptor Gilbert Doble. Doble created a hollow Winged Victory sculpture, formed from thin copper alloy sheeting, which created a dominant artwork within the tight constraints of the Memorial Fund’s budget. The instability of the resulting artwork became apparent as early as 1927. Within 40 years, the condition of the sculpture had deteriorated so badly that it was taken down in 1962. Despite being returned to the Memorial in 1988 following restoration work, the continued instability of the Winged Victory sculpture saw its removal a second time in 2008.
Additional options for restoring and reinstalling the statue were unsuccessful and in July 2013, Marrickville Council voted to commission a new sculpture for the Memorial. Marrickville Council also endorsed the transfer of ownership of Doble’s original Winged Victory to the Australian War Memorial. In order to be displayed the work involved separation of the sculpture into two and the restoration of the original form and colour of the upper half, which has now become the focal point of the Memorial’s new First World War Galleries, opened in 2014.
Meanwhile “Winged Victory, 2015” was commissioned in cast bronze from Melbourne’s Meridian Sculpture with lead artists Peter Corlett and Darien Pullen. It is an independent work that reflects the content of the original Doble sculpture within contemporary contexts of war remembrance. The new sculpture was installed on the Marrickville Soldiers Memorial on 15 April 2015.
ICS have been working with the Council since 2008 and the Australian War Memorial since 2014 on the sculpture, and this paper will discuss the many facets of this unusual project.
Julian is the Managing Director of ICS, a Professional member of AICCM, a Fellow of IIC, and Vice President and Director of Communications for IIC.
Karina Acton is Senior Objects Conservator at ICS and a Professional member of AICCM. Karina led the conservation work on Winged Victory.