Art & Heritage Collections
One hundred and fifty years ago, the discovery of copper on the Yorke Peninsula accelerated the mining boom and increased the wealth of the University of Adelaide's first benefactor, Sir Walter Watson Hughes.
Today, Sir Walter Watson Hughes's contribution is marked by the Hughes Building, the Hughes Plaza and two sculptures of Hughes - a marble bust in the Bonython Hall foyer and, most notably, a classical bronze sculpture in front of the Mitchell Building by Francis John Williamson (1833-1920). Williamson received commissions throughout of the British Empire and he is best known for his sculptures of Queen Victoria; he was her favourite sculptor.
Our sculpture of Hughes was donated to the University by the descendants of Sir Walter Watson Hughes in 1906 who felt that he should be commemorated on the grounds of the University. Descendants of Sir Walter attended the re-enactment of the statue's unveiling in 2006, and last month attended the re-enactment of the lodgement of Hughes's copper mining claim - a significant event in the history of our University.
Mirna Heruc, Manager, Art & Heritage Collections