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a statue in a city

Located across Sydney are fine examples of public art. They inspire, some even confuse but they all celebrate living in one of the world’s greatest cities. One such fine example is found on Pitt Street.

The Dobell Memorial sculpture commemorates one of Australia’s most celebrated landscape and portrait artists. Australian painter William Dobell was born in Newcastle, New South Wales on 24 September 1899.  He became an architect in 1916 and later moved to Sydney to study at the Julian Ashton Art School.

In 1943 Dobell won the Archibald Prize with Portrait of an Artist. He was again awarded the Archibald Prize in 1948 for a portrait of Margaret Olley the same year he was awarded the Wynne Prize for Storm approaching Wangi Wangi.

He won the Archibald a third time in 1959 for Dr E.G. MacMahon. Dobell was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1965 and was knighted in 1966. He died on 13 May 1970 at Wangi Wangi near Newcastle.

The Sir William Dobell Art Foundation was formed in 1971 from the artist’s bequest, for the benefit and promotion of art in NSW. In 1976 the Foundation commissioned eleven prominent Australian sculptors to submit maquettes for a Dobell Memorial Sculpture to be sited in Martin Place.

The judging panel unanimously recommended the work by Flugelman.

The Dobell Memorial Sculpture, nicknamed the “Silver Shish Kebab” was presented to the people of Sydney on 15th October, 1979 and was originally installed in Martin Place. It was moved to a less prominent location in 1999


IMAGE CREDIT: Nina Beilby and Peter Murphy

a person riding a skateboard up the side of a building