Where's Julia? Pedestal for bust added to Ballarat Botanical Gardens

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard could visit Ballarat before the September 14 federal election as final preparations are made for her addition to Prime Minister’s Avenue. 

With 221 days until Australians go to the polls, a space reserved for a bronze bust of Ms Gillard has been prepared in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. 

The foundations of a granite pedestal have been in place at the site since October. 

Australia’s first female prime minister will be immortalised with a bronze bust by Australian artist Peter Nicholson after sitting for the artist in her Melbourne office in January 2012. 

City of Ballarat mayor John Burt yesterday confirmed negotiations were under way with Ms Gillard and Ballarat MP Catherine King was to arrange a visit to unveil the sculpture. 

“Given the announcement of the election, we anticipate that the PM’s calendar is now more busy than usual,” Cr Burt said. 

“The Prime Minister’s Avenue is the only one of its kind in Australia and we look forward to installing the sculpture of Julia Gillard in the near future.” 

In March 2012, Mr Nicholson revealed four clay maquettes models of the bust, which show Ms Gillard wearing a necklace and with a neutral expression.

Julia Gillard bust in progress

See more pictures of the bust in progress at Nicholson's blog

The historic collection features each of Australia’s prime ministers and was created after a bequest to the City of Ballarat from parliamentarian and arts patron Richard Armstrong Crouch.

Each prime minister is included in the collection, regardless of the length of their time in office. 

Known for his cartoons and the Rubbery Figures television series, Mr Nicholson has created busts of Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, John Howard and Kevin Rudd for the Ballarat collection.

In 2010, Mr Rudd avoided dozens of protesters at the site and missed the unveiling of his sculpture. 

thomas.mcilroy@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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