Julia Gillard to be immortalised in bronze in Ballarat

BALLARAT’S Prime Ministers Avenue is set to receive a new addition after Julia Gillard sat for her official sculpture in Melbourne last week. Australia’s first female prime minister will be immortalised in Ballarat’s Botanical Gardens with a bronze bust by Australian artist Peter Nicholson. Ms Gillard sat for Mr Nicholson in her Melbourne office, where the cartoonist and sculptor took high-resolution photos and made sketches of the nation’s leader. While the sculpture’s unveiling date is yet to be set, Ballarat MP Catherine King and mayor Mark Harris welcomed the development.“We are delighted that a bronze sculpture of the prime minister, Julia Gillard, will join the busts of Australia’s 26 previous prime ministers.“This avenue is of national significance and we look forward to this important latest edition,” the pair said in a written statement. Mr Nicholson said Ms Gillard was relaxed during the sitting. “I asked how she would like to be depicted, and she said she’d rather look more friendly than severe. “She’s a person of power so the expression I will be looking for is of action – a passive expression wouldn’t be a good image.” Known for his cartoons and the Rubbery Figures TV series, Mr Nicholson has made busts of Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, John Howard and Kevin Rudd. He took measurements of Ms Gillard’s face and said sculpting a female was more difficult than a male. “She said to me, ‘You know I’ve got a long nose’ and I said it was often mentioned. In comparison to Kevin Rudd, Gillard’s measurements are one centimetre longer from the back of the head to the tip of nose,” he said. 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.