A statue commemorating one of Parramatta’s great lawmakers, and his achievements as one of NSW’s most influential premiers and justices, has found a new permanent home in the heart of the City of Parramatta.
The bronze statue of Sir James Martin, unveiled in 2018, has been relocated from its temporary site on Smith Street, to a permanent new site at Parramatta Square. The new $2.7 billion square is now a bustling commercial hub and home to Council’s new $136 million community and civic centre, PHIVE.
City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Donna Davis joined NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Lysicrates Foundation co-founders John and Patricia Azarias to acknowledge the statue’s new home.
“Sir James Martin’s story resonates with the people of Parramatta. It is the story of a young migrant who took initiative and created opportunities to achieve more than he could ever have dreamed,” Cr Davis said.
Sir James Martin immigrated from Ireland with his family in the 1820s, settling in Parramatta shortly after. He was raised in the servants’ quarters of Old Government House in Parramatta Park. It’s understood that during the 1830s the young boy, who would later grow up to become NSW Premier and a Chief Justice, would walk 20 kilometres from home to his school near Sydney’s Hyde Park.
His passion for education thrusted him into the world of journalism, before becoming a barrister and politician.
Sculptor Alan Sommerville immortalised Sir James Martin in a bronze statue, using his little-known connections with Parramatta as his inspiration. It was generously donated to the City of Parramatta by the not-for-profit philanthropic body, the Lysicrates Foundation.
“It is incredibly fitting that the statue of Sir James Martin be positioned at the start of what will become the Civic Link, Council’s visionary green pedestrian link between Parramatta Square and Parramatta River, with the backdrop of our modern and vibrant CBD,” Cr Davis said.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said Sir James Martin’s story was inspiring.
“James Martin’s story is one of steely determination and focus on the future that I believe can inspire a generation of young people,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We can’t know where we’re going as a society unless we know where we’ve come from, and this statue is a reminder of the sacrifices that have been made for the prosperity we have today.”