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2018: Dr Monique Webber

Project: La Trobe's garden city and the lost sculptures of Fitzroy Gardens

Monique's project explored Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe's vision of creating formalised spaces in Melbourne for appreciating Europe's heritage. Fitzroy Square (now Fitzroy Gardens) was reserved in 1848, and although La Trobe's governorship came to an end before the gardens were completed, the influence of his ideals is evident in their design and in the abundant classical statuary that ornamented its walks. These statues are now lost.

The statues were not only a defining feature of the early gardens, they also reveal how the lifestyle of leisure and education that La Trobe envisioned for a settlement where 'the arts and sciences [were] unborn' was made a part of Melbourne's fabric.

Recovering this sculptural ornament through the Library archives, Monique's project revealed both a lost chapter in Melbourne's garden history and demonstrated how La Trobe's ideals informed the city's cultural and physical landscape. Her research resulted in written, oral, and visual outcomes, including a walking tour of the 'lost gardens'.

Dr Monique Webber has a BA (Hons) in Art History and Classics, a Diploma of Modern Languages and a PhD that focused on visual culture and the analysis of Roman art and architecture. She is currently completing a Master of Art Curatorship and is also active in art journalism, academic community engagement and curation.