Three Businessmen Who Brought Their Own Lunch

In 1993, the City of Melbourne appointed artists Alison Weaver and Paul Quinn to make their mark on the corner of Bourke and Swanston Streets, which they did with their distinctive bronze sculpture entitled Three Businessmen Who Brought Their Own Lunch: Batman, Swanston and Hoddle. Unveiled on 20th April 1994 by the President of Nauru, Bernard Dowiyogo, the sculpture was presented as a gift from Nauru to the City of Melbourne as part of the city's 150th anniversary celebrations.

The wiry, life-sized group sculpture is both a tribute to Melbourne's early pioneers and, as described by Weaver, a humorous representation of society's entrapment in theperpetual motion of consumerism. It was commissioned in the wake of the City of Melbourne's ambitious plan to transform Swanston Street into a pedestrian mall. While the proposal of a Swanston Street Walk attracted its share of controversy, it also gave way to a generous public arts program, which produced our beloved businessmen.v Batman, Swanston and Hoddle have, as Weaver intended, becomepedestrians of vast time; revered as icons in name but made anonymous by the permanence of their locality. While the council shifts towards funding for more transitory artworks, and the pedestrianisation of the street falters, the three businessmen remain in perpetuity, with feet planted firmly on the ground.

So who were Batman, Swanston and Hoddle? John Batman (1801-1839) was an Australian grazier, entrepreneur and explorer who is best known for his role in the founding of the settlement on the Yarra River which became the city of Melbourne. Batman came from Hobart and negotiated with the local Aboriginal peoples in 1835, to acquire land in the Port Phillip area for the Port Phillip Association. His treaty was a matter of controversy in his day, and has remained an event of great historical interest and debate.

Captain Charles Swanston was a Tasmanian banker, politician and prominent member of the Port Phillip Association. In 1835 a group of Hobart investors, including Swanston, formed the Port Phillip Association to explore and acquire land in Port Phillip District (present-day Victoria). Swanston acted as the syndicate's banker. He was most likely the person who drew up the treaty John Batman signed with the local Aboriginals. Recognition of the title to this land was refused by the government in Sydney and London despite strenuous claims by the Association of its legality.

Robert Hoddle (1794-1881) was the surveyor of Port Phillip District (Victoria) who, in the 1830s, created the Hoddle Grid, the street grid system upon which inner city Melbourne is based. He was also an accomplished artist and depicted scenes of the Port Phillip region as well as New South Wales. There is controversy over whether the Hoddle Grid was Hoddle's creation or that he merely cpmpleted the work surveyor Robert Russell had commenced. Before Hoddle left Sydney to survey the new town, he asked Russell to send him his survey of Melbourne which had been generally approved as 'suitable for laying out a new township'.

Location: Corner Bourke and Swanston Streets, Melbourne






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