Until last year there were only two statues of Charles Dickens anywhere in the world – one in Philadelphia USA and one in Sydney Australia. Dickens stipulated in his will that no memorials should be erected in his honour and that he wished to be remembered by his writings. Portsmouth UK, Dickens birthplace, now has a statue of the famous author, which was erected with the approval of his descendants.
Sydney’s statue of Charles Dickens is in Centennial Park, which was designated as public open space in 1888. The park has huge grassed areas under shady trees, formal gardens and even a remnant of the original bushland. The Charles Dickens statue was one of 11 statues placed in the park in 1889.
Charles Dickens never travelled to Australia, although two of his sons, Alfred and Edward, immigrated to NSW in the 1860s. There is one other Dickensian connection in Sydney though, which we will investigate in the next blog post.