A statue honouring Sir James Martin has finally been erected in the plaza bearing his name more than a century after his death in a fitting tribute to one of the founding fathers of modern NSW.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet unveiled the bronze statue, depicting James Martin as a boy, in honour of the former NSW Premier, Attorney-General and Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court.
The son of a horse groom from Parramatta, the young James Martin famously did whatever it took to get an education at what would later become Sydney Grammar, including even walking and hitching the 20km from home to school because his family couldn’t afford to live nearby.
“He left an indelible mark on our city, our State and our nation, all of which explains why Martin Place bears his name, but few know anything about the man one of our most well-known city locations is named after,” Mr Perrottet said.
“He believed passionately in the idea of Australia as a self-sufficient nation and he championed education for all — especially disadvantaged kids — because he knew from experience that education unlocks opportunity.
“The ‘father of federation’ Sir Henry Parkes named Martin Place in his honour vowing to establish a memorial to inspire Sydneysiders and today that promise has been realised.”
The campaign to install the memorial was driven by passionate Sydneysiders John and Patricia Azarias, receiving support from all sides of politics including NSW Labor Shadow Treasurer Walt Secord.
“Thanks to the efforts of John and Patricia and support on both sides of the political divide, James Martin’s story won’t be lost to history and will serve as a constant reminder of what can be achieved through hard work and determination.”
The new statue in Martin Place is one of a pair, both crafted by sculptor Alan Somerville.
The other statue already sits in Parramatta and together, they represent the unbroken link between Parramatta and the Harbour City — east and west — at the time Greater Sydney is evolving into a global metropolis with Parramatta at its centre.