Scott’s statue that was badly damaged in an earthquake is again on display while heritage experts explore how to restore it.

After its downfall, the statue was displayed at Hagley Park in Christchurch. It had been put in a wooden box with glass windows. Picture: Wikipedia
After its downfall, the statue was displayed at Hagley Park in Christchurch. It had been put in a wooden box with glass windows. Picture: Wikipedia

Legend: After its downfall, the statue was displayed at Hagley Park in Christchurch. It had been put in a wooden box with glass windows. Picture: Wikipedia

When an earthquake which registered with 6.3 on the Richter scale hit the New Zealand city of Christchurch on 22 February 2011 one casualty was the statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott. The 3-tonne, 2.6 metre high, white marble statue of Scott in polar dress had stood on the corner of Worcester Street and Oxford Terrace since 1917, but was thrown off its plinth and fractured in two during the earthquake. Now the battered and broken statue has been installed in the foyer of Canterbury Museum’s special exhibition, Quake City, while heritage experts plan its restoration over the coming months.

Canterbury Museum exhibition staff install the statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott into the foyer of the Museum’s special exhibition Quake City. Picture: stuff.co.nz
Canterbury Museum exhibition staff install the statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott into the foyer of the Museum’s special exhibition Quake City. Picture: stuff.co.nz

Museum Director, Anthony Wright says the Museum is grateful to Christchurch City Council for agreeing to place the statue on temporary display at Quake City. “The Scott statue has been an important part of the Christchurch streetscape for almost a century and is a very tangible reminder of the region’s links with the Antarctic and the heroic age of exploration and discovery of the great white southern continent,” says Mr Wright.

Robert Falcon Scott and his wife Kathleen, on Quail Island in Lyttelton Harbour, New Zealand, 1910. The 2 men on the left are unidentified. (Photo: Wikipedia)
Robert Falcon Scott and his wife Kathleen, on Quail Island in Lyttelton Harbour, New Zealand, 1910. The 2 men on the left are unidentified. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Captain Scott had used Christchurch and Lyttelton as his New Zealand base for the British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901–1904 and Terra Nova Expedition, 1910–1913 from which he did not return. Within one week of the news of Scott's death the Mayor of Christchurch, Henry Holland, called for a public meeting to organise a memorial fund. A committee was formed and over £1,000 was raised. The committee then asked Scott’s widow Kathleen, who was an accomplished sculptor, to create a statue of her late husband. Kathleen first visited Christchurch to farewell her husband when the Terra Nova expedition sailed from Lyttelton in November 1910. She was travelling back to the city to be reunited with him when she learned the polar party had died nearly a year earlier on their return journey from the South Pole.

The marble statue depicting Robert Falcon Scott was sculpted by Lady Kathleen Scott, his wife. It was erected in Christchurch on February 9, 1917. However, Kathleen Scott carved the statue in Carrara, Italy and it took her only one month to finish the statue. (Photo: Markus Koljonen, Wikipedia)
The marble statue depicting Robert Falcon Scott was sculpted by Lady Kathleen Scott, his wife. It was erected in Christchurch on February 9, 1917. However, Kathleen Scott carved the statue in Carrara, Italy and it took her only one month to finish the statue. (Photo: Markus Koljonen, Wikipedia)

Source: Canterbury Museum