New life for Kings Park mother and child
The iconic nine foot bronze sculpture by Margaret Priest, located in the Pioneer Women's Memorial fountain in Kings Park, has been restored to its former glory so it can sparkle once again.
Restoration and conservation work has been undertaken on the 1960's bronze figure to bring it back to its original state. The artist Margaret Priest provided the recipe to achieve an original finish to the conservation team who undertook the works.
The figure represents a mother with an infant in her arms, stepping forth to meet her destiny. It stands on a stepping stone in the pond surrounded by five other stepping stones and fountains, and is the centre piece of the Water Garden.
As noted in the recent publication, 'A Joy Forever The Story of Kings Park and Botanic Garden' by Dorothy Erickson (2009), the symbolism of the three minute sequence of the fountains begins with the bubblers representing bushes to be negotiated on the way to opening up land, rising to taller spouts representing trees around pioneer homesteads.
The fountain was formally opened in January 1968. The sculpture was reputed to be the largest undertaken in Australia at the time. The very talented Margaret Priest was the first female sculptor to undertake public art works in Western Australia, and a book about her work is currently being written.