As part of the sisterhood of Greek city Sparta and Moreland in Melbourne, a bronze bust of King Leonidas is set to adorn Sparta place. The street of Brunswick was renamed Sparta place in 1987 to commemorate the two cities’ relationship, and the new statue is set to further reinforce this relationship.
“From the first moment that the two cities became sister cities it was always discussed and the idea of having a bust of King Leonidas was always on the agenda”, Moreland Mayor Tapinos explained and continued that the bust reflected “the contribution of the Greek community and its vibrant history within our municipality”.
The $32,000 cost of the bust is to be covered by Moreland council’s annual sister cities budget, with the prefecture of Laconia in Greece and the Pallaconian community of Melbourne Victoria Leonidas, covering the rest of the cost which will include transportation and the construction of the statue’s base estimated at over $10,000.
Some traders are objecting to the fact that they were not engaged in a consultation process by the Council – unlike a previous choice of artwork which they had suggested.
Mariana Hardwick who owns a well known wedding gown couture business prides herself as the person who was instrumental behind the recent revitalization of Sparta Place.
“….[my objections] have nothing to do with the statue or whether it is Greek, or Italian, or Middle Eastern, it has to do with the fact that what we want in the precinct is sort of a garden or a water feature and what we keep getting is statues,” Mrs Hardwick said.
The Mayor of Moreland responded by saying that trees have already been planted in Sparta Place and that the lack of sunlight makes Sparta Place an inappropriate space for a garden. He also underscored that water features in “times of water restrictions are not the best message to send to the community.”
(Source "Greek Australia Reporter", with information from: www.neoskosmos.com.au, www.moreland-leader.whereilive.com.au)