Sparta Place Gets his Leonidas but no Garden

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.”

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  1. Brunswick City Council had a sister city relationship with Sparta its disappointing that Moreland City Council has not continued this relationship.
    As you may be aware, Sparta is a city in the southern Peloponnesus in Greece. Sparta has an ancient past and was famous for its ancient military. In particular it’s King Leonidas and the Battle of Thermopylae 480 B.C against the Persian Empire. Leonidas, Spartan military king, whose stand against the invading Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae in central Greece is one of the most enduring historical moments of heroism!
    Leonidas chose 300 Spartan men with living sons to continue family legacy, as he knew he would be going to certain death because of the overwhelming odds against him and headed off to meet King Xerxes and his army at Thermopylae!
    .The Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae gave their life and delayed the Persians considerably, which gave the other Greek cities the time and opportunity to organize a retreat in to southern Greece and a defense against the largest army assembled, now intent on conquering the rest of Greece and open the door to expand the Persian empire in to Europe!
    Obviously this heroic example to sacrifice your life in order to protect your country and your values is something which the Australian people understand very well. Through the history of this young country of ours, on the battlefields and on the hours of need, Australians show the best example to ultimate sacrifice serving the country or their community.
    Recent example the fight of our voluntaries against the fires in Victoria where this spirit is so evident.
    Also we can recognize the contribution of our immigrants to this country their hard work and their spirit of community.
    The Battle of Thermopylae has been an icon of western civilization from its very aftermath.
    Also the King Leonidas statue are the most appropriate artwork to honor the contribution of the Greek migrants from the Laconia region to Moreland and Brunswick.
    I cannot understand why these traders oppose the installation of King Leonidas in its rightful place – Sparta Place. But they were in favor of the tasteless and absurd art columns
    (Old kitchenware utensils in a cage) Is time to prevail the common sense!
    They will benefit from all the publicity and visitors but because of their opposition many supporters of the bust may think twice before entering their shops.

  2. Thank you for the history lesson- much appreciated.
    As I am not from Melbourne myself, I wrongly assumed the two suburbs belonged to the same district. My apologies.