Friday, October 29, 2010


Located in Canberra's civic square the statue of "Ethos" guards the entrance to today's ACT Legislative Assembly. Ethos (meaning) is a copper sculpture created by Tom Bass and was commissioned by the National Capital Development Commission in 1959 before being unveiled in 1961.

"The NCDC (National Capital Development Commission) intended that the work would emphasize that Canberra is the non-political centre, the locale of commerce and of private enterprise in its best sense. The sculpture was designed to represent the spirit of the community." 

 Bass's interpretation of this outline resulted in the figure in which he intended:

"the love which Canberra people have for their city to be identified with her...I want them to be conscious of her first as an image from a distance...then comes the moment when they become personally involved with her... they feel her looking at them, reflecting their love for the place".

The figure of Ethos is robed in embossed emblems and figures intended to represent the community. The six sided saucer the figure stands in represents the hexagonal Civic Centre and depicts a map of Canberra. A bursting sun is held aloft in symbolism of the culture and enlightenment which education institutions, research organisations and diplomatic corp activity give to the city.

From a plaque located to the right of the statue:

I am Ethos
Though i do not speak with words
I speak to you in other ways

I say to you that
I am the spirit of this place
and it's people

I am the original spirit
and the spirit of now

I rise from the earth
and reach for the sun

I bring together
the old and the new

In me there is
no violence or war
only peace and reconciliation

I am the love,
peace and beauty
of this place

I give you these things
every day and always.


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