Heritage consultant Ann Mcewan peeks behind the facades of some of the region’s oldest buildings.
A key theme at a recent University of Waikato talk about public art was the commemorative function of sculpture in public places.
An ivy-clad memorial archway at the entrance to the Lake Domain is not quite a work of art, but it does memorialise a notable Hamiltonian.
English-born Arthur Swarbrick [c.1851-1927] married Adriana Pieters in 1881 and the couple arrived in Kirikiriroa in the following year.
At first a farmer in Chartwell and then a solicitor in Hamilton, Swarbrick was active in the Anglican Church and a keen amateur actor.
Adriana was an accomplished singer and the couple had five children, two of whom continued in the legal profession.
Swarbrick served as chairman of the Hamilton Domain Board from 1913-21 and again from 1925-27. He championed the planting of native trees in the domain and it was reported in 1918 that his instructions to the workmen were to never remove anything native.
One of the plaques set into the archway bears the phrase ‘‘If you seek a further monument look within’’. This is a subtle rewriting of the inscription marking Sir Christopher Wren’s burial place in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
Swarbrick Park in Frankton, Swarbricks Landing Reserve on River Rd and Swarbrick Drive in Te Awamutu also carry the family name. Such place names and memorial structures create an important connection to the people who have gone before us and who, in their own way, tried to make Hamilton a better place in which to live.
Monument in stone: