Otago Centennial Memorial


Fred Staub

Francis Aubrey Shurrock



  • Memorial


  • Bronze
  • Stone
  • Concrete


  • Male figure: H2030 x W1200 x D1400mm. Female figure: H2030 x W1900 x D1450mm.

Francis Shurrock with Fred Staub, ‘Otago Centennial Memorial’ (1952-55), Signal Hill Reserve, Ōtepoti Dunedin

Images: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021


A monument with walls, steps, and a surrounding asphalt surface. A foundation stone reads: "At the beginning of the Dominion's Second Century this monument is dedicated to the memory of the pioneers who braved the first. Foundation stone laid by His Worship The Mayor of Dunedin A.H.Allen Esq. 21st February 1940".

Two bronze allegorical figures flank this memorial: the ancient bearded figure, facing north-west, represents 'Old Man History,' while the female figure, facing south-east toward the sea, represents 'The Thread of Life.' The monument is faced with limestone and marble. Carved reliefs, in marble, are also installed on the monument: one of thistle and one of fern.

“Works by Fred [Staub] are spread across the city of Dunedin; the iconic ‘History’ and ‘The Thread of Life’ sculptures perched on Signal Hill, were designed by the then elderly Lancastrian sculptor, Francis Aubrey Sturrock, who had previously been Fred Staub’s art teacher. Although a joint effort, it was through Fred’s substantial input that the works were realized because the construction of the figures was a complex business, requiring models of the statues to be scaled up from half-size to full-size, and these then dispatched to England to be cast in bronze. Both men’s names appear on the finished monuments that are now enjoyed by the citizens of the attractive City of Dunedin, and visitors and tourists too.”