Artist: Unknown
Date Installed
Installed 1989
Chalmers St Path, 5010 Chalmers Street, SURRY HILLS, 2010
Project: Ibero American Plaza
Tags: Bronze, Multicultural
Artist Website

Chalmers St Path, 5010 Chalmers Street, SURRY HILLS, 2010

Artwork Description

The bust of General Don Bernardo O’Higgins, the liberator of Chile, is made from bronze and stands 20 centimetres tall. It is placed on sandstone plinth approximately 1.2 metres tall by 0.5 metres wide. It is one of a series of busts of famous Latin American heroes on display in Plaza Iberoamericana on Chalmers Street commemorating the contribution of Spanish and Portuguese speaking people to the history of Australia.


Bernardo O’ Higgins was the illegitimate son of Ambrosio O’Higgins, an Irishman who entered the Spanish service and eventually rose to be Captain General of Chile and Viceroy of Peru. O’Higgins’ education in Chile and England began his transformation into a partisan of the revolution. He was eventually exiled to Peru in 1823 where he lived until his death in 1842. He was a patriot and an advocate who is ranked with San Martin and Simon Bolivar among the great liberators of South America.


The statue of Bernardo O’Higgins was formally presented to the City of Sydney by the Consul-General of Ecuador, Dr Beatriz Cocios de Durah, on 23 October 1989. It was unveiled in the Plaza Iberoamericana on Saturday 25 November 1989 by the Chilean Ambassador Jaime Herrera.


A plaque on the sandstone plinth reads: “General Don Bernardo O’Higgins R. Liberator de Chile. / Nacido en Chilean el 20 de Agusto de 1778. / Fallecido en Lima (Peru) el 24 de Octobre de 1842. / Director supremo de la nacion (1817-23). / Organizador de la expedicion libertadora del Peru (20 Agusto de 1820). Liberator of Chile. / Born in Chilean August 20 1778. / Died in Lima (Peru) October 24 1824. / Supreme Director of the Nation 1817-23. Organizer of the Expedition to Liberate Peru August 20 1820.”


Louella McCarthy and Paul Ashton (eds.), Sydney Open Museum Historical Survey, Sydney City Council, 1994, item 21, pp 139-162, liv-lx

Ibero American Plaza

First conceived in 1986 as a Bicentennial project, the Plaza Ibero Americana began as an idea to acknowledge the contribution of Spanish and Portuguese-speaking people to the history of Australia.

It was opened in 1988 and remodelled in 2000.

Located on Chalmers Street, Surry Hills, the Plaza Ibero Americana consists of two statues and 11 busts representing significant historical figures and Latin American national heroes.

It features a series of busts donated by nations including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Spain, the Philippines, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Get arts and culture updates from City of Sydney News.

Sign up