Christchurch's Robert Falcon Scott statue gets base isolation

Last updated 17:56 06/10/2017

Relatives of Captain Robert Falcon Scott were in Christchurch on Friday to help Mayor Lianne Dalziel unveil the repaired statue beside the Avon River.

The statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott has been repaired and returned to its original home on the banks of the Avon River, Christchurch.
Stuff photographer David Walker caught the moment when descendants of Captain Robert Falcon Scott helped Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Ngai Tahu's Te Maire Tau, right, drop the curtain covering the repaired statue.
Cracks and repairs (the grey dots) are shown in the legs of the Scott statue.
After the 2011 earthquake, the Scott statue had various homes, including this display case for a 2012 ice festival.
The Scott statue was first unveiled before a large crowd on February 9th, 1917. It was executed by his widow, Lady Scott, who attended the opening.

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The statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott probably won't topple in the next earthquake.

The restored sculpture of the famed Antarctic explorer was unveiled in a ceremony in Christchurch on Friday and much was made of the base isolation given to the 100-year-old artifact.

"What we've learned from the repair strategy will become something that's available to the world," Mayor Lianne Dalziel said. "It's an investment in heritage, not just locally but globally."

The statue, but not the plinth, fell over on February 22, 2011. After face-planting in soft grass, the top-heavy statue broke at the ankle and shin of either leg, council restoration project manager Jo Grigg said.

Captain Robert Falcon Scott statue to be reinstated
Captain Robert Falcon Scott statue returns to public view
Quake-damaged statue back on display

The restored statue was strengthened with four carbon fibre rods implanted in each leg from foot to waist. The rods were woven together inside each leg by carbon fibre strands called tow, said structural engineer Grant Wilkinson, of Ruamoko Solutions.

The statue also sits on a plate and spring inside the plinth that will allow the 2.5-tonne artwork to rock in future tremors, Wilkinson said. "I think he'll survive," he said.

The work was expected to cost $560,000 but would probably come in under budget, Grigg said. The statue was insured for $900,000, Dalziel said.

Scott and four companions died returning from the South Pole in 1912. Christchurch was their last base before leaving for the ice.

The statue was carved from Italian carrara marble by Scott's widow, Kathleen Scott, and presented to Christchurch in 1917.

The Scotts' great grandson, Daniel Asquith, told the ceremony that Kathleen Scott could not access bronze in Britain during World War I.

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In 1916, she travelled to a marble quarry Carrara, Italy, and carved the statue there in less than a month. The white marble is said to represent Antarctic ice.


Her earlier version of the same sculpture, in bronze, stands in Waterloo Place in central London.

Asquith, a North Island GP, immigrated to New Zealand about 10 years ago. He said the statue was a "manifestation of the connection of this great city to the Antarctic".

The Godley statue in Cathedral Square also has a form of base isolation. The Rolleston statue outside Canterbury Museum is clamped to its base.

- Stuff


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