Statue shortlist: Who should be immortalised forever in Penrith?

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Have you driven through Penrith lately and noticed there is something missing?

The Weekender has.

We noticed there is a lack of statues around our city.

That’s right – there is not one statue commemorating a politician, athlete, settler, community icon… the list goes on.

So, we thought to ourselves, what if there was a statue erected? Who would it be of and where would it go? We went to High Street and asked some locals.

Who do locals think deserves a statue?

Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of love for the mighty Penrith Panthers.
Tim and Leo believe there should be a statue of a panther.

“Everyone seems to recognise this area as panther territory,” Tim said.

Etina and Tua thought that some current panthers players should get the statue.

“Jarome Luai or Brian To’o,” they said.

Karen and Lisa thought the three-time Premiership winning coach should get the honour.

“It would have to be Ivan Cleary because he is brilliant,” they said.
Brinda thought the same.

“I think Ivan Cleary because he does a good job,” she said.

One bike rider, David, thought a musician should get the statue. Even one from outside of Penrith.

“Angus Young from AC/DC,” he declared.

One Penrith local Remick had few ideas.

“What about down the river?” Remick said.

“It would have to be me that’s the first choice,” he joked.

Remick suggested Chris Minns and Prue Car should get the honour.

“I think the Premiers of the state,” Remick said.

Finally, Remick suggested the Panthers’ own Nathan Cleary.

“In some slacks and a collared shirt, not in his football gear,” he said.

The majority is clear from the Penrith community; Ivan and Nathan Cleary should get the statue.

But here at the Weekender, we’ve got a few suggestions of our own. We’ve put our heads together and come up with a statue shortlist.

Who should get a statue in Penrith?

Greg Alexander

Affectionately known to most footy fans as ‘Brandy’, he was born and raised in Penrith where he attended St Dominic’s College. Brandy debuted for the Panthers in 1984 and won the Rookie of the Year Award. In his second year, Brandy went on to win the Dally M player of the year award. Brandy was promoted to captain in 1991 and took the club to their maiden premiership after beating Canberra 19-12. Brandy, you certainly get our vote.

Jessica Fox OAM

Fox was raised in Penrith after being born in France. Jess attended Blaxland High School where she academically excelled. She followed in the steps of her canoeist parents and made her debut at the 2012 London Olympic Games at just 18-years-old. She won a silver medal in the K1 event and later won two bronze medals in the same event. Jess won her first gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in the C1 event. Jess will compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics later this year.

Watkin Tench

Tench was a British Officer who travelled on the First Fleet and later discovered the place we now call Penrith. While it was Lachlan Macquarie who gave Penrith its name in 1822 it was Tench in 1789 who stumbled across the area in his journey west.

James J. Riley

Penrith’s population of 837 wanted their voice heard on matters that concerned them and Penrith was named a municipality. In 1871 Penrith Council met for the very first time and it was presided over by Penrith’s first Mayor James J. Riley. Riley lived on 2,000 acres of land in what is now Mulgoa where he bred sheep and thoroughbred horses.

Nellie Nah Doongh

Nellie’s story is chronicled by Sara Shand in the early 20th century in the Nepean Times. Shand drew portraits of Nellie and shared Nellie’s experience of European settlement recalling Nellie saying “…I member first white come here – all black’s den, no houses, all gunyans-ev’body fghtin…”. Nellie is often described as being the last of her tribe and a well-known figure in the community during the period of European settlement.


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