HCA NEWS Sydney hunts for its Hans Christian Andersen statue

Fifty years ago, a bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen was erected in Philip Park in Sydney, Australia, to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the famous storyteller. Yet ten years later the bust was removed as part of a refurbishment plan for the park and ever since the Danish community in Sydney has tried to trace its whereabouts.

By on - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 20 October 2004

In 1955, the Danish community in Sydney donated the statue to the city of Sydney to be erected in the Philip Park Boys and Girls Craft Centre where it stood for ten years before the municipality decided to move the statue to a better location in Wynyard Park. However, before the relocation ever took place the statue disappeared and has not since been found.

One of Sydney's Danish residents, 89-year-old Sigurd P. Sjøquist, who originally contributed to the funding of the bust, states: "We have not given up hope of finding it. I am sure it still exists."

Officials have also taken action in seeking to recover the long-lost treasure. The Danish Consul-General in Sydney, Jørgen Møllegaard Kristensen, points out that all great parks around the world have a Hans Christian Andersen statue - from Hyde Park in London to Central Park in New York. "We would be very pleased to have a statue in Sydney again, and if we can't find the original a copy must be made instead," he states.

He has therefore involved the Mayor of Sydney and the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation in the hunt for the statue, which hopefully will lead to its recovery before the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen on 2 April 2005.

In association with SAS and Bentours, a reward is being offered to whoever finds the statue. The reward features a trip to Copenhagen and a six-day tour of historic Danish cities by train - a journey worth 5,600 Australian dollars.

In 2005, Sydney along with Tokyo, Beijing, Berlin, and London will be key focal points in the worldwide celebration of the Andersen bicentenary. Prominent Australians, among them athlete Cathy Freeman, will as Hans Christian Andersen ambassadors host a number of cultural events highlighting the life and work of Hans Christian Andersen, including his 156 fairytales, short stories, poems, plays, travelogues and autobiographies.