The Story of the Public Purse
The Public Purse is one of Melbourne’s unique pieces of art. Here’s all you need to know about this iconic Big Thing.
The Public Purse in Melbourne is one of the many Big Things of Australia that are hard to miss when you take a tour of the city’s Central Business District. Here’s a brief history of the gigantic Public Purse.
History of the Public Purse in Melbourne
In January 1994, the City of Melbourne introduced a campaign for submissions for unique street seating. The campaign’s goal was to integrate public art into the growth and development of the city. To achieve this, the city would contribute one percent of the council’s capital works budget towards funding public artworks.
Simon Perry was the designer of this large purse.
The oversized purse consists of granite and stainless steel, and symbolizes the city’s role as a commercial hub and shopping destination. In his own words, Perry described the purse as one that “signifies an interaction between the city and citizens, the public and the private.”
On September 12, 1994, the massive purse sculpture was unveiled and instantly became a favourite photo op spot for locals and visitors. Unlike ordinary purses, the Public Purse in Melbourne doesn’t have an opening; it’s sealed shut. However, this hasn’t stopped curious people from trying to open it.
The Big Public Purse Measurements
Commissioned through the City of Melbourne Percent for Art Program, this massive purse measures 65 x 200 x 140 centimetres.
Where to Find the Public Purse in Melbourne
You’ll find this purse at Bourke St Mall and Elizabeth corner, outside the old General Post Office.
Other Big Things in Melbourne
Melbourne is home to several other Big Things of Australia worth seeing. Examples include:
- The Time Machine in Melbourne
- The Big Flower
- The Big Bees
- The Big Petition
- The Big Pocket Watch
- The Big Bird
- The Lac Bird Gate
- The Big Pheasant in Tynong