Commemorating former boxing champion Lionel Rose, the statue celebrates and honors the achievements of the first Aboriginal Australian to win a world boxing title.
Today, Rose helped change racial attitudes of the day and to inspire and encourage people, to whom he is still a hero for both aboriginal and white Australians.
Rose was born in 1948 at Jackson Track (Labertouche) near Warragul. He followed in the footsteps of his father, who was also an amateur boxer. Rose began his boxing career under the guidance of trainer Frank Oakes, and in 1964 started professional training at the Melbourne gym of legendary Australian boxer Jack Rennie.
Over the course of Rose’s career, he participated in 53 fights and only had 11 losses, and collected a number of championship titles in Australia and around the world. In 1968, he became the world bantamweight boxing champion, after winning the title fight against Japan’s Masahiko Harada, known as the “Fighting Harada.” When Rose returned from Tokyo, 250,000 people lined the streets of Melbourne to welcome him home.
In addition to boxing, Rose was a successful musician. He learned to play the guitar as a child, and in 1970 released an album with a single that became popular in Australia.
Sculptor Steve Glassoborow was commissioned for the life-size bronze statue located in the Queen Street Park that was unveiled in 2010. Lionel Rose died in 2011.
Know Before You Go
The statue can be seen at anytime and is located in the Queen Street Park, Warragul, located between Queen St and The Warragul Railway Station.