The Lt General Sir John Talbot Hobbs memorial is a distinctive feature of the City foreshore, standing between Riverside Drive and the river, shaded by a grove of palm trees. The memorial commemorates the military career of an extraordinary architect. Born one of eight children, Joseph John Talbot Hobbs migrated to Australia in the 1880s and within five years was responsible for an elegant and influential body of work, including the construction of the Weld Club, the principle men’s club in Perth, and a distinctive feature on the corner of the Esplanade and Barrack St.
Talbot Hobbs signed up to the Australian Imperial Forces at the age of 50 and served with distinction, at Galipolli and in France. He designed four of the five war memorials in France, including Villers-Bretonneux, and in 1929 was instrumental in the development of the Western Australian War Memorial.
The current position of the JJ Talbot Hobbs memorial is the result of careful consideration of the man and his work in Western Australia. He faces his first major commission, the Weld Club, and the memorial has been used as the saluting post for Anzac Parades on the Esplanade for forty years, while the obelisk of the War Memorial on Kings Park provides a fitting background.
As part of the Waterfront development, the JJ Talbot Hobbs memorial is to be resited, possibly near Langley Park. Between the memorial and the Weld Club will be several large office towers, and the view to Kings Park will be blocked by two hotel developments on Barrack Square. The Esplanade itself will be a watery memory.