Miguel Grau Seminario

Related to City Art
Installed 2010
A bronze bust of Peruvian war hero, Miguel Grau Seminario, on a sandstone plinth against a red wall
Side view of a bronze bust of Peruvian war hero, Miguel Grau Seminario, on a sandstone plinth
A bronze bust of Peruvian war hero, Miguel Grau Seminario, on a sandstone plinth against a red wall

A bronze bust of Peruvian war hero Miguel Grau Seminario sits on a sandstone plinth.

Artist: Unknown 

Artwork description

This larger than life-sized bronze bust of Miguel Grau Seminario sits on a striated sandstone plinth with a square base. He is dressed in a coat that overlaps across his chest with military bands on its shoulders.

It is one of a series of busts of famous Latin American heroes displayed at Ibero American Plaza. The series on Chalmers Street commemorates the contribution of Spanish and Portuguese speaking people to the history of Australia.

More information

Rear admiral Miguel Grau Seminario was born in Peru in 1834 and died in 1879 in Bolivia.

He was a renowned Peruvian naval officer, and hero of the Battle of Angamos during the War of the Pacific (1879–1884). A strong supporter of the government of Manuel Pardo, Seminario was elected deputy for Paita in 1876, and director of Peru’s Naval Academy.

When the war against Chile began on 5 April 1879, Seminario held the rank of captain in the Peruvian Navy and was in command of the Huáscar, an ironclad turret ship built for the Peruvian government in 1865. He played an important role in the sea campaign by interdicting Chilean lines of communication and supply, damaging, capturing or destroying several enemy vessels, and bombarding port installations. The manner in which he conducted these actions won him different honours.

He was killed by an armour-piercing shell fired upon Huáscar during the Naval Battle of Angamos on 8 October 1879. Although most of his body was not recovered, his remains were buried with honours in Chile and in 1958 brought back to Peru. A portrait of the rear admiral is on display at the museum ship Huáscar in Chile, along with portraits of 2 Chilean commanders who were killed on its deck. In 2000 Miguel Grau was recognised as the ‘Peruvian of the Millennium’ by popular vote.


An inscription on the sculpture bears the name Giurfa Lima, but it is unclear if this is the name of the artist or a fabricator.


An inscription on the sandstone plinth reads:

ALM A.P. Miguel Grau Seminario
“The Knight of the Seas”
Piura 1834 0150 Angamos 1879
National hero of the Republic of Peru
Great navigator of the seven seas, eminent politician, universal man and pioneer of the human rights. He died in Angamos during the Pacific War on 8th October 1879.

ALM A.P. Miguel Grau Seminario
“El Caballero de los Mares”
Piura 1834 – Angamos 1879
Heroe nacional de la Republica
Eximio navegante de los siete mares, politicio eminente, hombre universal, y pionero de los derechos humanos. Murio en Angamos durante la Guerra del Pacifico, el 8 de Octobre de 1879.

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