Children’s Jubilee Fountain

Location: Launceston, Tasmania

Celebrations of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 were celebrated throughout the Commonwealth.The Launceston Council created a Juvenile Festival Fund to provide commemorative medals to five or six thousand children who also received refreshments. A small balance remained in the Fund, and it was proposed by Alderman Sutton that the children should, through their own efforts, contribute to the erection of a public fountain at the entrance to the Launceston City Park.

Celebrations of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 were celebrated throughout the Commonwealth. The Launceston Council created a Juvenile Festival Fund to provide commemorative medals to five or six thousand children who also received refreshments. A small balance remained in the Fund, and it was proposed by Mr. Alderman Sutton that the children should, through their own efforts, contribute to the erection of a public fountain at the entrance to the Launceston City Park.

An order was placed by Messrs. Hart and Son from the catalogue of Walter Macfarlane and Co., Glasgow. It arrived in Launceston towards the end of 1891. However, the amount required to reimburse the purchase price had not been achieved, and the fountain was put into storage until the debt was cleared.

This was accomplished in 1897 and coincided with Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. A procession marched from the Market Green to the City Park consisting of the Mayor, City Council, Parliamentary representatives, public bodies, societies, schools and citizens. The ceremony included a Royal salute which took place in Victoria Square. A commemorative oak was planted in City Park and children sang ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘God bless the Prince of Wales’ prior to the Mayor turning on the water in the Children’s Jubilee Fountain. The fountain is located at Tamar Street, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania.

The canopied drinking fountain is design number 20, an elaborate 18 feet by 4 feet fountain, sold by Walter Macfarlane & Co, and manufactured at the Saracen Foundry, Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a three tiered octagonal plinth, the open filigree canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which are positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches were trimmed with rope mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette offer shields for memorial: City crest , Crane with bulrushes, bust of Queen Victoria, and two dedication shields with the inscriptions: Presented to the city by the children of Launceston to commemorate the Queen’s Jubilee, 20th June, 1887, and, Erected on Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee 20th June 1897.

On each side arch faceplates provided a flat surface for an inscription using raised metal letters; often the useful monition, Keep the pavement dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

Doves and flowers offer decorative relief on the circular, ribbed dome. The internal capitals contain flowers and the internal lunettes display lion mascarons. The structure is surmounted with an eagle finial.

Under the canopy stands the font (design number 18.) A circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies, rests on a wide base with canted corners. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. Rising from the centre is a pyramid shaped stanchion decorated with swan and bird decoration. A kylix-shaped lamp terminal with four consoles offer bronze drinking cups suspended by chains.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; lions are symbolic of guardianship; cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance, and eagles represent immortality.

I would like to thank Pat Griffin for his assistance in photographing the fountain specifically for this blog. Full size images can be viewed at his Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/96393872@N07/

Glossary

  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Kylix, a Grecian style drinking cup
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

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Posted on February 3, 2014, in Architecture, Australia, Cast Iron, Memorial Drinking Fountain, Queen Victoria Jubilee, Saracen Foundry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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