Monro Memorial Fountain

Location: Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Mr. Frederick G. Monro, an accountant with the Bathurst Commercial bank, in cooperation with Dr. Thomas Machattie and Dr. William Spencer proposed that land previously used by the Bathurst Gaol should be utilized as a public park.

The cast iron fountain at the George Street entrance to Machattie Park, was erected in 1891 as a memorial to the Monro family on their departure from the city. They were the recipients of a farewell testimonial dinner in 1891 when they moved to Dungog where Mr. Monro undertook the position of bank manager.

Mrs. Monro was very active in the community and accomplished in raising funds to create and maintain Machattie Park. As President of the Bathurst Poor Relief Society she worked hard for those who were needy and gave her time willingly and with great joy. She was a celebrated and well loved citizen and as a mark of esteem subscriptions from the citizens paid for a drinking fountain to be erected in her memory.

In 1917 Bathurst Council approved a recommendation to paint the fountain and purchase two drinking faucets with swan pipes and to place a collar around the centre portion of the fountain.

In 1990 the fountain was treated for corrosion, drinking spouts were repaired and the structure repainted.

The fountain was originally placed level on the ground and a letter to the editor of the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal in December 1891 commented that it would be more attractive if raised a few feet above the ground. At some time this suggestion was used and it currently stands on a two tiered octagonal plinth.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow, the most prolific architectural iron founders in the world. The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded cartouches within each lunette host the image of a crane on two sides, a shield containing the dedication Monro /Memorial Fountain / 1891, and a shield with the inscription Erected / 1891. On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; whilst on the other two sides was the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains. The structure is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy stands the font (design number 7) 5 foot 8 inches high. The basin which has a scalloped edge and decorative relief is supported by a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and four descending salamanders, a symbol of courage and bravery. A central urn with four consoles offer drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal is a crane.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions, salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

Glossary

  • Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • 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
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Pattée cross, a cross with arms that narrow at the centre and flare out at the perimeter
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

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Posted on June 18, 2014, in Architecture, Australia, Cast Iron, Memorial Drinking Fountain, Saracen Foundry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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