T. R. Scarfe Drinking Fountain

Location: Botanic Gardens, Adelaide, South Australia

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas R. Scarfe J.P. were both present for the dedication of a commemorative drinking fountain erected in 1909 under the large Moreton Bay tree near the director’s residence (Summer House on Trellis Walk.) During an informal opening, the fountain was handed over to the chairman of the board of governors and the director.

The fountain replaced a cluster of aloes within the gardens which had been defaced by people carving their names into the thick leaves. Cool water ran continuously, and the overflow ran down the watercourse into the lily pond. The fountain was extremely popular and well used by hundreds of thirsty people who formed lines to fill jugs and bottles.

Casting number 12 was manufactured by McDowall, Steven & Co Ltd, Milton Iron Works, Glasgow, Scotland. The 7’ 6” high structure was originally seated on a two tiered square stone plinth. A pedestal with highly decorated stanchion is flanked on each side with a dolphin, symbolizing guardians of water; and a lion mask (another symbol of guardianship) on all fours sides. Water spouting from lion mascarons was collected in tin cups suspended on chains. The sculptured quatrefoil basins now contain bubblers. The capital supports an urn.

Glossary

  • Bubbler, a fountain with a tap which ejects a stream of water
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Mask/Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • 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
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