Nowra Drinking Fountains

Location: Nowra, New South Wales, Australia

This post was originally intended to record the details of the Queen Victoria Jubilee drinking fountain; however, during research I discovered that three drinking fountains existed in the town.

In 1897, there was contentious debate within the Council as to whether a drinking fountain should be erected to commemorate 60 years of reign by Queen Victoria. On the 23rd June in the same year, a large gathering assembled at the corner of Kinghorn and Junction streets to celebrate the unveiling of the approved fountain by the wife of Mayor Christopher Graham. It was a joyous event with the Nowra Brass Band accompanying the crowd as they sang the following songs between speeches; the Old Hundredth, Advance Australia, the National Anthem, and Rule Britannia.

The Nowra School of Arts committee made a request to Council on 10 Mar 1900 to remove the drinking fountain from its present position near the Commercial Bank, to the space in front of the hall. Alderman Morton opposed the idea, citing that it had been placed there for a purpose, and as the School did not pay rates, they had no right to make such a request.

The drinking fountain remained in situ, and for several years was neglected, deteriorating to an unsatisfactory condition. A suggestion was made in 1916 to move it from the corner at the Commercial Bank to the Recreation Ground. Due to the stated fact that some people preferred to drink water at the fountain instead of the nearby public houses, the proposal was defeated. The quest to relocate the fountain resurfaced again in 1930 with a submission to move it to Memorial Park at North Street and Bridge Road. Despite this proposal being accepted, the Jubilee Fountain was eventually moved to Nowra Showground.

An excerpt from the Shoalhaven Telegraph Wednesday 23 June 1897: The fountain stands on a base of sandstone and is some 6ft in height, is painted green with gold facings, and is supplied with two drinking mugs. The estimated cost, including erection, painting, etc, is about £17. The work of erection was carried out by Mr. J. Gibson. At the base is a brass plate bearing the following inscription:-
Erected June 22nd, 1897 / In Commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria / Graham, Mayor.

The fate of the fountain is unknown. The only photograph I could find offers a very unclear image. It is possible that it is design #6 from Geo. Smith & Son, cast in the Sun Foundry, Glasgow, Scotland.

Sun_font 6

Sun Foundry design #6

The fountain, 4ft. 10ins. high, was seated on a two tiered plinth. It featured a single pedestal basin with a base of four globular design elements transitioning into 4 small pilasters. A 2ft 2ins. diameter basin was decorated with a rope detail edge. In the centre of the basin was a sculptured urn with 2 shell motif spouts. Water was collected with two drinking cups suspended on chains from elaborate consoles. A pointed enrichment terminated the structure.


    • Console, a decorative bracket support element
    • Pilaster
    • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests


A drinking fountain was erected in the Nowra Showground on 14 February 1912 in memory of Mr. John Monaghan Esq. J.P., one of the founders of the Shoalhaven Agricultural Society, and a selfless public servant of 70 years with the Shoalhaven District. The fountain served the public with fresh drinking water.

Design number 7, standing 5ft 8ins, from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow featuring a single pedestal basin with four pilasters rising from an octagonal plinth. Four salamanders descend the fountain pedestal as a symbol of courage and bravery.

The basin, 2 ft 6 ins in diameter, has a scalloped edge and decorative relief. The interior surface is engraved, and a sculptured urn is terminated by the figure of a crane, a symbol of vigilance. Four elaborate consoles once supported drinking cups on chains. Water flowed from a spout into the drinking cup by pressing its edge against a projecting stud below the spout. The self-closing valve allowed for operation with only one hand.

A plaque with inscription is located at the base of the urn within the basin.
Fountain Erected By The Public Of Shoalhaven To The Memory Of The Late John Monaghan Esq. J.P. First White Australian Male Child Born In The Shoalhaven District South Of The River Also One Who Rendered Invaluable Services In Advancing The Interests Of This District.


  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

In 1902, a marble monument to the Boer War which also housed a drinking fountain was erected in front of the Nowra School of Arts. It remained there until 1962 when it was relocated to Rauch Park in Junction Street, opposite the Shoalhaven Council Chambers. (Rauch Park, named after a local newspaper man Henry Rauch, was created in 1956.)

Boer War_southcoast register

Memorial can be seen on the right edge of image

boer war memorial

Boer War Memorial

An interesting article on the memorial is currently available at this link


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