Cameron Memorial Fountain

Location: Launceston, Tasmania

The drinking fountain/horse trough at the corner of St John and Patterson Streets in Launceston was donated to the town in 1884 by Emma Walker in memory of her late father John Cameron Esquire JP., a merchant, an investor in real estate, and a Justice of the Peace. The fountain was erected in 1885 in front of the Post Office.

The trough was moved circa 1938 as it was seldom used in that part of the city. It was relocated to the Marine Board at Lower St. John Street, near the Customs House, Esplanade where there were still numerous horse drawn vehicles in the vicinity of the wharves. When the Sewerage Treatment plant was later built on that site it was given a temporary home in the Trustees Court near Centreway Arcade.

In 1964 the fountain was moved again to the rear of Franklin House Museum which is owned by the National Trust at Youngtown. It is currently located near the single storey schoolhouse, having been donated by the Launceston City Council. Following a restoration appeal, an authentic lamp was purchased at auction and restored by volunteers Ian Smith and David Ragan.

The fountain is design #31 from the catalogue of Walter MacFarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. Seated on a circular stone plinth, the wide base is in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross with four lion jambs supporting four elaborately decorated quatrefoil basins for horses. The stanchion is decorated with bands of acanthus and alternating panels of cranes and swans.

Four consoles protrude from a circular fluted shaft to suspend drinking cups on chains. The standard design was offered with a round lamp. However, Emma decided that it would be better to have one with panes, in case of breakage, and requested that the monogram J.C. be engraved on each pane. A shield was mounted to the column with the inscription, This / Fountain Is Erected / To The Memory Of / The Late / John Cameron / Of This Town / By His Daughter / Emma / 1884

franklin house_tasfhs

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • 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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