Corowa Drinking Fountain

Location: Corowa, New South Wales, Australia

On 12 April 1907, a drinking fountain was purchased by Mayor Alexander Augustus Piggin at his own expense while at a conference in Sydney. The fountain was donated to the town to celebrate Corowa’s new water supply which was officially opened on 18th May 1907. It was located at the corner of Sanger Street and Deniliquin Road outside the Commercial Bank property.

The following year in December 1908 the fountain’s drinking cups were removed by children, and the police were notified of the vandalism. In 1922 the drinking fountain was moved to the kerb outside the Municipal Council Offices to facilitate the erection of a war memorial. The memorial incorporating a clock tower which became known as the Soldier’s Memorial was unveiled on 10 September 1922 to commemorate those who died in service during the two World Wars.

The fountain was again relocated in 1938 to the children’s playground at R. T. Ball Park. This move may have been initiated due to the 1937 sewerage scheme and the 1938 Main Roads maintenance programme.

The fountain is currently located at the entrance to the RT Ball Park Caravan Park although in a state of disrepair. The crane terminal missing from the structure resides in the Federation Museum. Also on display at the museum is a wooden water pipe used for the town water supply in the late 1800’s; it is made with two or more pieces of wood bound together with wire.

water pipe

Design number 7 standing 5ft 8ins from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. It was seated on an octagonal base inscribed with the following legend; Presented By The Mayor / Alderman A A Piggin / At The Opening Of The Corowa / Water Supply On 18th May 1907

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Circa 1908

The drinking fountain features 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, 2ft 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.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Salamanders represent bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

Glossary:

  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • 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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