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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.

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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

Queen Victoria Jubilee Fountain

Location: Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, ENG

The drinking fountain in the Market Place at Dalton-in Furness was erected in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. It was designated a Grade II historic building on 6 May 1976 and was restored in the 1980s.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. 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 contained within the north and south lunettes host the image of a crane; the west contains a dedication: Erected / In / Commemoration Of / Her Majesty’s / Diamond Jubilee / 1897 and above, the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains. A left facing bust of Queen Victoria is on the eastern cartouche. The structure is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with a pattée cross. Originally the terminal hosted a gas lamp above the crown.

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. These items are missing from the current structure.

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.

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  • 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

Racedo Fountain

Location: Paraná, Entre Ríos, Argentina

In 1901 the British residents of Paraná donated a fountain to the city in commemoration of Queen Victoria, and their relationship with the Argentinian people. It was erected on the Boulevard Racedo in front of the railway station.

The drinking fountain was number 27 manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co. in the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow. The design was well suited for street crossings, squares, market places, etc., as it afforded drinking accommodation for a large number of horses and drivers, and effectively lit a wide space, with the least possible obstruction to other traffic.

The structure provided a drinking trough for horses with a small basin for dogs at ground level. The trough was a circular cast iron basin supported on legs in the form of horses’ hooves. The central stanchion supported the structure which was seated on a circular plinth. A central fluted column was capped with a lamp and crown terminal. Roofed in with scales of opal glass the lantern cast the light downwards (design number 223).

A shield on the post offered inscription: “The British residents of Entre Rios, the Municipality of Paraná, in commemoration of government of HM Queen Victoria, and in gratitude for the feeling shown by the Argentine people. Paraná, January 22, 1901.” Four projecting tendrils suspended cups allowing humans to drink from the spouting water whilst horses drank from the large basin.

The original hexagonal lamp with fish scale design was probably replaced when electricity was introduced. The current lamp differs in shape and does not have a crown terminal.


  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

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Queen Victoria Fountain

Location: Bristol, England

The fountain set into the exterior wall of Market House on St. Nicholas Street, Bristol, was installed to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 40th birthday in 1859. It was donated by Mr. Budgett, a wealthy Bristol grocery merchant.

The fountain was cast by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire (casting #106) from a design by William and Thomas Wills of Suffolk. The brothers were noted sculptors in the mid 19th century and best known for their designs of drinking fountains.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved edges. The top part of the shield forms a lunette displaying the crowned head of Queen Victoria; beneath is a recessed arch which contains the drinking well. On either side of the well are cherubs holding daffodils on high whilst standing on acanthus foliage. An inscription is visible on the arch: Wills Brothers Sculpt London. A shell situated in the interior of the arch dispersed water into the basin below.

Listed a Grade II building in 1977 the painted structure was refreshed regularly by Mr. John Hewett of Whitehall in Bristol. The iron back plate and basin were damaged in 1982, and the basin was rebuilt in a concrete/resin mixture.

The fountain was restored at the behest of Bristol City Council and undertaken by Dorothea Restorations. Damage to the fountain was repaired, new cast iron pieces were fitted, and the structure was cleaned.  The original paint had deteriorated over time and after consultation with the City it was repainted in an acceptable colour palette.


  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting

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Image Sources–bristol