The Fountain

As part of the Queen Victoria 50th jubilee celebrations in 1887, Councillor Edwards proposed that a commemorative fountain should be placed in what was then the Creek Reserve.  It was anticipated that this could be done within a budget of £50.  Fountains were inspected at Ballarat and Maryborough. Arthur Batson, the former town clerk then working in Fitzroy sent a design based on the fountain in the Exhibition Gardens in Melbourne and this was approved by council (note that the Clunes fountain shows very little resemblance to the fountain outside the Royal Exhibition Building).  The contract to the fountain was given to Waugh Bros. Foundry in Collingwood, at a price of £63.  It was to consist of two tiers and constructed "of pressed cement, standing in a suitable basin of the same material". There is an inscription on the fountain, now becoming difficult to read, "1887 - Erected by the burgesses of Clunes, as a memorial of affection and loyalty on the completion of the fiftieth year of the reign of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria. J. E. Meyers, Mayor".  It was proposed to have a fence around the fountain, but this appears never to have been built due to lack of funds. The opening of the fountain was held in June 1887.  The fountain appears in almost every photograph of Queen's Park and was clearly a focal point.

The fountain proved difficult to maintain, requiring frequent painting and often cracking.  As soon as 1890, the Town Clerk noted the "dilapidated appearance" of the fountain and £4-5 was allocated for three coats of paint.  A crack in the fountain was noted in 1891.  Restoration work on the fountain was again needed in 1899, when the fountain was reported by Councillor Martindale to have been "in a very bad state".  Other repairs were made in 1915, 1923, 1925 and 1929 (at the present time, historical research has only covered the years to 1930).

There were goldfish in the fountain in 1894, when the youngest son of the postmaster fell into the fountain trough and gashed his forehead!  In 1915 requests were made for goldfish to be put into the fountain.  At various times, councillors complained about children playing in the fountain (presumably this indicated that due reverence was not being paid to the former queen?).  However, at one point it was proposed that the water in the tank around the fountain could be used by the gardener when piped water was not available (supply of water to the gardens was an issue for many years).

The Fountain