Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Children's Fountain, Launceston

The Children’s Fountain was originally purchased in 1887 for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee with the idea that it would be presented to the city by the children of Launceston. The Children’s Fountain was cast by McFarlanes in the Saracen Foundry in Scotland.

An illustration from a 1880’s catalogue shows that originally the fountain had small cups attached by chains to the central tower. The cups could be pressed against a valve stud which then released water. The catalogue subsequently promoted the benefits of public drinking fountains. “A supply of drinking water to the outdoor population and also to the lower animals, is now acknowledged as a necessity of the changed circumstances of the times and the growing intelligence of the community, encouraging habits of temperance and humanity and promoting the moral and physical improvements of the people”

However, difficulties arose when the raising of 200 pounds was required to install the fountain and as a consequence the installation was delayed. As part of the fund raising efforts and as a way of involving children, a Juvenile Industrial Exhibition was held in the nearby Albert Hall. The exhibition included examples of handwriting, plain sewing and darning and fancy work by students plus displays by a variety of manufacturers.

The fountain was finally installed outside the main gates of City Park in 1897 as part of the celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It stood in this position until 1908 when it was moved inside the park itself. You can still see the hexagonal pattern of bluestone blocks set into the ground outside the gates which indicates the original location of the fountain.

The fountain still stands in its 1908 location in the park, still providing the community with a source of clean, fresh water.

Main Text & Information Source –
Interpretive Sign at the Site

Historic Photo –