Ovens & Murray Advertiser

Fountain restored

- By WENDY STEPHENS

THE historic rare example of a Victorian era fountain in the Beechworth Town Hall Gardens is bubbling once again after lying dormant for many years.

Don Pope from Indigo Shire said the fountain, as well as Chiltern’s Martin Park Fountain, have been refurbishe­d under a $52,000 project included in council’s capital works this finanical year.

“Works have included cleaning and water-proofing the ponds, rehabilita­ting the stone work, improving the pump systems, and painting the bases and urns,” Mr Pope said.

Deborah Kemp, heritage adviser for Indigo Shire Council, explained the history of the Beechworth Gardens and fountain dates back to the early 1860s when the town hall reserve began as a public market and in 1873 a row of trees were planted around the market reserve.

“The conversion of the market gardens into the town hall gardens began in 1875 and was influenced by the Victorian fascinatio­n with conifers and dark foliaged evergreens,” she said.

“The gardens featured gravel paths and botanical specimen trees.

“The fountain was built as a part of these gardens and is quite unusual because of the grotto-like constructi­on created by using quartz from the gold mines.

“It has been featured in many historical photos - its rustic aesthetic evoking gothic ruins and grottos all of which were popular during this period.”

In the 1880s and 1890s the gardens thrived and became a fashionabl­e location for locals and visitors alike.

The guide book published in 1892 described the gardens ‘with winding walks, well-kept lawns and an artistic fountain rising from an ornamental basin stocked with gold and silver fish’.

It said ‘The centre has a handsome rotunda with a number of lounges for the visitor to repose in meditation. The splashing fountains and the constant movement of promenades in all the brilliancy of fashion contribute to render the scene attractive and exhilarati­ng.’

The Beechworth fountain was last restored in 1985 by the Rotary club and the current restoratio­n means that today visitors and locals alike can again be seen frequentin­g the tranquilli­ty of the gardens and enjoying the cool, splashing waters of the beautiful fountain.

Indigo Shire Mayor Jenny O’Connor launched the restored fountain, thanking the local contractor­s for their skill, dedication and interest in restoring the function and appearance of these much-loved precious historic icons in Indigo Shire.

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 ?? PHOTO: Wendy Stephens ?? IMPRESSIVE: Renovators of the town hall fountain, Trevor Smith with Trent Lappin from Smith All Timber Constructi­on Rutherglen, Lincoln Antonio from Lynx Sandblasti­ng Albury, Deborah Kemp from Heritage Concepts, Ray Henderson from Indigo Shire Council with Shaun Pritchard and four year old Frankie, and Graeme Pritchard from Beechworth Plumbing with Mayor Jenny O’Connor.
PHOTO: Wendy Stephens IMPRESSIVE: Renovators of the town hall fountain, Trevor Smith with Trent Lappin from Smith All Timber Constructi­on Rutherglen, Lincoln Antonio from Lynx Sandblasti­ng Albury, Deborah Kemp from Heritage Concepts, Ray Henderson from Indigo Shire Council with Shaun Pritchard and four year old Frankie, and Graeme Pritchard from Beechworth Plumbing with Mayor Jenny O’Connor.

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