After more than a century laying in pieces across the city, a fountain by Bendigo’s most renowned architects has been reassembled for the first time.
The City of Greater Bendigo today temporarily assembled and unveiled most of the restored Vahland Drinking Fountain in a bid to raise the money to finish the job – and issue a call for Bendigonians to help find its last missing pieces.
After the Vahland Drinking Fountain was pulled down in 1906 in disappeared from the record books, but lingered in people’s memory.
“It was lost,” German Heritage Society of Bendigo president Bob Schultz said.
“We knew of its existence but that’s about all.
“It was in little bits and pieces across the city – the troughs were feeding kangaroos at the Botanic Gardens, the base was sitting around in a council depot somewhere, the pillar was used as an ornament in a roundabout for a while...”German Heritage Society of Bendigo president Bob Schultz
Now that most of those pieces have been found reassembled council plans to reinstate the fountain at the Rosalind Park end of Bull Street.
First installed in 1881, the fountain originally sat at the junction of Bridge Street and Pall Mall.
Councillor Peter Cox said the fountain was one of three designed by William Charles Vahland which once worked in unison.
“Along with the magnificent Alexandra Fountain at View Point and the Cascades in Rosalind Park, this particular fountain finished his triangle of fountains in the inner CBD area,” Cr Cox said.
Appeal to public as pieces still missing, money still required
Despite progress made on assembly key components of the drinking fountain, a few key pieces remain at large.
Councillor Peter Cox said he believed he knew where the four granite buttresses which attached the central pillar to the four animal drinking troughs might be.
“We believe that [the four missing granite buttresses] might be in someone’s garden or on someone’s steps leading up to their veranda,” Cr Cox said.
“If people are aware where they might be located, the council and I’m sure the whole city will very much appreciate their return.”
And it is not just after information and granite blocks, council is appealing to the public for the restoration of the fountain. Cr Cox said of the city has so far raised $173,500 in donations of the $250,000 required to do the job.
“Last July 21 we celebrated 100 years since the death of Vahland and used the opportunity to launch a new fund to reinstate this fountain,” he said.
“It’s been a fantastic effort – but more contributions are needed if we are to reach the goal.
“Now, along with the National Trust and the Bendigo Bank, we’re calling on our wider community, businesses and organisations to contribute more money.”
Council aims to raise the money by July 21 this year.
Part of the funds will go towards creating replicas of the lights which once adorned the monument’s obelisk.
How to donate
Mr Schulz used the opportunity to officially donate $20,000 on behalf of the German Heritage Society.
Other contributions include $25,000 from the Frances and Harold Abbott Foundation and the Keech Family will donate up to $50,000 in design, engineering and casting of new steel components needed for the fountain, while engineering firm Howard Osborne is already assisting with a range of in-kind work associated with its installation.
Anyone wanting to support the restoration project can make a tax free donation at any of the nine local Bendigo Bank branches.