Internal leaks to historic Alexandra Fountain delay work completion by several weeks

INTERNAL leaks to the historic Alexandra Fountain in central Bendigo have delayed its complete reopening by several weeks.

Restoration works on the 136-year-old fountain were expected to be complete this week, but the discovery of leaks meant scaffolding is likely to remain around the site until late November.

City of Greater Bendigo manager parks and open space Debbie Wood said the age of the fountain and its infrastructure meant such delays were unavoidable.

“We had hoped to have the fountain up and running this week however when we turned the water back on under pressure we discovered some unexpected internal leaks which we are now working to rectify,” she said.

“The fountain is 136 years old and these types of unexpected issues often arise when dealing with heritage infrastructure.

The Alexandra Fountain in all its glory.

The Alexandra Fountain in all its glory.

“Our contractors are currently working to investigate the internal leaks and while this is taking place the fountain will remain fenced off until the work is completed.  However pedestrian access will be reinstated around the fountain today (Friday).

“Hopefully the scaffolding and site wrapping will be removed within the next two week.”

The $350,000 restoration works started on the Alexandra Fountain in July, including works on the cast balustrade and masonry.

There was also conservation works and painting of the statue and render, and significant plumbing and electrical upgrades.

It was the first the fountain had received maintenance works since 2010.

The Alexandra Fountain is one of Bendigo – and Victoria’s – most recognisable historic structures.

Named in honour of Princess Alexandra, the Princess of Wales, construction of the fountain was funded by prominent Bendigo philanthropists, Sandhurst council and proceeds from the Bendigo Juvenile Industrial Exhibition.

It was designed by William Vahland and built by local craftsmen.

Princess Alexandra’s two sons Prince George – later King George V – and Prince Albert opened the fountain on July 5, 1881.