Wilkinson Memorial Drinking Fountain, Hobsons Bay Heritage Study 2006
Statement of Significance
What is Significant?
The Wilkinson Memorial Drinking Fountain, designed and constructed in 1876 by Walter Macfarlane & Co with a base constructed by Harry Bliss, at 132 Nelson Place, Williamstown.
How is it Significant?
The Wilkinson Memorial Drinking Fountain is of local historic, social and aesthetic significance to the City of Hobsons Bay.
The Wilkinson Memorial Drinking Fountain has architectural, aesthetic and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it Significant?
The significance of the Wilkinson Memorial Drinking Fountain is described by Heritage Victoria as follows:
The Wilkinson Memorial Drinking Fountain is architecturally significant as the earliest known memorial drinking fountain in Melbourne and one of the earliest in Victoria. It is also significant as one of the most ornate drinking fountains in Victoria and as a rare surviving example of an imported cast-iron drinking fountain. A number of similar ornamental fountains manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co of Glasgow were imported into Australia in the nineteenth century, but only one other example is known to exist in Victoria. The other example, the Henderson Drinking Fountain, North Melbourne, lost its original pedestal and basin in the 1950s.
The drinking fountain is aesthetically important as a fine example of Victorian decorative street furniture with elegant columns, richly ornamented arches and dome and elaborate carved figures.
The drinking fountain has historical significance for its associations with the Reverend George Wilkinson, Anglican minister at Holy Trinity, Williamstown who was also a temperance advocate and homeopath. The fountain also has strong historical associations with the temperance movement, a powerful religious, political and social force in Victorian society.