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Fountain Series – Stately: The Archibald Fountain

Jason with the Golden Fleece and the good things of the earth.

Jason with the Golden Fleece and the good things of the earth.

Ancient Greece meets Art Deco in the Archibald Fountain in Sydney’s Hyde Park. Nothing whatever to with Australia, but a glorious fountain nonetheless.

Theseus slaying the Minotaur which represents the sacrifice for the good of humanity.

Theseus slaying the Minotaur which represents the sacrifice for the good of humanity.

The description of the fountain and captions for the first three photos in this post come from Jim at Sydney – City and Surrounds (I used his description for last week’s Governor Phillip fountain too): “The Archibald Fountain is an art deco style fountain in Hyde Park, near College Street, designed by French artist Francois Sicard and unveiled on 14 March 1932. The fountain is named after J.F. Archibald, owner and editor of The Bulletin, a newspaper which later became a magazine that encouraged writers to write about Australia. He bequeathed funds to build it to commemorate the association of Australia and France in World War I. The fountain features mythological characters of ancient Greece. The central pedestal features a bronze sculpture of Apollo with the fan-like shape of water formed by jets rising behind it, representing the rising sun. There are three granite plinths radiating from the central pedestal featuring the following bronze sculptures: Artemis, the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt, wild animals and fertility depicted here with a bow, a deer and hunting dogs. Jason with the Golden Fleece and the good things of the earth. Theseus slaying the Minotaur which represents the sacrifice for the good of humanity. The large basin is decorated with six tortoises which throw jets of water.”

 Apollo with the fan-like shape of water formed by jets rising behind

Apollo with the fan-like shape of water formed by jets rising behind

Archibald Fountain, the widescreen view

Archibald Fountain, the widescreen view

October’s fountain theme is Stately or Ornate.


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Fountain Series: Stately – The Governor Phillip Fountain

The Governor Phillip Fountain, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

The Governor Phillip Fountain, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

A fountain such as this one is a big, bold public statement, but at its heart it’s all about the water — and if you click here you’ll see a much larger version of the header image in which the spouting water has been frozen for an instance of time, bright and glittering like misshapen droplets of glass caught in a spotlight.

Jim from Sydney – City and Surrounds has already described the fountain perfectly, so I hope he doesn’t mind if I quote him: “The Governor Phillip Fountain is located in the Royal Botanic Gardens, close to Macquarie Street. It was created by the Italian sculptor Achille Simonetti and unveiled in 1897 to honour Captain Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of New South Wales. This magnificent 15.24 metre high fountain features a marble pedestal for the 4.5 metre bronze statue of Captain Phillip. The pedestal features three reliefs of Justice, Patriotism and Education. Below the pedestal are the reclining bronze figures of Neptune (Navigation), Agriculture, Cyclops (Mining) and Commerce. The four marble consoles are embellished with bronze plaques of Aboriginal people. Between the figures are four giant marble clam shells each surmounted by bronze prows of ships and twin giant sea serpents which feed water into the white marble basins.”

Sea serpents on the Governor Phillip Fountain, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Sea serpents on the Governor Phillip Fountain, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

As much as I love those sea serpents, I would really prefer not to encounter one in real life!

October’s fountain theme is Stately.


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Fountain Series: Fun – The Tank Stream Fountain

A turtle

A turtle

Where Alfred Street meets George Street, behind Circular Quay and its bustling ferries, a fountain meanders from pool to pool. Sculpted animals peep out from pipes and are caught frozen in time while going about their business. This is Sydney’s Tank Stream Fountain — and I defy anyone not to smile at the quirky animals in this fun fountain.

A plaque explaining the fountain's inspiration

A plaque explaining the fountain’s inspiration

Part of the fountain unfolds behind the turtle

Part of the fountain unfolds behind a turtle in a series of wonderfully fluid shapes

Water pours from a spout

Water pours from a spout

Crawling crabs

Crawling crabs

One end of the fountain has a special area at the right height for children for view.

The children's fountain

The children’s fountain

Platypus and snakes

Platypus and snakes


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Fountain Series: Fun – The Fountain of Giant Soap Bubbles

Archibald Fountain, Sydney - plus giant soap bubbles

Archibald Fountain, Sydney – plus giant soap bubbles

Okay, so I’m stretching the interpretation of September’s theme of “fountains that are fun/fountains that make you smile“. The very staid and grand Archibald Fountain in Sydney’s Hyde Park does not spew out giant soap bubbles, despite the impression given in the photo above (how cool would that be if it did, though?).

But I certainly smiled when I came across this scene … and as for “fun”, this girl has no doubts.

Fun? Just look at this girl.

Fun? Just look at this girl.

And here’s the source of the giant soap bubbles. I have no idea who he is, but I often see him around Archibald Fountain, bringing smiles and laughs to young and old alike. I just call him The Bubble Man.

The Bubble Man

The Bubble Man


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Fountain Series: Animal or People (4) – Sydney

A double offering of animal fountains this week! I figured I could group them into one post for two reasons: they’re both associated with the Sydney Hospital & Sydney Eye Hospital, and they both had the merest trickle of water on the day I visited!

Robert Brough Memorial Fountain

This cast-iron fountain was made in England and shipped to Sydney in 1907. But who, you are asking, was Robert Brough? Full name Lionel Robert Brough (1857-1906), he was an English actor-manager who moved to Australia and, among other things, championed the plays of Oscar Wilde at a time when that playwright was no longer even mentioned in polite society back in England. (source)

Robert Brough Memorial Fountain - black swans

Robert Brough Memorial Fountain – black swans

Robert Brough Memorial Fountain - brolgas

Robert Brough Memorial Fountain – brolgas

Il Porcellino

I’m sure this guy looks familiar! This is one of a number of copies of the original bronze statue in Florence. “In 1962 five copies of [the Florentine] sculpture were cast by the Florence foundry, Fonderia Ferdinando Marinelli. One of the copies was donated to the Sydney Hospital by Marchessa Clarissa Torrigiani in memory of her father and brother. Both had been renown surgeons at the hospital.” (source)

Il Porcellino - can you see the drop of water trembling on his bottom lip?

Il Porcellino – can you see the drop of water trembling on his bottom lip?

Il Porcellino  - look, six drops!

Il Porcellino – look, six drops!

May’s Fountain Photo Challenge theme is “animal or people in it“.


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Fountain Series: Animal or People (3) – Monterrey

This fountain in Monterrey, Mexico, has both animals AND people.

This fountain in Monterrey, Mexico, has both animals AND people.

The Fuente de la Vida (Fountain of Life), by the Spanish sculptor Luis Sanguino, is in the Gran Plaza of Monterrey, Mexico. It was erected in December 1984 and contains figures of Neptune, lions and other animals, in addition to these aquatic horses and women.

Don't they look joyous? I wonder what they're celebrating?

Don’t they look joyous? I wonder what they’re celebrating?

May’s Fountain Photo Challenge theme is “animal or people in it“.


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Fountain Series: Urban (3) – San Luis Potosí

A fountain in San Luis Potosí, Mexico

A fountain in San Luis Potosí, Mexico

This wonderfully burbly fountain is from a city in Mexico called San Luis Potosí. According to Wikipedia, “The city is named after Louis IX of France (also known in Mexico as San Luis Rey de Francia; Saint Louis, King of France), who is the city’s patron saint. Potosí was added in reference to the fabulously rich mines of Potosí, Bolivia, discovered some forty years before the city was founded, as the exploitation of silver and gold mines in Cerro de San Pedro near San Luis was the main reason for the founding of the city in 1592.” As you can see from the buildings behind the fountain, the city centre has a rich colonial heritage.

April’s Fountain Photo Challenge theme is Urban — fountains in a city or town setting.


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