Ararat Rural City seeking state or federal government grants to repair the Ararat Boer War Memorial Fountain

ARARAT Rural City will seek any possible state or federal government grants to repair the Ararat Boer War Memorial Fountain.

Cr Gwenda Allgood said it was a “shame that the council was doing such a great job with the Arts Precinct” between Barkly and High Street but nothing to restore the “iconic fountain”.

“When you come around the front and look at that fountain it’s just such a shame to see the fountain crumbling away,” she said.

Cr Glenda McLean said it was ‘embarrassing’ that the state government had provided millions of dollars for the  Arts Precinct when then the council couldn’t find $150,000 for the fountain out front.

“I think we can do this,” she said.

Councillors were originally recommended to vote on Tuesday night that a Ararat Boer War Memorial Fountain Report be received.

“The Ararat Boer War Memorial fountain is located in front of the historic Ararat Town Hall, and is a focal point for the Heritage Victoria listed precinct,” the report stated.

“The repair and refurbishment of the Historic fountain to make it operational has been identified by Council on a number of occasions including the current Council resolution.”

Councillors voted in May “That Council spend $150,000 out of any funds that end up being surplus at the end of 2016/2017 financial year to refurbish the historic fountain outside the Performing Arts Centre in 2017.”

In the days prior to the vote, former mayor Pat McAloon called for the fountain’s restoration to be included in the Arts Precinct project.

Cr Gwenda Allgood successfully moved an amendment that Ararat Rural City seek external grants.

Cr McLean said it should be within Ararat's capacity to find $150,000 for a restoration. and that the council plan called for an immediate start to preparing for a restoration.

“Two members of the executive group have done some recent work, described in this report, going to Melbourne and checking out the history of the fountain,” she said. 

"There has been concern about the state of degradation of this fountain for the last 12 years.”

The Victorian Heritage Database records that the Barkly Street fountain was installed in 1905, originally to mark Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee.

According to a Statement of Significance, then City of Ararat councilor R. Hargreaves suggested that the fountain should also commemorate those of Ararat's volunteers “who sleep in the war-scarred veldts of South Africa”.

“Ararat had sent twenty-one volunteers and those who survived received gold medals from fellow citizens,” the statement said.

The Ararat Rural City report stated that a 2009 assessment of the fountain multiple works were required to repair and restore the fountain to its original condition.

The works identified were the replacement of lost features including a cherub and bowls to the top; reconnect and replace pipe work and water reticulation system; repair and remold damaged features; waterproof and repaint surface; and additional minor works.

This story Condition of Ararat fountain ‘embarrassing’ first appeared on The Ararat Advertiser.