• Date: 03/08/2016
  • Cemetery: Williamstown Cemetery

Built in 1882, the historic landmark fountain at the Williamstown Cemetery will be restored to its former glory as part of a joint funding initiative between Victoria’s Heritage Restoration Fund and GMCT.

This major initiative follows several previous attempts at maintenance over the years and multiple repairs to the ornate central fountain which is an historic and well known feature of the cemetery.

The $450,000 rehabilitation and refurbishment of the 19th century fountain will begin next week and be completed early next year. Work will be undertaken by HBS Group Pty Ltd, specialist restoration contractors.

When fully restored, the fountain, which was designed by Melbourne-based architectural modellers Wardrop and Scurry and features a unique series of jets and valves, will resume its prominent position as an outstanding highlight of the rich history of Williamstown.

Williamstown Cemetery which was opened in 1857, is one of Victoria’s earliest memorials to Melbourne’s maritime pioneers. The cemetery is one of more than 19 cemeteries and memorial parks managed by The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (GMCT), established in 2010.

GMCT chief executive Jacqui Weatherill said that restoration of the fountain was a priority for the trust.

"It is one of only three similar fountains erected in Victoria by the one manufacturer around the same period, including one at Ararat Town Hall and the other at Hamilton Botanic Gardens. Unfortunately, the Williamstown fountain is decaying, suffering water leakages and missing an upper bowl," she said.

"We were fortunate to receive a grant from the Victorian Government’s Heritage Restoration Fund, which has enabled us to commence work sooner than anticipated next month," she said.

Tony Armstrong, administrator of the fund, said the fountain was one of 38 community owned and publicly managed heritage sites in Victoria that received grants.

"The $50,000 allocated to assist GMCT with rehabilitation of this rare fountain includes masonry and pipework repairs and restoration of external finishes," he said.

"The refurbishment will return the fountain to its original appearance and operation," he said.

Meg Jenkins from the recently formed Friends of Williamstown Cemetery said the restoration of the fountain by GMCT - and supported by Victoria’s Heritage Restoration Fund - was to be applauded.

"The cemetery holds a unique position in the history of Williamstown and the hearts of generations of locals." she said.

View the community update here.

View our fact sheet about the history of Williamstown Cemetery on our new History and Heritage page.