Royal Exhibition Building | Fountain Restoration
New funding will see the Royal Exhibition Building's French Fountain restored to its former glory.
The beautiful French Fountain is a significant part of the Carlton Gardens precinct and a pleasant feature for passers-by on Nicholson Street, but it is now showing the impact of time.
The Hon Heidi Victoria, Minister for the Arts recently visited the Royal Exhibition Building and announced funding to help restore the fountain.
'2014 is a significant year for the Royal Exhibition Building as it marks the tenth anniversary of the building becoming the first in Australia to be awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO.
'It is one of our great treasures and a site imbued with the history of our state. This funding from the Government's Arts and Cultural Facilities Maintenance Fund is part of our commitment to protecting our important cultural assets and will allow Museum Victoria to return the fountain to its former glory.'
The fountain stands near to two others designed for the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition by German migrant Joseph Hochgurtel, including the larger Hochgurtel Fountain on the southern side of the Royal Exhibition Building. Although the fountains are loved by many today and are frequently used in tourism and wedding photography, they, like the Building's grand organ, initially drew criticism from media outlets.
'Both the Argus and Bulletin were critical of the designs of the fountains, saying they were 'unnecessary' and 'not a success',' said Dr Patrick Greene, CEO, Museum Victoria. 'However the fountains are now seen as a beautiful feature of Carlton Gardens.'
Standing alongside the Royal Exhibition Building, the fountain has witnessed many significant events in Victorian and Australian history, seeing the Building as a hospital for victims of the Spanish Flu, a venue for the 1956 Summer Olympics, a university exam hall and even home to an aquarium. It came close to demolition in the 1940s to make way for office buildings, but was saved by a narrow vote in the Melbourne City Council. In 1984 it was given royal patronage by Princess Alexandra, and in 2004 was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO.
The Fountain is one of a number of maintenance projects across Museum Victoria's sites supported through the Arts and Cultural Facilities Maintenance Fund this year, with funding totalling $938,000. This will also deliver maintenance works on the heritage listed Pumping Station at Scienceworks and Melbourne Museum's Forest Gallery.
❊Venue | Location ❊
Royal Exhibition Building [show]
⊜ 9 Nicholson Street Carlton | Map
✆ 13 11 02 | +61 3 9270 5000
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