El Alamein Fountain

El Alamein Memorial Fountain
Sydney, New South Wales

El Alamein Memorial Fountain
El Alamein Memorial Fountain
Coordinates 33°52′22″S 151°13′30″E / 33.872883°S 151.225060°E / -33.872883; 151.225060Coordinates: 33°52′22″S 151°13′30″E / 33.872883°S 151.225060°E / -33.872883; 151.225060
Location 2 km (1 mi) east of Sydney CBD
LGA(s) City of Sydney
Night photo of El Alamein Memorial Fountain

The El Alamein Memorial Fountain[1] is a fountain and war memorial in the city of Sydney, Australia. It is located in the Kings Cross area, at the entrance to the Fitzroy Gardens on the corner of Darlingurst Road and Macleay Street.[2] The El Alamein Fountain was commissioned as a memorial to soldiers who died in 1942 during World War II in two battles at El Alamein, Egypt,[3] and was designed by the Australian architect Phill Taranto as employed by architectural firm Woodward and Woodward.[4][5][6]

War memorial

The Australian 9th Division fought in both the first (July 1942) and second (November 1942) battles of El Alamein during World War II. Both were important for the course of the war. They halted the advance of Axis forces into Egypt and routed them, and are considered a turning point in the Western Desert Campaign.[7] The El Alamein Fountain in Sydney commemorates the Australian army's roles in the North Africa campaign in general,[2][3] and the two El Alamein battles in particular.[8][9]

The designer

New Zealand born Robert (Bob) Woodward together with Phill Taranto was commissioned to build the fountain[2][4][5][7][9] in 1959.[10] Woodward, himself an Army veteran,[11] was 36 at the time[11] and had studied architecture at Sydney University, and worked in Finland.[11] The structure was completed in 1961[2][3][4][7][8] and officially opened by Harry Jensen, Lord Mayor of Sydney.[12] The fountain made such a name for Woodward and the firm that he went on to design many others, and his fountains are his best-known works.[4][10][13][14][15][16]

The design

Woodward's Modernist design[4][15][16][17] has been variously described as looking like a blown thistle,[18] or dandelion.[4][5][7][9][10] The sculpture is made of bronze with brass pipes. The small-nozzled spray heads make the sphere-shaped spray very fine, and sensitive to air movement.[5] The fountain sits on a hexagonal base, where the water cascades down three levels.[10] It is illuminated at night.[7]

Cultural impact

The fountain won Woodward the New South Wales Institute of Architects Civic Design Award in 1964.[10] Over the years, its iconic shape has made it a well-known landmark[2][7][18] that has been imitated by other builders.[2][10]

As the focal point of the Kings Cross area, the fountain often serves as a meeting place.[2][9]

Similar fountains

Comparable fountain in Szczytna, Poland (2014)

A similar fountain can be found in Szczytna, in south-western Poland.

See also


  1. Howlin, Jan (November 2006). "Luminary: Phill Taranto". indesign. 27. Indesign Publishing. p. 126. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Within Cooee: Sydney. Accessed July 2008
  3. 1 2 3 City of Sydney official website. Accessed July 2008
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 The Architecture of East Australia by Bill MacMahon. Axel Menges, 2001. ISBN 3-930698-90-0. Google Books copy accessed July 2008
  5. 1 2 3 4 Neville Crocker Australia Pty Ltd NCA Technical Data Sheet Sphere Fountain (PDF). Accessed July 2008
  6. Dreiseitl, Herbert; Dieter Grau; Karl H.C. Ludwig (1 April 2001). Waterscapes: Planning, Building and Designing with Water. Basel, Switzerland: Birkhäuser Basel. p. 174. ISBN 3-7643-6410-6.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 DK publishers: dktravel. Accessed July 2008
  8. 1 2 Sydney Landmarks and Districts. Accessed July 2008
  9. 1 2 3 4 Condé Nast Traveller: Sydney Guide. Accessed July 2008
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 The Twentieth Century Heritage Society of NSW: Heritage Walks. Elizabeth Bay and Potts Point (brochure) (PDF) Accessed July 2008
  11. 1 2 3 Robert Woodward interview, 22 March 1972. National Library of Australia Catalogue. Accessed July 2008
  12. National Library of Australia: Picture Australia. Accessed July 2008
  13. Architecture Australia, January/February 1999. Headlines. Accessed July 2008
  14. The Courier Mail: Vow to save QPAC fountain. By Amanda Horswill, 26 March 2007 12:00 am. Accessed July 2008.
  15. 1 2 Powerhouse Museum: modernist exhibit August 2008. Accessed July 2008
  16. 1 2 Sydney Design '08. Accessed July 2008
  17. Modern Times: Untold Story Of Modernism In Australia. Huliq News. Accessed July 2008
  18. 1 2 Lonely Planet: Sydney, Australia. Accessed July 2008

External links

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