Fountain restoration underway

Hitchcock fountain. (Supplied)

Restoration is underway on the 116-year-old Hitchcock fountain in the Geelong Botanic Gardens.

Donated by Geelong businessman and councillor George Michelmore Hitchcock, the fountain was erected in Market Square in 1904.

The fountain was relocated to the gardens in 1912 when the Solomon Building was constructed on the western side of the square.

Sculpted by German-Australian artist Otto Waschatz, the fountain features three detailed dragonfish, whose red tongues and gold paint have been uncovered during the restoration process.

A plaque displaying Hitchcock’s name and the year 1904 was also exposed from underneath the footpath that surrounds the fountain today.

Council’s works chair, councillor Anthony Aitken said the Hitchcock fountain was a significant piece of Geelong’s history.

“It’s amazing to see how many historic gems we’ve already found on the fountain; it shows how valuable it is to restore these pieces,” Cr Aitken said.

“By bringing the fountain back to its former glory, it will make a fantastic feature in the centre of the gardens.”

The Friends of the Geelong Botanic Gardens are funding the restoration project, donating $23,000 from their gift fund.

Friends president Allison Martland said fund allowed the group to support the gardens in practical ways.

The restoration process includes cleaning, pressure washing, painting, and adding gold paint to the dragonfish to match the original design, along heritage guidelines.

The fountain pond will be repainted to match the fountain’s colour and the pathway will be rearranged and resurfaced to match the height of the fountain.

The Queen Victoria statue at Eastern Park and the Traill Fountain in the gardens were relocated from central Geelong at the same time as the fountain.

The restoration project is due for completion this month, depending on weather.

The fountain has been restored several times, with the most significant works being carried out in 1984 and 2001.

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