One of Sydney’s most loved icons is the El Alamein Fountain, located in Fitzroy Garden, Kings Cross. It has received local and international success, winning numerous awards and replications around the world. While to the unaware, the fountain may seem like a simple dandelion, it was constructed as a war memorial for the Australian Imperial Forces, Ninth Division, stationed in El Alamein, Turkey in 1942.
El Alamein Fountain signifies the victory of the Australian soldiers, ending an almost two year struggle in North Africa. After the third battle in El Alamein had taken place, November 1942 came to represent a turning point for the war.
The fountain is symbolic of the soldiers win – enabling the war, or the pendulum, to swing in favour of the Allies.
Sydney City Council held a fountain design competition in 1959 for the park with Robert Woodward’s dandelion-looking fountain the winning design. It was opened two years later on 18 November 1961, by then Lord Mayor Harry Jensen. Woodward was a World War II veteran himself, and was influenced with his design by Scandinavian Modernism.
While it may not appear so, the dandelion-looking fountain has many complex factors to its structure. The exterior-frame contains 211 stalks radially dispersed, with the interior full of spillway dentils and pools, evoking a series of teeth. The water jets have been intricately designed, running between spillways ever so smoothly, without disrupting the stillness of the next spillway.
Last year, the City of Sydney carried out work to carefully restore the fountain to its original condition.
* Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.