The glowing Boy with Paddle Fountain in Strong Memorial Reserve, Paddington is the first ornamental drinking fountain erected in a suburban municipality or town in NSW. It was gifted in 1881 to the community by prominent Paddington resident William Perry.
The cast iron figure of the child sitting atop an urn and holding an oar is an original feature of the fountain gift. The urn rests on a stylised tree stump in addition to rushes and lily pads. The cast iron base featuring 4 detailed lions heads was added to the fountain in the late 1960s. The urn and mouth of each lion head is used as a fountain outlet.
The cast iron figure is from Glasgow-based foundry the George Smith & Co Sun Foundry (1858–1899) and shows the artistic skill of 19th century Scottish foundry work. The figure is illustrated in a Sun Foundry trade catalogue as ‘Pattern 8: Boy with Paddle and Urn’, which gives the fountain its name.
The Perry gift
The fountain has special association with its donor William Perry (c.1803–1882), a prominent Paddington solicitor, who was instrumental in forming the Paddington Municipality and a founder and first secretary of the Australian Mutual Provident Society.
The gift exemplifies the endeavours of 19th century community-minded individuals to provide clean drinking water and an ornament to the community.
Conservation works to the fountain were guided by significant heritage research and expertise and completed in July 2022. The choice of colour scheme and materials reflect the history of the fountain. Heritage works included cast iron preservation with a gold leaf finish to the boy figure, improving the fountain’s hydraulic system and new pond tiles.