Ararat Rural City seeking state or federal government grants to repair the Ararat Boer War Memorial Fountain

ARARAT Rural City Council will seek government grants to repair the Ararat Boer War Memorial Fountain.

Cr Gwenda Allgood said it was a “shame that the council was doing such a great job with the arts precinct”, between Barkly and High Street – but had “done nothing” to restore the “iconic fountain”.

“When you come around the front and look at that fountain, it’s just such a shame to see the fountain crumbling away,” she said.

Cr Glenda McLean said it was “embarrassing” the state government had provided millions of dollars for the arts precinct but the council couldn’t find $150,000 for the fountain.

“I think we can do this,” she said.

Councillors were originally recommended to vote on Tuesday night that a Ararat Boer War Memorial Fountain Report be received.

“The Ararat Boer War Memorial fountain is located in front of the historic Ararat Town Hall, and is a focal point for the Heritage Victoria listed precinct,” the report stated. “The repair and refurbishment of the Historic fountain to make it operational has been identified by council on a number of occasions including the current council resolution.”

Councillors voted in May: “That council spend $150,000 out of any funds that end up being surplus at the end of 2016-17 financial year to refurbish the historic fountain outside the Performing Arts Centre in 2017.”

In the days prior to that vote, former mayor Pat McAloon called for the fountain’s restoration to be included in the arts precinct project.

Cr Allgood successfully moved an amendment that Ararat Rural City seek external grants.

Cr McLean said it should be within the council’s capacity to find $150,000 for a restoration and that the council plan called for an immediate start to preparing for a restoration.

The Victorian Heritage Database records that the Barkly Street fountain was installed in 1905, originally to mark Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee.

A Statement of Significance says Ararat councillor R. Hargreaves suggested the fountain also commemorate Ararat's volunteers, “who sleep in the war-scarred veldts of South Africa”.

This story Council’s quest to restore memorial first appeared on The Wimmera Mail-Times.