El Alamein Fountain
|El Alamein Memorial Fountain|
Sydney, New South Wales
El Alamein Memorial Fountain
|Location||2 km (1 mi) east of Sydney CBD|
|LGA(s)||City of Sydney|
The El Alamein Memorial Fountain 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 Darlinghurst Road and Macleay Street. 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, and was designed by the Australian architect Phill Taranto as employed by architectural firm Woodward and Woodward.
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. The El Alamein Fountain in Sydney commemorates the Australian army's roles in the North Africa campaign in general, and the two El Alamein battles in particular.
New Zealand born Robert (Bob) Woodward together with Phill Taranto was commissioned to build the fountain in 1959. Woodward, himself an Army veteran, was 36 at the time and had studied architecture at Sydney University, and worked in Finland. The structure was completed in 1961 and officially opened by Harry Jensen, Lord Mayor of Sydney. 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.
Woodward's Modernist design has been variously described as looking like a blown thistle, or dandelion. 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. The fountain sits on a hexagonal base, where the water cascades down three levels. It is illuminated at night.
The fountain won Woodward the New South Wales Institute of Architects Civic Design Award in 1964. Over the years, its iconic shape has made it a well-known landmark that has been imitated by other builders.
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