Thursday, March 12, 2009

Snowden Gardens

Once upon a time on the south bank of the Yarra River was a lovely little park known as Snowden Gardens. I believe it was named after a Melbourne mayor. Now the area is all concrete and is where Melbourne's Hamer Hall is located, a fine music concert hall .

Please, please give us luscious green grass. No more concrete.

While it was a late addition, within the park was a fountain. I have heard that it was called the Wind Fountain, but I cannot confirm. It was designed by the famous Melbourne architect Robin Boyd of the even more famous Boyd family.

I can very vaguely recall seeing the fountain in situ, as can R. Ann tells me it was a favourite target of uni students to add some soap to, making it froth and foam. Ann also thought that it had been moved. It would seem it was, to storage, but met a sad end. While it is not my sort of fountain, I am not sure that a famous architect's work should have been treated so carelessly.

From a list of Robin Boyd's work.
99. Project: Snowden Gardens (Southgate) Foutain
Architect: R. Boyd Location: Yarra Bank, Melbourne Designed: 1957 - completed 1960 Condition: Demolished

An anecdote from someone on the internet: I once heard that it is was damaged beyond repair while in storage and then later dumped.

20 comments:

  1. Andrew, I agree that lush green grass and fountains are very attractive and pleasant, but how would you propose to maintain them in our current climate? Birrarung Marr looks pretty bleak these days!

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  2. *sigh* How very refreshing!

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  3. Altissima, with recycled water. Way too little has been done much too late. You can pretty well conclude that water into a household equals water out, or that used on gardens maintains the water table.

    Maybe not a true colour Jayne, but nice all the same.

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  4. if the carwash can filter and recycle that water, then a fountain could also.

    I also suspect some kind of cover-up. Where's the National Trust when we need them!
    Excellent work with the photos there, dear HighRiser.

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  5. On this Melbourne website Skyscraper City a poster named Redbaron 12 says he recalls it being reconstructed on the opposite side of St.Kilda road.

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  6. great pictures thank you for sharing

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  7. Less rain = more concrete in the eyes of our planners. Time they were axed.

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  8. Course they could Ann. I know Skyscraper but haven't been there for a while. I will check later.

    Pleasure Andrew.

    That concerns me muchly Reuben, that is so much of the surface is being covered, that all we get is run off.

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  9. Now I remember the fountain and it was a pest if the wind was blowing in your direction but it was very calming to watch.

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  10. Jahteh, as is the one in Southbank Blvd at the Gallery on a windy day.

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  11. Fascinating Andrew. Thank you, it's really wonderful to know what was there before. Shame the fountain got a raw deal. I know what you mean about runoff. There was a torrent flowing down the drains today. It is ridiculous. More green space would really help reduce the overall problem.

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  12. Thanks LiD. I am awaiting copyright complaints as I type.

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  13. Anonymous10:08 pm

    My father worked at the Aust Paper Mills nearby and I used to wait by the fountain to travel with him home from work. Thanks for the memory of a lovely park and great times with a terrific dad.

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  14. Way cool Anon. None of that sort of APM industry at South Bank now, well South Melbourne back then. Did the fountain look a bit modern but nothing special really?

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  15. Anonymous7:17 pm

    You are quite right - it did look modern but nothing special. I think the spray of water, though was spectacular. I have a vague memory of knowing that Robin Boyd designed it - as I aspired to be part of the intellegensia - but really I was the daughter of migrants who came to Aust in 1950 with nothing except their hopes for a better future. Just acquired a couple of books re Sth Melb and APM history to help with research on places my family has been. The park area, fountain and river contrasted starkly with the industrial activity of the area.

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  16. Anon, it did look a pretty good display of water spraying in the photos. Are you Sydney Anon btw? To your APM knowledge, no of little use, but when I was a kid the local footy team used to play at Maryvale, and the stench from the APM factory was awful. Why was making paper so smelly? I can't even remember where Maryvale was now. Just out of Morwell maybe?

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  17. I would like to find out for sure if in some dark warehouse somewhere in melboune Robin Boyd's Southgate Fountain is sitting waiting yo be found I would love to see it find a new home , does anyone know anything?

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  18. Michael, I have a vague recollection that it was broken up. I have just checked and there is quite a bit about the fountain at walkingmelbourne.com so I guess that is where I read something about it. Go to the forum and search button and just type in snowden.

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  19. What a wonderful Modernist water feature, I wonder if it was crushed and used as the concrete that forms the walkways today, or if it was moved somewhere?

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    1. It was wonderful Thomas and a pity it was gotten rid of. I don't think there was much in the way of recycling concrete back then.

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