In 1857 Sydney acquired a small number of these ornate cast iron drinking fountains from Macfarlane & Co, a prominent Scottish iron foundry.
This fountain was intended to commemorate the earlier hand water pumps along Busby’s Bore which ran directly beneath the current Oxford Square site and was the second water supply built by convict labour in Sydney in 1837. The Tank Stream was the first. The earlier hand pumps were used to fill water carts which then distributed water to individual residents.
On the face of the fountain (which lacks its original water faucet), is the narration “Keep the Pavement Dry” – an admonition for sloppy drinkers. On the other side the drinker is reminded that “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” (a quote from Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John – Chap 3, verses 13-14).
Another one of these fountains, again without it original water faucet, can be seen at Macquarie Place, a short distance from Circular Quay. Do pardon the similarity between the two reviews.
Address: Oxford Square, 4100 Riley Street
Directions: Along Oxford Street