Wednesday 4 June 2014

The Anderson Fountain, Parramatta - A Surgeon's Gift

The Anderson Fountain, photo Peter Arfanis

Many who have seen the Anderson Fountain, located at the north west corner of Prince Alfred Park, could be forgiven for thinking the fountain was constructed on that spot in 1882. In fact the Anderson Fountain was originally located on the site of Centennial Fountain in Parramatta Mall, near the old Town Hall.

The Anderson Fountain was named after Dr Matthew Anderson, a surgeon, who arrived in Parramatta from the United Kingdom in 1827 to take up the post of Colonial Government Surgeon. He remained in Parramatta from the age of 38 until his death in 1850, aged 62. He was considered a dedicated, educated and sociable man, a lover of art, in possession of a considerable and valuable art collection. He was a tireless campaigner on a number of issues including public access to fresh and continuous water supply and drinking fountains.1

Anderson Fountain, Prince Alfred Park, Parramatta
The Anderson Fountain, 1940s. 
Dr Anderson died 7 July 1850, bequeathing £200 for the construction of a drinking fountains on the south side of the Parramatta River.2 The original site selected for this fountain was in front of St John’s Church.2

The Fountain was presented to the town by the trustee, T. Pye, in February 1882. It took over thirty years for the bequest for this fountain to become a reality. Orange trees were grown around the fountain, most probably courtesy of Mr Pye owner of reputable orchards in the area.4  By 1884, 11 fountains had been erected from the Lennox Bridge to Western Road (Great Western Highway).5

The Fountain's existence near the Town Hall was short lived when in 1888 Council decided to move the Anderson Fountain to Prince Alfred Park to make way for a far more elaborate drinking fountain to mark Parramatta’s Centenary.


Peter Arfanis, Archivist, Parramatta City Council, Heritage Centre. 2014

1.The Colonials. A Colonial Cultural Medico. Parramatta and Hills News, 22 June 1967. P.4.
2. Cuntry News. Parramatta. (1862, July 24). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 2.from
3. MEMS. (1886, May 6). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. from
4. Parramatta. (1850, July 16). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2.  from
5. Hanson, W. Historical Memorials. Parramatta and District Historical Society, Journal and Proceedings. v4, 1935.

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