Golden cherub statue on top of cast iron water fountain. Water trickling out of the urn lion themed features on the cast iron fountain.  Street and row houses in the background.
closeup detail of golden cherub statue and water trickling out and urn. Bus sign, street and row houses in the background.
Golden cherub statue on top of cast iron drinking fountain. Pink garden flowers with selective focus on the foreground. Trees in the background.

Gilded cherub graces the first ornamental drinking fountain donated and erected in NSW.

Artist: George Smith & Co Sun Foundry 

Artwork description

The glowing Boy with Paddle Fountain in Strong Memorial Reserve, Paddington is the first ornamental drinking fountain erected in a suburban municipality or town in NSW. It was gifted in 1881 to the public by prominent Paddington resident William Perry.

The gilded cast iron figure of the child sitting atop an urn and holding an oar is an original feature of the fountain gift. The urn rests on a stylised tree stump as well as rushes and lily pads. A cast iron base featuring 4 detailed lions heads was added to the fountain in the late 1960s. The urn and mouth of each lion head is used as a fountain outlet.

Restoration of the fountain was completed in 2022. It included cast iron conservation with a gold leaf finish to the boy figure and associated hydraulic and pond works, and provided an important contribution to the streetscape.

Restoration project team

  • Heritage consultant: Colleen Morris
  • Consultant: OHM Consultants
  • Heritage builder: RJC Group with Art Gilding (gold leaf gilding) and Impact Group (cast iron works)
  • Hydraulic works: Water Features Australia
  • Engineer: Henry and Hymas Consulting Engineers