El Alamein fountain wands return to golden mile
The City of Sydney's restoration of the El Alamein Fountain at Kings Cross is one step closer to completion with the installation of the shiny new wands that make up its famous dandelion shape.
Metalworker Denis Williams, son of Eric Williams who made the original wands for the 1961-built fountain, spent two months meticulously machining the 211 brass and bronze wands and couldn't sleep ahead of their installation on Monday 2 April.
"I was so nervous, but today was a great day, it all came together and it looks superb," Mr Williams said.
"It's a big piece of bling; it's so shiny. But I couldn't sleep because with a thing like this, so many things can go wrong, but none of them did."
Mr Williams was joined by his son, Gavin, 21, and friend Andrew, 24, who helped him screw in the wands to their spherical base from 9am until just after midday.
Wife Janet and daughters Rebecca and Caitlin also went along to show their support.
While the wands now have a shiny golden hue, it won't take long for the oxidation process to change their colour.
The City of Sydney began work on the essential waterproofing and restoration of the Sydney landmark in January, following consultation with the family of the fountain's architect, Robert Woodward, who died in 2010.
The heritage-listed fountain commemorates the Battles of El Alamein in Egypt during World War II: "the turning point to victory", according to a speech Mr Woodward wrote in 2007.
The creation of the fountain was life-changing for Mr Woodward who wrote that the publicity following its completion in 1961, allowed him to attract "enough commissions for me to...become completely immersed in my new-found speciality.
"It parachuted me into a life-long career turning water into art," Mr Woodward wrote.
"Can there be a greater medium than water?"
The final restoration and maintenance works, including waterproofing and restoration of the "weirs" that control the water flow in the pond section of the fountain, are expected to take several months to complete.
Expert stonemasons from HBS Group are also restoring the red stone surrounding the fountain, while RU Tiling are meticulously replacing thousands of mosaic tiles that are missing, damaged or the wrong colour.
The work is expected to be completed by late 2012.
5 April 2012.