UQ's missing main fountain at the St Lucia Campus is set to make a return.
UQ's missing main fountain at the St Lucia Campus is set to make a return.
4 October 2012

One of The University of Queensland’s best-known landmarks — the fountain in the main lake at its St Lucia campus — has been retired after 43 years faithful service.

However, the Victor and Evelyn Lewis Fountain is only temporarily out of commission, and a new, visually identical structure will splash into life in the next few weeks.

The Director of UQs Property and Facilities Division, Mr Alan Egan, said after such a long time, the fountain’s fibre glass structure had begun to fail so a decision was made to replace it with a stainless steel replica.

The fountain commemorates benefactors Victor and Eveylyn Lewis, who started the old Black and White bus services between Brisbane and Sandgate, and Brisbane and Manly.

Then University Architect Kelvin Crump designed the original fountain, and its technical details relied on the work of UQ hydraulics engineer Professor Gordon McKay.

Staff in the Hydraulics Workshop of the Mechanical Engineering Department built the original structure.

According to the 1982 UQ Press book Impressions of the University of Queensland (1982) by Christopher McVinish and Susan Pechey, the fountain “was intended to reproduce the pleasing pattern of old jetty pylons with random height tubes made of fibre glass with copper covering.

“Designed to be visually interesting, even when not activated, with the vertical plane designed to fill the space between the lake surface and the skyline: the horizontal body added by water fanning out, parallel to the surface.”

R & L Metals of Capalaba won the tender for the new fountain.

After removing the old fountain from the lake, the company has been working on the manufacture of the replica fountain for about three months.

Contractors Industrial Divers were involved with the removal and will now use a crane to reposition the new Fountain over the next two weeks.

“Students, staff and members of the public enjoy the Lakes Precinct at UQ and many people over the years have sketched or photographed the fountain, the lakes and the wildlife in the area,” Mr Egan said.

“People love the calming influence of the fountain and it also plays an important role in aerating the lake.”

Mr Egan said the fountain and lake fed by stormwater were key elements of the University’s Lakes Precinct, which also includes two lakes containing recycled water, used to water grounds.

Property and Facilities Division’s specialist gardeners had the responsibility of taking care of the flora and fauna in the Lakes Precinct and monthly wildlife audits were undertaken.

Property and Facilities’ Grounds section has also been operating with a Landscape Management Plan since 2005 to develop the Lakes Precinct to improve water quality, attract native flora and fauna, link the three lakes into a cohesive ecological system, enhance the aesthetic values of the lakes, and promote the use of the lakes and surrounds as a recreational, education and ecological resource.

In January 2009 the St Lucia campus became a member of the Wildlife Conservation Partnerships Program - Land for Wildlife.

The three areas that have been registered are the Lakes Precinct, the riverbank (along John Oxley walk) and the Alumni Teaching Gardens.

Media: Jan King 0413 601 248