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Archibald Fountain facts for kids

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Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park, Sydney
Arhibald Fountain Hyde Park Plaque
Commemorative plaque on the northern side of the fountain

The Archibald Fountain, properly called the J. F. Archibald Memorial Fountain is located in Hyde Park, in central Sydney. It is named after J. F. Archibald, owner and editor of The Bulletin magazine, who bequeathed funds to have it built. Archibald specified that it must be designed by a French artist, both because of his great love of French culture and to commemorate the association of Australia and France in World War I. He wished Sydney to aspire to Parisian civic design and ornamentation. The artist chosen was François-Léon Sicard, who completed it in Paris in 1926 but never saw the sculpture be placed in Sydney, where it was unveiled on 14 March 1932 by the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Samuel Walder.

Classical tradition

Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park, Sydney (4623129545)
Theseus and the Minotaur sculptural group (1940s)

Sicard was one of the foremost sculptors of his day, a classically educated artist, whose inspiration was derived, at least in part, from his study of classical Greek and Roman art and literature. In submitting his proposal for the design of the sculptural groups, Sicard wrote: "Apollo represents the Arts (Beauty and Light). Apollo holds out his right arm as a sign of protection, and spreads his benefits over all Nature, whilst he holds the Lyre in his left hand. Apollo is the warmth which vivifies, giving life to all Nature. At the touch of his rays, men awake, trees and fields become green, the animals go out into the fields, and men go to work at dawn.

"The ancient Pliny adored the sun, symbol of Life. It is on this account that I wished this figure to be the chief one in the memorial."

An inscription on the fountain continues: "At Apollo’s feet the Star of Day is indicated by a semi-circle of which the rays spread out in jets of light (the rising sun). The horse’s heads represent the horses of Apollo’s chariot. Out of the nostrils, water falls into the first basin, to fall there into the second and run away into the large basin.

The fountain is electrically illuminated and floodlit at night.


In 2013 the fountain underwent conservation work including "the careful cleaning of all the elements, the waxing of the bronze figures and the repointing of the granite base and surround."

Popular culture

SydneyAMPTowerArchibaldFountain gobeirne
The Fountain, with Sydney Tower in the background

The popularity of the Archibald Fountain has been attributed to "the interplay of water and sculpture, and also little elements that kids like". Over the years it has also been a chosen spot for photos, buskers, political rallies and just as a meeting place. The fountain is in an open space surrounded by formal flower gardens and has park benches provided nearby that make it a popular location for city workers at lunchtime.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Archibald Fountain para niños

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