• Date: 01/06/2017
  • Cemetery: Williamstown Cemetery

A community celebration with costumed historic characters, a town crier and old-fashioned games was recently held to mark the christening of the restored historic fountain at Williamstown Cemetery.

The Williamstown High School brass band played a fanfare as the fountain was officially switched on by Wade Noonan - Member for Williamstown, Minister for Industry and Employment and Minister for Resources.

GMCT trust chair Geoff Mabbett proudly welcomed special guests including councillors from the City of Hobsons Bay, Jonathon Marsden and Angela Altair and members of the trust. During his speech he acknowledged the contribution of fellow trust member and historian Dr Jan Penney, who spent countless hours researching the fountain and the people involved in its creation.

From left: Jonathon Marsden, Wade Noonan, GMCT CEO Jacqui Weatherill, Angela Altair, GMCT trust chair Geoff Mabbett and our town crier.

On the day we were also joined by members of the community, students from Williamstown High School, children from Newport Gardens Early Years Centre, volunteers who support GMCT, Friends of Williamstown Cemetery, and representatives from organisations who helped restore the fountain.

“Our presence here today recognises a significant occasion in the history of the cemetery. And of course, anyone who knows the history of this cemetery…will understand what an important part it plays in Williamstown’s history, and in the history of the area overall,” Minister Noonan said.  

Williamstown Cemetery, opened in 1858, is one of the oldest cemeteries in Victoria.

The fountain, built in 1892, was commissioned by John Joseph White, a local mariner who built ships and operated a trading business.

The fountain was a tribute to his wife Agnes, who passed away in 1889. John and Agnes are now buried together at Williamstown Cemetery.

“John never forgot or stopped loving Agnes, frequently visiting her grave, and eventually deciding to commission this fountain in her memory,” Minister Noonan said.

 “[This fountain is] a statement to love, it’s a statement to our great community history here in Williamstown, and with many things not right today in the world around us, I think many of you will agree that what’s happened here – the construction of this fountain and its restoration – is something that is very right, and something that we can all rejoice in.

“I want to thank The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust for their vision, for their willingness to put this project on the agenda, also with the assistance of the Victorian Heritage Fund, to help restore a fountain like this.

“I can’t imagine the blood, sweat and tears, and the attention to detail needed to go into restoring such a beautiful piece of Williamstown’s history.”

Victoria’s Heritage Restoration Fund contributed $50,000 towards the works on the Wardrop and Scully fountain, which commenced in mid-2016. GMCT gratefully acknowledges their generous support in helping fund this project.


Slide below to see the how the fountain has changed over time:


Find out more

Colouring competition

To celebrate the christening of the restored Williamstown Cemetery fountain, GMCT is running a colouring competition for children under 12 years of age.

All entries go into a draw, and the winning entry will be randomly drawn on the competition closing date - Friday 16 June 2017. Winners will be announced following the draw on the GMCT website and the GMCT Facebook page. The prize is a $50 Toys R Us voucher. The winner is welcome to collect their prize in person at Fawkner Memorial Park and have their photo taken for our newsletter, or we will post the voucher.

Download and print the colouring sheet here.

Please ensure you print both pages and that your entry is accompanied by the form. Full competition terms and conditions are available at the link above.

Entries can be submitted by post and addressed to "The Williamstown Fountain colouring competition", PO Box 42, Fawkner VIC 3060 and also email by either scanning in the picture or by taking a picture with a smartphone and emailing it to corpcomms@gmct.com.au. Entries submitted by email must include the entrant’s name and age, and the mailing address and telephone number of the entrant’s parent or carer in the body of the email. Entries must be received by Friday 16 June 2017. Entries will be published on our Facebook page (first name and age only), unless parents request the entry is not published.