An inscription is all that identifies an ornately carved water fountain as a war memorial, standing in a traffic island at a five-way intersection in the outback town centre of Cunnamulla.
Paroo Shire decided on a war memorial fountain in 1920. The process of selecting and installing a monument took some time. Despite the submission of memorial designs from AL Petrie and sons in Brisbane, the council and the Diggers Racing Club collaborated on the purchase of a stock item, and had it railed to Cunnamulla – an identical fountain can be found in NSW. It was installed prior to the Armistice Day race carnival in 1926 and unveiled on ANZAC Day 1927.
Fountains were an unusual choice in Queensland. It’s thought that the symbology of water, a scarce commodity in outback Queensland, may have been considered a suitable ‘sacrifice’.
The centerpiece comprises four basins decreasing in scale as they peak. Gargoyles’ heads, winged griffins holding shields bearing emus and kangaroos, leaf-like motifs and scrollwork add to the elaborate classic design. The figure of a little boy stands at the very top.
The fountain doesn’t bear names of the fallen: they’re found on an honor board in the Civic Centre.