It was a drizzly rainy day in the park at the launch of the the Celebrate Vahland Heritige tours and the Vahland Fountain restoration project by the Bendigo Council and the National Trust on Monday 4th May.
I was Greeted by Cr Helen Leach Cr Rod Fyfe and Peter Cox . the opening introduction by Dr Graham Blackman the Chairman of The National Trust Victoria shared that the Princess Theater, the Alexandra Fountain Churches in Forrest Street commercial and private homes totaling more than 100 in all within the Greater Bendigo area were Designed by William Charles Vahland. He was a German man that arrived in Sandhurst,- As Bendigo was then known- from Hannover in 1854. A young man of 26 Vahland had no luck fossiking for gold but soon put his architectural training into practice and opened his first business in Sandhurst.
Vahland Fountain Restoration
Vahland became a leading figure in Bendigo society and was a visionary who has left a lasting impression on modern day Bendigo . How to restore a Vahland design public drinking fountain made out of Granite and standing 29 feet tall with 3 gas lights and water flowing our of 3 lions mouths to water-people, horses and dogs is now the focus of the “Restore Vahland Restoration project”. The fountain currently sits and the Bendigo City Council depot.
When the Chairman of the Bendigo Bank “Robert Johansen” spoke of William Charles Vahland as an architect and builder who became the Founding shareholder of the Bendigo Building Society to later become the Bendigo Bank- He shared how Vahland designed the first house and land packages by buying land creating small dwellings and then financing them to miners moving from tents to more permanent accommodation in Bendigo.
While William Charles Vahland was a British Citizen living in Bendigo in in the war time in 1915 he had to surrender his passport and report weekly to Police.
The National Trust has established a tax deductible fund for the restoration project of the “Vahland Drinking Fountain” being the 3rd of the 3 fountains he designed. The other 2 being the Alexander Fountain at the corner of Mitchel Street Bendigo and Pall Mall and View Street and Charing Cross. There is also the Fountain in Roslyn Park and this one is to be sited on the Corner of Bull street and Pall Mall when restored.
By Helen Geri