Whilst Darebin council was performing some undergrowth management on High St in Westgarth this structure emerged during the late 1990s. It is located on the west side of High St on the median strip between Walker & Cunningham Sts. It is made of bluestone boulders and earthenware drainage pipes and bonded with mortar. It is about 1800cm at the base tapering to around 1100cm width at the top and 1400cm high. It appears that there may have been a small set of smallish boulders around the base. Recently a small Budha statue has been placed within the central cavity. This section which may (or not) have been the location of a fountain. There is a hole lower down but this appears to be where a stone has come away. On the top decorative heads have been placed atop the pipes. This could be seen as reminiscent of Victorian house decorations which have similar heads on the dividing walls facing the street.
Questions have been raised as to when and for whom this was erected? Unfortunately no plaques are on it – or have been removed. So until more substantial evidence comes to light most thought are supposition. The heads atop seem to add a 'kitchiness' to the structure.
After looking at a number of historic images of the western side of High St this structure does not appear in any images up to the 1940s. Similarly there is nil documentation in any literature relating to the area. However a thorough search of the Leader newspapers has not been done. There are few photographs of the 1950s and 1960s of this area.
[Detail of south facing side with head on pipe.]
It appears to be either commemorative, an art / sculpture work or of course just a folly. Whilst of unknown date it appears to be post world war two. Because of its rather amateurish design and construction it is more than likely dating from 1960s or 1970s. Further to this argument is the contents which more than likely are to have come from someone’s backyard!
17 March 2007
Since this has been written a document has come to light. A landsale advertising the 'Mount View' estate "with frontages to Wakanu, Omaru and Hakatere Sts". Judging by the austerity houses it suggests just post WWII around mid to later 1940s. Included in the promotional literature is a picture of north-western entrance to Johnson Park. The 'folly' can be seen almost diretly opposite the seated man. Whilst the picture is not clear, there does appear to be a drinking fountain within the alcove. It also seems to be taller.
Of course this only addes further queries. Does it commemorate anything or any person? Perhaps it was just relevant to the garden it was part of? When was it moved to its current position in High St?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org This page was updated 19 March 2007