Bondi View

Kings Cross landmarks on the recovery

The restoration of Fitzroy Gardens and El Alamein Fountain in Kings Cross is finally underway. With the initial plans dating back to 2007, local residents say they are pleased to hear that the heritage-listed
landmarks are finally being repaired.

President of the 2011 Residents Association of Kings Cross, Lucas Crabtree, said Council’s decision to refurbish the sites is now widely
accepted. He said: “In general there is support for the refurbishment of the fountain; it’s a very important part of our heritage. We just want to be sure that the refurbishments are consistent with
the original design.”

Council had initially wanted to revamp the site, causing unrest across the local community. A spokesperson for City of Sydney said the renovations are now strictly for maintenance. The spokesperson said: “It was decided that the best way forward was to preserve the park; to keep it just the way it is with only some vital heritage and maintenance work undertaken. The restoration of the fountain has been in accordance with the wishes of its architect Robert Woodward, and since his death … the City of Sydney has worked on the project with
his family.”

The restorations to the El Alamein fountain include the replacement of 211 brass and bronze wands; waterproofing and maintenance works to
the tanks, pumps and filtration systems; and the replacement of damaged mosaic tiles.

President of the Potts Point and Kings Cross Heritage Conservation Society, Andrew Woodhouse said the damages to the Fountain were mainly caused by public disturbances. He said: “Its water stems were badly clogged after years of ‘bubble-bath’ antics by drunken Kings Cross revelers. We requested a complete restoration. There are no changes to the original design or its context. All that is significant is being put back or carefully conserved.”

Fitzroy Gardens is currently having its pavers replaced, over 800 sub-tropical shrubs planted in new garden beds, with new handrails and
spotlights installed. The spokesperson said the idea is to reduce trip hazards, improve accessibility and enhance the visual attractiveness of the park.

The El Alamein Fountain commemorates the battles of El Alamein in Egypt during World War II. Mr Woodhouse explained: “It is a poignant war memorial representing the history of those who died in battles to protect us of a rising tyranny.”

The Fitzroy Gardens, named after NSW Governor Sir Charles Fitzroy (1846-1855) had its current layout built in 1969. A Council spokesperson said: “Fitzroy Gardens is an important green pocket
within Kings Cross. The playground is also an important place for the many parents and children living in Potts Point, Kings Cross and Elizabeth Bay.”