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Photographs supplied by Bryan Cole / Father Ted Doncaster

A fountain erected by public subscription commemorates a fireman, J. A. H. Gardner who lost his life on Christmas Eve in 1886 in a fire in the R.C. Castle and Co’s three-storey drapery store in Rundle Street, Adelaide.

Shop assistants and customers were herded out of the back door as window displays exploded into flames. The wall of fire could be seen as far away as the parklands. The fire brigade had not been notified of the fire and their delayed arrival was greeted with jeers from the crowd. The fire had by then spread to the adjacent Academy of Music and a fancy goods store.

Sheering, the Deputy Superintendent, called Albert Clark and John Gardner to follow him in an attempt to save the fancy goods store building. The roof fell in on Gardner and Clark but knocked Sheering out onto the footpath. Water was poured on Clark and he was taken to the Globe Hotel where he recovered enough to walk. However he later died at the Adelaide Hospital. Gardner was buried alive and killed by the falling roof.

At noon on Monday, October 10, the fountain erected on the City Bridge-road near the Rotunda, in memory of Fireman John A. H. Gardner, who along with Fireman Clark was killed at the fire in Rundle-street on Christmas Eve last, was formally handed over by the Memorial Committee to the Mayor as representing the citizens of Adelaide.

The fountain, which with the fixtures has cost about £100, is of chaste Gothic design, and is situated, within the Rotunda enclosure in close proximity to the footpath. It is of white Kapunda marble, and stands 9 ft. 8 in. high, and is about 4 feet square. The bases are of West Island granite, and over the stand, on which are the four taps and basin, is a canopy supported on four columns of Kapunda blue marble. The canopy, which was hewn out of one block of white marble weighing 3½ tons, is ornamented underneath, and on each side there is a representation of an olive wreath, enclosing a shield bearing the in scription, 'Fireman Gardner's Memorial, 1887.'

The whole of the work was designed and executed by Mr. F. Herring, of West Terrace. Mr. Harrison provided the necessary pipes and connection with the water main at his own expense.
South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA), 10 October 1887.


Address:King William Road, Elder Park, Adelaide, 5000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.917961
Long: 138.598375
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Fountain
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event STart Date:24-December-1886
Actual Event End Date:24-December-1886
Monument Designer:Mr.F. Herring (Adelaide)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 10th October, 1887
Front Inscription

Fireman Gardner`s Memorial

Plaque :

This drinking fountain commemorates the heroism of Fireman John Gardner who died whilst fighting a fire of large dimensions in Rundle Street near James Place, on Christmas Eve 1886

Erected by public subscription 1887

Source: MA,NRUM
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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