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Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The Benson Memorial Drinking Fountain was erected by public subscription to commemorate Dr John Benson, a local doctor who practised in Kensington between the 1860s and 1877.

When the news passed round Kensington that the Doctor Benson was dangerously ill with pneumonia, prayers were offered for his recovery in the churches and a crowd gathered outside his residence in High Street on the last three nights before his death. 

His death was marked by shuttered shops, flags at half -mast and a funeral train that extended from King William Street to the Kent Town Brewery.  A public meeting was held shortly after his death and the Reverend Dr Tappeiner, on behalf of the Sisters of St Joseph offered a piece of land for the memorial. Funds were collected by a committee and the Council donated a lamp to surmount the memorial. The memorial was unveiled in 1879 by the Mayor (Mr S.D.Glyde)

A large number of the inhabitants of Norwood and Kensington assembled at 4 o'clock on Saturday, June 14, at the corner of High Street and Kensington terrace between Kensington and Norwood, to witness the unveiling of a fountain which has been erected by public subscription in memory of Dr. Benson, who died in 1877, and who from his widespread charity and kindliness of heart had made himself a favourite with all classes of the local community. The F Company of volunteer infantry, under the command of Captain Glyde, and the local Oddfellows and Foresters formed in procession at the Town Hall at half-past 3, and marched to the scene of the ceremonial.
South Australian Register (Adelaide), 16 June 1879.


Address:Portrush Road & High Street, Kensington, 5068
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.921866
Long: 138.641222
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Fountain
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 14th June, 1879
Front Inscription

Keep the pavement dry

Erected by public subscription

In affectionate remembrance of the late John Benson

Plaque :

Dr John Benson M.D.
1837 - 1877
Colonial Surgeon

"It is no mere figure of speech to say that he was loved by young and old, and by all classes of society in the Municipality"

The Good Doctor

Dr Benson migrated to South Australia in 1856 after training for his degree in medicine and completing his bicentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons.  In Adelaide, he accepted the position of Assistant Colonial Resident Hospital Surgeon.  He held this post for twelve months until he decied to take over Dr Thomas Taylor` general practice located at 50 High Street in the bustling village of Kensington.

His skills as a doctor were highly regarded by all in the commuity as was his general manner and refined intellect.  For over a decade, Dr Benson ministered to all in the community, regardless of religious status or wealth.  On the 6 July 1877 at the tender age of 39 years, tragedy struck and he died from a severe form of pneumonia leaving his wife and young family.

The funeral of Dr Benson was one of the largest seen in the colony.  Several hundred Lodge members preceded the funeral procession, and over 200 private vehicles, and hundreds of mourners on foot followed behind the hearse.  The procession stretched from King William Street to the Kent Town Brewery.

All wanted to pay their respects to the doctor who was universally loved and so a memorial fountain was erected on land donated by the Sisters of St Joseph at Kensington.

City of Norwood  Payneham & St Peters
6th July 2004

City of Norwood  Payneham & St Peters


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