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27-January-2002 (Diane Watson)
27-January-2002 (Diane Watson)

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The Mooney Fountain was mistakenly believed to be a memorial to fireman James Mooney however the original inscription contains the name of the 1879 Council with no mention of Mooney. In 1988 a dedication to James Mooney and all firemen who have lost their lives was inscribed on the fountain.

James Thomas Mooney, a volunteer fireman, was killed as a result of an explosion at a fire he was attending in Queen Street. On March 23, 1877, a fire occurred in the shop of W. Hughes, grocer, Refuge Row, Queen Street. The grocer was also a wine and spirit merchant. Jim Mooney was one of the firemen fighting the fire. During the fire, a keg of rum burst and saturated Mooney, turning him into a human torch. His mates rolled him in the thick dust of Queen Street. He died three days later. 

There is a popular belief that the drinking fountain at the intersection of Queen and Eagle Streets is a memorial to volunteer fireman J. Mooney, who died in a Queen Street fire in 1877. Actually the fountain was erected at a cost of £370 to mark the reticulation of the city with water from the new reservoir at Enoggera. It was Brisbane's first public drinking fountain. Bubble taps today supply the water which originally gushed continuously from the lions' mouths. A tablet on it states it was 'Erected by the Corporation of Brisbane in 1879.' Then follow the names of the Mayor and the aldermen.

On May 29, 1877, the Brisbane City Council made a grant of £200 towards a memorial for Mooney, On June 12 the Council supplemented this with another £100 and the Improvement Committee of the Council was instructed to deal with the proposed fountain 'in memory of Mooney.' This was the last mention of Mooney in connection with the fountain. Much discussion and planning went on in the Council in connection with the fountain, until it was completed on March 27, 1880. There was no official unveiling ceremony.  It seems that the reason for the fountain not becoming the Mooney memorial was that between the date of Mooney's death and 1880 three different councils administered the city, in succession.
Excerpt from The Courier-Mail (Brisbane),  29 December 1953.



Address:118 Eagle Street, Brisbane, 4000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.465833
Long: 153.03
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Fountain
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:25-March-1877
Actual Event End Date:25-March-1877


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1988
Right Side Inscription

Dedicated in the Bicentenary Year of 1988

To the sacred memory of James Thomas Mooney

A young fireman who lost his life on the 25th day of March 1877 as a result of burns received fighting a fire 

And to all firemen who have made the supreme sacrifice

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