Kennedy Fountain

Kennedy Fountain, Kings Park, public art

Public Art: Kennedy Fountain

Designer/Architect: Unknown

Description: The Kennedy Fountain which was Perth's first public water supply in the early days is made of limestone. The cast iron balustrade and timber posts have been replaced with Toodyay granite. The fountain was built over a natural spring. A small carving of a swan

Date unveiled: The Kennedy fountain was unveiled in 1861 by the then governor A.E.Kennedy

Location: The fountain is located at the base of the Kokoda walking trail next to the Mounts Bay Gardens, Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia.

Inscriptions:

"1861 AEK"

 

Perth's first public water supply fountain erected by Gov'r A E Kennedy 1861


So who was Governor Arthur Kennedy?: Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy was born in County Down, Ireland on the 5th of April, 1809. After attending Trinity College in Dublin the young Kennedy entered the British Army. In 1846 he returned to Ireland and took up the appointment with the Poor Law Commission, where his role was to administer relief to the people of County Clare who were affected by the Potato Famine. An eye opener indeed.

The Great Famine was a period of mass starvation and disease for the people of Ireland and Europe. Between 1845 and 1852 over 1 million people died in Ireland alone and the population fell by nearly 25%. The cause was basically a potato disease called potato blight. The blight resulted in the destruction of potato crops throughout Europe. Ireland was particularly hard hit as potatoes were their staple diet.

In 1851, as the famine crisis came to a close, Kennedy was appointed Governor of Sierra Leone. In 1854 he was promoted to the position of Governor of Western Australia and arrived the following year.

Prior to arriving, Kennedy was told to tighen the colony's public purse and cut the budget, which he dutifully did, much to the anger of the settlers. It didn't take long for a public meeting to be called to protest his "despot" ways. Despite the general disapproval, Western Australia flourished during his appointment, thanks in  part to the money given to the colony by Britain for the off loading of their convicts.

Kennedy resigned in 1862 and was appointed Governor of Vancouver Island. Many saw this a demotion. He wasn't particularly welcome there either and the colony soon fell into a disastrous economic depression which he was promptly blamed for.

On his return to London he was knighted and appointed Governor of the West African Settlements (1867-1872). From there he was appointed the 7th Governor of Hong Kong. Kennedy excelled in this position, creating the Hong Kong Dollar and developing a town on Hong Kong Island, aptly named Kennedy Town. His philospophy being do as little as possible and be friendly to everyone.

Kennedy's last appointment was to be Governor of Queensland for which he served until 1883.On his resignation he boarded the ship the Orient with the intention of returning to England but as fate would have it he died on board and was buried at sea.

Kennedy Fountain, Kings Park, public art Kennedy Fountain, water supply, public art, Perth

Trivia: When Kennedy resigned as Western Australia's governor his departing words were ..

"The day has gone by, when imaginary distinctions between classes can weigh with thinking men. I know of but two classes - one distinguished by industry and truth, and the other distinguished by the want of them."

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