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a statue in front of a building

Throughout the later part of the 19th century and into the 20th century the Hordern Family dominated the Sydney retail trade. Beginning with ‘Mrs Hordern’s’ drapery shop in 1823, Anthony Hordern and Sons soon became the largest department store in Sydney, with businesses in Europe, America and China.

By the end of the 19th century potable water was in short supply in Sydney, particularly so in working class suburbs like Pyrmont.

Samuel Hordern, in an early example of late 19th century philanthropy, offered the City Council a drinking fountain and a piece of land on which to erect it, here in Pyrmont. The offer was accepted – ‘the provision of drinking fountains at which wearied wayfarers may quench their thirst being one of the first cares of the civic fathers’ of the day, according to the Sydney Morning Herald of Dec 23 1896. It is made from sandstone and features a cupid standing on a stepped base. On two sides semi-circular drinking basins are positioned centrally below marble inlaid tablets on which inscriptions appear.

In 1896 the Hordern Fountain was erected exactly where it can still be seen today, though it is no longer in working condition. As it is situated on the edge of what is now a busy intersection do be careful not to back out onto the road if taking pictures.


a vintage photo of an old building