516 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne 3000
The Melbourne Branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was founded in 1887. The WCTU was an influential organisation run for and by women and was involved in many social reform campaigns, as well as temperance, including, most notably, the vote for women.
As a part of their temperance concerns, the Union agitated for the provision of clean drinking water in public places, in particular, drinking taps and fountains. These were usually sited outside institutions where large numbers of people congregated and were sometimes opposed by publicans who feared losing thirsty customers. In 1900 to commemorate Federation and to coincide with the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York (later George V and Queen Mary) the WCTU decided to donate a fountain to the City of Melbourne. This was duly accepted by Melbourne City Council. It was initially intended to locate this near the new central Flinders Street railway station but eventually was installed near the market.