The next time you stop for an ice cream at Gelatissimo on the
Strand, take the time to walk across the road and admire the magnificent craftsmanship that went into this memorial.
|W.J. Castling Memorial, Anzac Park, The Strand. Photo: T. Fielding, 2010|
Erected by public subscription in 1908, it was a fully functioning public drinking fountain, that was originally located diagonally opposite the former Customs House, on the
Strand. The structure was built to commemorate the life of a prominent Townsville citizen, William Joseph Castling, who drowned in in 1906. Castling settled in Townsville in 1876 and became a very successful businessman, as a partner in the butchering firm Johnson and Castling. Ross Creek
Castling was very active in the municipal affairs of the community and served several terms as Alderman on the Townsville Council in the 1880s. He was also a member of the Thuringowa Divisional Board, the Townsville Building Society, the Fire Brigade, the Chamber of Commerce, the Ayr Tramway Board, was a trustee of the
, and one of the original trustees of the Sports Reserve. Castling also served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Townsville from 1896 to 1899. Townsville Grammar School
|W.J. Castling Memorial, in its original location opposite the Customs House, no date. |
Photo: CityLibraries Townsville Local History Collection
At the official opening of the fountain in November 1908, Castling was described by his friend Mr R. McKimmin, ‘as a man who was respected and beloved by all who knew him’. The Townsville Daily Bulletin wrote:
The late W.J. Castling was a very worthy citizen who had devoted a great deal of his time to public duties, both as Parliamentary representative and in municipal affairs. He had started in a small way and borne the heat and burden of the day, and when he had succeeded he did not hesitate to give freely to deserving objects, and that was the best thing that could be said of a man.
|One of the marble basins. A patch in the sandstone shows|
where a tap was originally positioned. Photo: T. Fielding
The fountain was moved to its present location in
in the mid 1920s. The four taps were removed and the resultant holes in the sandstone patched, so that it is no longer a working fountain, but continues as a memorial, both to the man it was erected to honour, and to the monumental masons that crafted it. Anzac Memorial Park
|Lead lettering on the memorial. Photo: T. Fielding|