The Stanford Fountain: Beauty and Intrigue at the Paris End

The Stanford Fountain

Have you ever wondered about the history of the beautiful garden near Parliament House, the Treasury, and the Windsor Hotel, backdrop to so many of Melbourne couple’s wedding photography over the last 50 years? Here at Serendipity Photography we very much appreciate the beauty of the area in front of the Windsor Hotel now known as the Gordon Reserve, and it’s gorgeous fountain just perfect for wedding photography. On your wedding day the sparkling light off the water of the fountain contrasts beautifully with the austere traditional of the Renaissance inspired buildings surrounding it.

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The fountain has quite a story. The fountain was carved by William Stanford during a twenty-two years in prison at Pentridge Prison. Stanford, not being able to be cured of horse thievery, was sentenced twice, adding up to 22 years as a guest of the State. During his second prison sentence Stanford, originally a stonemason’s apprentice, became obsessed with carving delicate figures out of anything he could find.

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The prison chaplain, having seen some promising sketches, encouraged him and arranged him to be taught by Charles Summers, of Collins Street fame. Stanford’ submission for a public fountain, was approved but he had to use bluestone, the only material available at Pentridge. Please turn to Serendipity’s pages for more information and wedding images of the Stanford Fountain, and Gordon Reserve.

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Beautiful Surrounding Wedding Photography Locations

The area near Parliament and the Hotel Windsor is full of many beautiful areas for stunning wedding images. Couples can visit this area  many reasons, not only the classical beauty of the Old Treasury building, or the historic magnificence of Parliament, the area can be used in a more contemporary way, with striking lighting with off camera flash, strong cool colours or infra red treatments, or play host to your gothic fantasies, or exude romantic charm. The stage is set, the play is yours!

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Please feel free to browse Serendipity Photography’s pages on these wonderful locations for more information, history and wedding images!


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The Hotel Windsor

A Melbourne landmark and the only surviving grand Victorian era hotel, the Hotel Windsor stands near Parliament House, the Treasury, and looks over the beautiful Gordon Reserve. A significant heritage site, the Hotel Windsor is a benchmark of high Victorian architecture. An amalgamation of architectural styles, the Hotel Windsor has a distinct skyline thanks to it’s twin mansard roofed towers built in the Second Empire style, a façade created in a broadly Renaissance revivalist style, and a beautiful stone sculpture over the main entrance, consisting of male and female figures known as “Peace and Plenty” elegantly reclined over the English and Australian Coat of Arms. Notable for it’s typically Victorian combination of multiple architecture styles and it’s ornate façade, the Hotel Windsor is one of Melbourne’s most beloved heritage buildings.

Significant not only for it’s stunning architecture, the hotel holds a priceless historical value. It is the place where the Constitution of Australia was drafted in 1898, has seen the banning of alcohol — and it’s subsequent reinstatement — during the Temperance Movement, and has watched the luminaries of Australia’s political and social milieu move through it’s doors.

Parliament House

The largest 19th century public building in Australia, Parliament House on the corner of Spring Street and Bourke Street is one of the finest examples of civic architecture from the colonial period of the British Empire anywhere in the world. With it’s classical colonnade and portico, the building commands a majestic position at the head of Collins Street, and creates an impressive background for wedding photographs. Parliament stands host to many other nearby wedding locations, and is a useful start to a winter, wet day or short day wedding location tour.

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The influence of the Renaissance is clearly seen in the ordered and rational façade, the classical columns, and the beautiful pale stonework of Parliament House’s front colonnade. Inspired by classical Greek and Roman art and architecture, the Renaissance artists created works of masterful rationality, which in Parliament House has been translated into a revivalist perfectionism that stands proudly in the heart of Melbourne’s heritage architectural district. You are invited to read Serendipity’s page on the history of Parliament House for more images and information on this breathtaking building.

Old Treasury

One of the shining examples of Victorian architecture in Melbourne, the Old Treasury building was constructed between 1858 and 1862, and was symbolic of the rapid development of the city in the throes of the Victorian gold rush. The building reflects the vision of Melbourne’s contemporary architects, with it’s Renaissance revivalist sensibilities. The elegantly proportioned rectangular building presents three main entrances, a central portico derived from the “Italian palazzo” form with an upper story colonnaded arcade, and beautiful elaborate window pilasters and pediments.The building was finished in the subtle creamy sandstone so beloved by architects during the period, and maintains the elegant and refined feel of high Victorian architecture. Right next door, couples can avail themselves of the green spaces and mature trees of the Treasury Gardens.

Princess Theatre

The Princess Theatre , diagonally opposite to Parliament, is listed with the National Trust with over 150 years of history. The theatre boasts a the Second Empire top structure over an Italianate base  - these classic lines are wonderfully complemented by warm incandescent theatre lights which create gorgeous soft colours and golden circles when photographed at dusk.

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