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A war and fountain memorial, the El Alamein Memorial Fountain is for the city of Sydney, Australia, where it sits in the Kings Cross area. Specifically, it sits at the entrance of the Fitzroy Gardens, located at the corner of Darlingurst Road and Macleay Street. The fountain is a tribute to the fallen soldiers who died during WWII in 1942 at the two battles of El Alamein in Egypt. The fountain was designed by Bob Woodward, an Australian born architect best known for his innovative fountain design. 

Both battles of El Alamein were important for the direction of the war, and the Australian 9th Division fought in both. The first battle occurred in July 1942 and was able to halt the progression of the Axis forces in Egypt. The second battle, occurring in October through November of 1942 is considered a turning point in the Western Desert Campaign. The fountain not only celebrates the Australian army’s role in the battles of El Alamein, as well as their role in the North Africa Campaign in general. 

Robert Woodward was commissioned to build the fountain, and had studied architecture at the Sydney University. He was also a war veteran. The fountain was completed in 1961, and opened by the mayor of Sydney, Harry Jensen. This fountain created a name for Woodward, making his fountain once of his most famous features. 

This fountain is a modernist design. The fountain is described as looking like a blown thistle or a dandelion once it goes to seed. The sculpture was cast in bronze and features brass pipes also. There are small nozzle spray heads that create the spherical shape of the water, and make it very fine and sensitive to air movement. The fountain is 12 feet 6 inches in diameter, and there are 211 radially arranged stalks. There are also two plaques commemorating the war heroes on a plinth to the north east of the fountain. The water cascaded down three levels and sits on a hexagonal base. The water feature is an attractive nighttime attraction as it is illuminated. 

The importance and cultural impact of the fountain was immense. Besides being a honored tribute to the war heroes, it also won the North South Wales Institute of Architects Civic Design Award for Woodward in 1964. It is a well known land mark for the area as well, a form that has been imitated by other architects and builders as well. The fountain is also a popular meeting place as it is the center focal point of the Kings Cross area. 

The fountain is of the Modernist school of design, and is an outstanding and spectacular example of this. This fountain was actually a rival for the icon of Sydney, in the 1960’s and 1970’s, competing with the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. It is also a rare example of the organic school of Scandinavian architectural design, as well as a great example of the technology of the modernist application of fountain design. Ironically, the overall beauty of the fountain has almost overwhelmed the original significance of the fountain to be a tribute to the war heroes.