11: Gas Street Lamp


Made of cast iron by White's Eagle Foundry , Ballarat, this lamp was erected by the Shire of Ballarat to commemorate Queen Victoria'sDiamond Jubilee in 1897.




The second “Learmonth Thunderer” published in 1897, about 28 years after the first, was printed in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year.  Residents of the Shire of Ballarat were treated to many forms of entertainment and the Council decided to place a lamp in the Main Street of Learmonth for the benefit of those folks  “when darkness has fallen”.
This article appeared in the “Learmonth Thunderer.”

Lamp to be erected by the Shire of Ballarat.

The light from the lamp to be erected in front of the Shire Hall will no doubt be highly appreciated by residents of the district, and the beneficial effects produced well, we think, show the necessity of erecting a few more lamps in the Township. One is badly needed at the main footpath near the road leading up to Dr Courtney’s surgery; residents from all parts of the district having to drive to the doctor’s at all hours of the night, and this particular corner is a very dark one. Another lamp is required at the Post Office. In connection with the latter, it would be as well to caution mounted men having business at the Post Office on dark nights not to tether their horses across the footpath. The animals may be quiet, but not withstanding this, one is apt to congratulate himself from a narrow escape from a great calamity if he retains sound links after having come in contact with the haunches of a horse.


A Masons patented jar, with Shire of Ballarat Token within, was found in the base of cast- iron lamp post in March 1985.  At that time, the post was being relocated from the front garden of the former Shire Offices at Learmonth to the medium strip between the Sunraysia Highway and the service road, this being as near as possible to what is believed to be its original position.  The jar was in many pieces and had presumably been broken at the time of the post’s shift from the edge of the newly created North Western highway to the garden in 1955.

A replacement lamp was made p by Mr G Edwards of Mount Helen and for the first time since its shift in 1955, it is to be illuminated.

Between 1880 and 1920 three other similar gas lamps were used in the main street of Learmonth.  They were all powered with Benzene, the type of light being known as a “Gloria” light.

At that time a kerosene powered light was also in use in front of the Stag hotel and several gas or Gloria lights were in the grounds of the Bowling Greens.

The Masons jar was made by the Consolidated Fruit Jar Company of U.S.A.  Mason’s patent, dated November 30, 1858, was for the glass screw thread – the porcelain inserted zinc screw cap was patented by John Landis Boyd of New York.

Due to the jar being broken into so many pieces an “original” replacement jar, identical to the broken one, was acquired from a Bottle Collector for $8.00 in Mar 1985.  The token, badly corroded when found, has been cleaned and replaced into this replacement jar.

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