Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fountains Flowing With Wine

At the opening by the Governor of Victoria, the Marquis of Normanby, of the Melbourne International Exhibition (October 1, 1880–April 30, 1881; 1.3 million visitors) the fountain outside the purpose-built Royal Exhibition Building in the Carlton Gardens flowed with pink champagne. During the ceremonies, which included the performance of an interminable prize cantata entitled Victoria (music by Léon Caron, words by J. W. Meaden), everybody waiting outside got drunk, and rioting ensued. Buckets of Pink champagne were carried off to the suburbs. I do not think similar hospitalities have been attempted in Melbourne since then. As to how these fountains were operated, I am yet to track down the particulars. However, it must have required an enormous number of barrels, or an even far larger number of bottles.

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