Landmark designer finally remembered

Landmark designer finally remembered

On April 27,120 years ago, Mount Gambier’s Centenary Tower was officially opened by Sir Samuel Way who had travelled from Adelaide.

Howvever, the tower’s story begins in early 1900 when the under secretary of South Australia Thomas Gill wrote to the Mayor of Mount Gambier Dr C.C. MacDonald suggesting some type of commemoration should take place to celebrate the 100 years since the first major place named in South Australia was bestowed by Lt.

Grant aboard The Lady Nelson on December 3, 1800.

Mr Gill informed council that some type of monument would celebrate the centenary of Mount Gambier.

It would be the first place name in South Australia, and as far as he knew the third in Australia, with the first being in Sydney and the second in Newcastle.

Following this, a public meeting was called to raise funds and decide what type of monuments, obelisks or structure could be used and where.

After several types were suggested, council decided that a solid construction was needed and people were encouraged to send in designs.

Four were received from Mr.
 C. Siegmund, J.T. Topham, G.H.C. Boerke and W.R. Allison Snr.

Mr Siegmund’s was accepted with some modifications.

Foundations were laid and on December 3, 1900, the Foundation Stone was laid by Sir Samuel Way the Chief of Justice of South Australia.

However, enthusiasm soon dimmed and financial support dwindled and did not meet the expected costs so the building lapsed for several years.

In 1902, the committee and council organised a huge week-long fair during the Winter Race Meeting and raised a considerable sum, which enabled the committee to accept tenders for the

It was completed and the offficial opening of the completed Tower took place on April 27, 1904.

Carl Gustav Adolph Siegmund, the designer of the Centenary Tower, had lain in an unmarked grave in the cemetery until discovered by the Mount Gambier History Group who encouraged council to mark his grave.

On Saturday, April 27, at the Lake Terrace Cemetery, a memorial plaque placed by council will be unveiled and a dedication service by a member of the Lutheran ministery will be conducted at 2pm.

Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin will unveil the plaque.

Who was Carl Gustav Adolph Siegmund?

Little seems to be known about Charles Siegmund, who lies in an unmarked grave in the Lake Terrace Cemetery, Mount Gambier.

The Cemetery records state he died on 17 March 1906 and was interred in Plot 79 Section B on 18th March 1906, aged just 50 years.

His naturalisation certificate says he was born in Elbing Germany, and arrived in Australia in 1880.

His naturalisation took place in New South Wales on March 20, 1889; occupation – wood carver.

Mr Siegmund’s obituary states he was born in Germany and received his training as a wood carver in one of the excellent technical schools of that country.

He at one time owned a business in Sydney with a number of men in his service.

He won the £100 prize offered by the Government of new South Wales for the best model of a new railway station for the city of Sydney, and the station was built in all essential points after his design.

He did all the exquisite carving in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Sydney.

Mr Siegmund had lived in Mount Gambier for around 12 years at the time of his death, making his arrival here circa 1894.

He was one of 4 people who submitted a plan for the building of the Centenary Tower, which was accepted with some modifications.

Mr Siegmund’s obituary tells us that at the time of his death, he had been ill and had to abandon work.

He was a member of the Freemasons and had been visited by two members and on the Saturday morning Constable Resly came to his room at Mrs Bourke’s Commercial Street East.

After knocking and receiving no response he found him dead in his room.

It is believed he died of internal cancer.

A further comment in his obituary states he was too fond of the wine cup.

His funeral was held on the Sunday afternoon with about 20 members of the Masonic Lodge in attendance.

It was not believed that he had any relatives in Australia.

source: Mount Gambier History Group –

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