F.D.A. Carstens Memorial, Port Douglas

News of the day

Cairns Morning Post, Tuesday 29 December 1908, page 7

The Carstens Memorial

The Carstens Memorial at Port Douglas, which was erected by Messrs Melrose and Fenwick, monumental sculptors, is a splendid piece of work (says the ‘Record’). It stands in the centre of the roadway in Macrossan Street, in front of the Exchange Hotel, of which well known hostelry the late Frederic Detleip Carstens, whose memory the monument is intended to perpetuate, was proprietor for a period extending over 20 years. It is 18 feet 6 inches in height, and is composed of Carrara marble. The concrete base is 8 feet square. The memorial itself consists of a drinking fountain supporting a fluted column, surmounted by a carved bust.  Each side of that portion of the marble bust forming the drinking fountain is similar to the others except that on two sides, those facing up and down the street respectively, provision is made of gas and water. The head of a lion is carved in bas-relief about the centre of each of the four marble sides of the handsome monument, and from of these lion’s heads a stream of drinking water can be liberated and received by thirsty individuals in the aluminium drinking vessels provided for that purpose, or allowed to run through the heavy marble basins into the waste water pipes concealed inside the massive memorial.  Two fancy iron gas brackets are further adorned with elaborate crinkled glass shades of rather brilliant hue and frail appearance. The water supply for the drinking fountain is obtained from a tank placed upon the top storey of the Exchange Hotel, and the supply of acetylene gas necessary to light up the monument is obtained from the generator behind the hotel.

The heavy base of the monument forming tile drinking fountain bears inscriptions upon each of its four sides. That facing the north bears the following : “In Memoriam. F. P. A. Carstens. Elected to the

Douglas Divisional Board, 1883-1891, 1899; Chairman, 1902. Member of the Douglas Shire Council 1903-1905. Erected and presented to the Douglas Shire Council by his loving wife Pauline Carstens." On the western side the inscription reads : "F. D. A. Carstens, Arrived in Port Douglas, 1886, Visited his native land, 1899-1903,” On the southern side the wording reads: "In Memoriam. F. D. A. Carstens. Born, 9th August, 1838. Died 20th September, 1906." On that side of the monument which

faces the Exchange Hotel, the inscription reads: Carstens memorial. A vigorous advocate of the construction of the Mossman Tramway. Chairman of the Port Douglas Hospital Committee, 1890-1893."

The cap - which was the principal portion of the monument injured in the recent explosion - has been most faithfully reproduced by Messrs. Melrose and Tenwick in their Townsville workshop, the delicacy of the workmanship losing nothing by comparison with that done in Italy,

A fluted column of the beautiful Corinthian order, stands proudly up; right, rising from the centre of the broader base afforded by the drinking fountain. This column, which measures five feet in itself, and is about 15 inches in circumference, is further adorned by plain and floral bands in bas-relief trimming transversely round the foot, centre, and top of the column. The projecting chapiter is a beautiful example of the sculptor's art. But the crowning glory of the whole structure is undoubtedly the marble bust of the late Mr. F. D. A, Carstens, which forms the apex. This fine piece of work was sculptured in Italy from a photograph taken of the late Mr. Carstens when he was in the prime of life, and is said by those, who Knew him during that period to be an excellent likeness.


The memorial was erected c1907-08 to honour Friederich Detleip Andreas Carstens, a Port Douglas publican and former Port Douglas Divisional Board Chairman. It was commissioned and paid for by his widow, Pauline Carstens, and presented c1907-08 to Douglas Shire Council as a public memorial drinking fountain. The work was carried out by the prominent Townsville-based monumental masonry firm of Melrose and Fenwick, who designed, constructed and supplied memorials and headstones throughout North Queensland in the first half of the 20th century.

Courtesy of Queensland Heritage Register


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