In November 1982, Harry Oppenheimer presided over the opening of a landmark fountain in the heart of the Sandton CBD. The fountain, located on the corner of 5th Street and Rivonia Road in front of the Sandton Civic Centre, was donated to the town by Kay Barlow in memory of her husband Charles Sydney (Punch) Barlow.
Kay Barlow and Harry Oppenheimer at the opening of the fountain (Rand Daily Mail)
Punch Barlow passed away in 1979 and is remembered today as one of South Africa's most successful businessmen. He took the company his father started and grew it into one of the world's largest enterprises (Barlow Rand - known today as Barloworld). Click here to read a 1982 New York Times article unpacking the complexity of the company.
Barlow used his considerable wealth to help preserve South Africa's built environment and natural heritage. He was passionate about birds and made a great contribution to ornithology over the decades. According to various sources published after his death, he even had a few sub-species of birds named after him. This is why Kay Barlow commissioned the talented sculptor Robin Lewis to create two large bronze Fish Eagles to be placed at the centre of the fountain.
The Bronze Fish Eagles (Sandton Civic Foundation)
Another shot of the Fish Eagles (Sandton Civic Foundation)
Unfortunately the fountain is no more. I'm not sure what happened to it but am hoping community members can fill me in. It would be great to trace the Fish Eagles and maybe even bring them back to a prominent postion in Sandton one day.
In 2018 the site where the fountain once stood is empty and looking very shabby. The Civic Centre was imploded in 2015 and Sandton enthusiasts are still waiting for the massive Kgoro Central development to take off.
The site where the Sandton Civic Centre and Barlow Fountain once stood. The multi-billion rand Kgoro Central development is expected to rise here in the coming years. (The Heritage Portal)
The Sandton Civic Centre was demolished in 2015 (The Heritage Portal)
The Fountain's approximate location on the corner of 5th Street and Rivonia Road (Google Maps)
If you have any additional information about the fountain and what happened to it please email firstname.lastname@example.org or add a comment below.