Historic Wagga lantern restored to its former glory

Rodney Donkin has restored this historic lantern.

Published on: 19 September 2019

Restored to its former glory, this historic Wagga lantern will soon burn bright over the city once more.

Some locals may remember this original lighting feature from its previous home in Collins Park, where it had stood since the mid-1930s.

This salvaged piece of Wagga history is finding a new home at the historic Abutment A, which is being refurbished as part of the Hampden Bridge Legacy Project.

Old photographs show gas lanterns were once iconic landmarks of Hampden Bridge and its surrounding landscape.

“I think there were ten of them in Collins Park,” North Wagga resident Rodney Donkin said.

“When they pulled them out, I think they were going to be sent to Sydney to be refurbished but the cost was going to be enormous.”

Lucky for Rod, he had the expertise needed to take on the job of restoring the copper lanterns.

“You’ve got to strip them, clean them and polish them,” he said.

“Some of them do need restoration on dints and those sorts of things.

The original window panes have also been replaced with six-millimetre-thick laminated glass.

Rodney makes it sound simple, but the reality is, restoring a decades-old-lantern takes a lot patience, concentration and loving care.

“If you want it right, you’ve got to do it right,” he admits.

“And you’ve got to spend the time.”

“Every time we go past the Hampden Bridge site, which is fairly often, we’ll be able to say, ‘we did that’,” Rodney said.

The Wagga Iron Foundry is making a replica cast-iron lantern post in preparation for the arrival of the lantern at the site of the former bridge crossing in Fitzmaurice Street.


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