The Cross

Fletcher Jones was a devout Christian and each Christmas and Easter, the Silver Ball had an illuminated cross installed on top by factory workers. 

“Dominating the eastern end of our building is our water tower,” Sir Fletcher wrote in 1976. 

Every December it is surmounted by a large illuminated cross. We like to think that it might help the thousands of summer visitors to Warrnambool to remember that Christ still has a place in Christmas festivities. Our plumbers and electricians did an excellent job in creating this outstanding symbol as part of our Christmas decorations.  In the distance it looks like a star, because of the aureole created by the brightness of the lights; as one comes closer the star becomes a cross.  The change has a dramatic symbolism which is very appropriate."

The practice continued after the city council bought the site in 1992. The lights were only turned on for the month of December and then during the week leading up to Good Friday, before being removed after the Easter break. After selling the site to Mill Markets entrepreneur Ian Ballis in 2007, the council continued to display the cross with his consent.  

After the original wooden cross was irreparably damaged in the late 1980s, a lighter aluminium cross was made as a replacement and hoisted to the top of the silver ball until 2010. With the deteriorating condition of the Silver Ball, Warrnambool City Council relocated the cross to the Aitkens Road water tower. It was, however, swiftly removed due to a complaint over religious advertising on public property. 

A replica cross was erected atop the Uniting Church tower in time for Christmas 2011, with Sir Fletcher’s late son David Jones suggesting at the time that his father would have approved of the new home.

In December 2014, Dean Montgomery requested the FJ cross from the city council, after community members discovered it was still in storage at the council depot.  Dean installed the illuminated cross in the gardens in December 2014, much to the delight of many who remembered and loved the illuminated cross on site.  

 

Hauling up the old heavier wooden cross. Thanks to Fitzgibbon Family
Brian Fitzgibbon and Anthony Kelly with the old heavy cross at the top of the ball.Thanks to the Fitzgibbon Family.
Thanks to Fitzgibbon Family
Thanks to Fitzgibbon Family
Photo by Lisa Gervasoni
Andrew Stevenson, Allan H and Brad Lee pictured with the second aluminium cross Dec 1995 shared by Mitch Stansfield
Gary Kelly with the cross in 2005 -  image Warrnambool Standard
The cross is placed on top of the ball in 2006: image Warrnambool Standard
The silver ball at Christmas 2008:image Warrnambool Standard
The lost silver ball cross found and installed in the FJ gardens 2015
The lost silver ball cross found and installed in the FJ gardens 2015
The Cross Sines Forth Again - 1969 FJ Staff Bulletin.  Jones Family Collection
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