Silver Ball makeover

From November 27th 2017, the Silver Ball finally got a makeover to remove and treat rust. Over three weeks, the city watched in awe as crane and paint crews worked to make the transformation. Two coats of rust treatment were applied - the first coloured grey and the second, yellow.  This was followed by a third (the topcoat) of silver on the ball and international orange (the original colour) on the legs.  (The same product is used to paint the Westgate Bridge and is designed for use in highly corrosive environments and where surface preparation is difficult).  

We are very happy to say our Warrnambool icon now looks all shiny and very smart!  The feedback from our community has been amazing.  

Then on December 20th, we held a Silver Ball Light Up party in the Fletcher Jones gardens - we had a lovely crowd of around 600 people who came along to enjoy live music with a picnic style vibe.   At 9pm, the Silver Ball lit up with changing colours projected from four LED lights installed on the factory roof.  From now on - every night of the year, the lights will make the Silver Ball visible on the night skyline.  There used to be a lighted cross on the Silver Ball for many years at Christmas and Easter and we knew people always loved the light it shone in the night.  Whether religious or not, people loved the light and so as part of the makeover, we wanted to also be able to light up the Silver Ball every night of the year.  

A $70,000 Living Heritage Grant from Heritage Victoria made the makeover possible; while the lights were purchased and installed with thanks to community fundraising and the A L Lane and Isobel and David Jones Foundations.  The Fletcher Jones Stories steering group wrote the grant applications and led the community fundraising efforts in appreciation of FJ site owner, Dean Montgomery's enormous and ongoing financial and emotional investment for restoring the Fletcher Jones site.  The group also wanted to show that looking after the Silver Ball - the State Heritage listed Fletcher Jones Water Tower that is also a much loved local landmark  - that looking after it should not be just the responsibility of a private owner.  

Local contractors, Hire Australia provided the 50m boom lift for the makeover, while Fresh Finish Paint researched the best paint product and provided the painting crew to treat the rust and paint the ball. Electricians, Stuart and Adam Hunter installed the lights and Fletcher Jones Site Manager, Troy Kelly was the overall Project Manager with some assistance from Julie Eagles, Fletcher Jones Stories Project Coordinator and Tonia Wilcox from Save the Silver Ball and Fletcher's Gardens group.  Warrnambool City Council provided assistance with road closures over the three week period and all the neighbours were patient and cooperative.   Local radio station 3YB and the Warrnambool Standard gave great coverage as did South West ABC.  

This Silver Ball makeover is the culmination of many years of community campaigning and through those years we built a community of people, on-line and in person, who have formed lasting friendships and connections.  It is all those hundreds and hundreds of people who helped make the wonderful transformation of our beloved Silver Ball happen and we thank you all.  

We thank you for the wonderful participation in the many joyous community events and for the sharing of such great stories that has happened along the journey.   


Work in progress on the legs - showing second rust treatment coat (yellow) with international orange topcoat. Photo: Troy Kelly
All finished. Photo: Emma Kavanagh
Changing from second rust treatment coat (yellow) to silver finish. Photo: Mark Rashleigh
Here's some of the crew! Jock McTaggett (aka Pete Smith), Tonia Wilcox- queen of the silver ball, Stuart and Adam Hunter (the sparkies for the lights), Luke Attrill (head of the painting team) and Matt Reeves - from South Coast Cranes or Hire Australia. Great pic thanks to Mark Rashleigh
Before the makeover - Photo: Murray Dancey
view of the top of the ball after the makeover - Photo: Matt Reeves
all finished - Photo: Julie Eagles
Lights on the newly painted ball - Photo: Carol-Anne Jenkins
Getting started on the rust - Photo: Troy Kelly
Silver Ball showing first and second coats of rust treatment - grey and yellow.  Photo: Julie Eagles
Save the Silver Ball campaigner, Tonia Wilcox touches the ball on the first day of works.  Photo: Matt Reeves
Showing all three coats at once!  Photo: Lynny Mast
Save the Silver Ball campaigner, Julie Eagles touches the ball after the works finished. Photo: Matt Reeves.
Julie Eagles going up in the boom lift with Matt Reeves on the final day of the makeover.  Photo: Lynny Mast
The Silver Ball on December 20th, 2017 with lights on- the lights change colours.  Photo: Geoff Rollinson
Bruce Campbell and Des Bunyon perform at the Silver Ball light up party.Photo: Julie Eagles
Pete Smith and Julie Eagles rocking their silver ball costumes at the Silver Ball Light up party.  Photo: Rhonda McDonell
Four Wide performing at the Silver Ball Light up Party with Tonia Wilcox.
L-R Tonia Wilcox- Save the Silver Ball group, Stuart and Adam Hunter who installed the lights, Pete Smith and Matt Reeves, both from South Coast Cranes or Hire Australia with Julie Eagles in Silver Ball jewellery at the Light Up the Silver Ball party in Fletcher's Gardens, December 20th,2017.  Photo: Rhonda McDonell
Julie Eagles and Tonia Wilcox dance with joy at the Silver Ball light up party.  Julie and Tonia led the Save the Silver Ball campaign.  Photo: Rhonda McDonell.



Become a Part of the Fletcher Jones Story.

If you would like to share images, stories or anecdotes about Fletcher Jones, the man or the business, please contact the Project Coordinator, Julie Eagles, through this website or contact via the Save the Silver Ball and Fletcher’s Gardens Facebook Page.  

We'd also love your feedback about our website and your favourite stories.  You can also let us know if you think we've got anything wrong, misspelt or left out.