The three figures also echoed the triangular site made by the diagonal roadways. The whole construction was designed to be ‘a spectacle’, able to be viewed from all angles, and dominating the northern end of the square and the vista along King William Street north.
As well as adding to the controversy surrounding the redevelopment, the design adopted by the Council on 15 February 1967 was indeed a spectacle.
The three-sided fountain sits in an 18m-wide hexagonal pool with an outer wall of unpolished Angaston marble. Three Harcourt granite pedestals support the large cast aluminium basin and the aluminium figures. The basin reaches 4.6m above the ground. When the fountain is fully operational jets of water rise a further 4m from the basin, giving an overall height of 9m. Water cascades from the central bowl into three mid level pools and then via a fringe of streams into the main pool below. A further 33 jets of water shoot from the central pedestal and the main pool.
The 3.3m-wide basin was cast in one piece. It weighs 1800kg. The three figures weigh 227kg each.
The fountain was switched on by the Duke of Edinburgh on a subsequent visit on 28 May 1968. He commented ‘although there is not material advantage in having a fountain, it will give future citizens a great deal of pleasure, and no doubt a great deal to argue about’. He is reputed to have called the modernist fountain 'a monstrosity'; a view shared by a council gardener, James Purcell. James Irwin, however, noted the shift in public art that the fountain represented. It was something Adelaide could be proud of.
In March 2012 the Three Rivers was placed on the South Australian Heritage Register. The latest redevelopment of Victoria Square which began in 2013 sees the fountain being relocated to the southern side of the square.