C1869

Sydney Water Supply

Mapmaker:

Francis H. Gaundy

Rare map showing the proposed tunnel running through privates land including the Glenlee estate at Menangle at for Sydney’s water storage. Collections: National Library Australia: Bib ID 2453565 State Library NSW: Reference code (AuSN)b38398989-61slnsw_inst History of Sydney’s water supply; Following Governor … Read Full Description

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Details

Full Title:

Sydney Water Supply

Date:

C1869

Mapmaker:

Francis H. Gaundy

Condition:

In good condition, with folds as issued. Laid on archival linen.

Technique:

Hand coloured lithograph.

Paper Size: 

473mm 
x 357mm
AUTHENTICITY
Sydney Water Supply - Antique Map from 1869

Genuine antique
dated:

1869

Description:

Rare map showing the proposed tunnel running through privates land including the Glenlee estate at Menangle at for Sydney’s water storage.

Collections:
National Library Australia: Bib ID 2453565
State Library NSW: Reference code (AuSN)b38398989-61slnsw_inst

History of Sydney’s water supply;
Following Governor Phillip’s discovery of a good source of fresh water, the First Fleet moved to Sydney Cove in 1788 (present-day Circular Quay) attracted by both the good harbour and the stream running through the mudflats and out into the cove. The early settlement was built either side of the yet unnamed stream. Water quickly became an issue for the early settlement, with the stream proving to be rather more intermittent than originally thought and as it grew, drinking water was supplemented with wells and cisterns. In early February 1788 William Bradley had noted that the streams feeding the early colony would run dry in hot weather. This central watercourse was supplied from a catchment which started near present-day Hyde Park and included most of what is now the CBD. By 1790 work had been undertaken to smooth the stone bed of the stream to improve its flow, and to cut tanks into the rock on either side of the stream for the storage of water, giving the stream its name; The Tank Stream.

Governor John Hunter issued an order on 22 October 1795 stating that any person found using a path from the house to the Tank Stream, or keeping hogs in the neighbourhood thereof…will be removed, and the house pulled down. Hunter issued another order in January 1796 but his efforts were ultimately unsuccessful in keeping the Tank Stream from becoming little more than an open sewer by the end of the eighteenth century. In October 1803, the government made an effort to clean out and restrict access to the stream; however a further notice regarding the penalties for polluting the stream was published in the Sydney Gazette on 18 December 1803, and again reiterated in an order of Governor Macquarie on 8 February 1810. The problem of pollution had become an endemic one, and its prevention was ultimately a losing battle for the colonial government. Other sources of water had to be found and while it remained an open watercourse for nearly another four decades, the Tank Stream had become merely an open sewer and was progressively enclosed in stone and brick from 1860.

Bushby’s Tunnel;
Mining engineer John Busby was commission to design and supervise the construction of a tunnel to bring water from the Lachlan Swamps into Hyde Park. Construction of the tunnel took 10 years and was conducted by convict labour working solely with hand tools. The bore began to provide limited water as early as 1830 but the full extent of the tunnel was not completed until 1837. Pumps were installed at the Lachlan Swamps in 1854 to increase the flow and in 1858 the Botany Swamps Scheme came into operation. The bore was cleared of debris and extensively surveyed in 1872, which dramatically increased its flow. It was however prone to contamination from surface runoff, and by 1902 the water had been diverted to the Royal Botanic Gardens for the purposes of flushing the ponds.

The board recommended confining activities to the Lachlan Swamp area, pumping water to a new reservoir to be built at Paddington, with a capacity of 12 million gallons which was about 40 gallons per head of population. In 1854, a small pump was installed to transfer water through Busby’s Bore. In 1858, three 100-horsepower stream-driven pumps were installed, two of which generally ran 24 hours a day. A 30-inch main delivered water from the pumping station at Lord’s dam to a reservoir at Crown Street 6 holding 3.5 million gallons and another at Paddington holding 1.5 million gallons. These reservoirs contained only two days’ supply. The major problem with the system was that capacity was insufficient to accommodate a prolonged dry period, even with the subsequent construction in 1866–67 of six small dams down the course of the stream to Botany Bay. Reticulated water supply was introduced in 1844, with about 70 houses being connected. The cost of this was 5 shillings per room per year. The reticulation network increased significantly in the 1850s and 1860s, requiring night-time water restrictions to be applied in 1862. In 1868, 956 million gallons of water were pumped or 2.62 million gallons per day and by 1874 this had increased to 4 million gallons per day. To accommodate this growth, a further dam was built at Bunnerong 1876–77. At the time of completion of the first stage of this scheme in 1858, the population of Sydney was estimated to be about 87,000 people. When the Smith Royal Commission reported in 1869, the population had grown to about 118,000.

The Botany Swamps Scheme
Following the 1838-39 drought, there was a period of nine years, during which there was frequent flooding, again followed by a dry year in 1849. By the early 1840s, it had become clear that Lachlan Swamps and Busby’s Bore were not capable of delivering adequate water to the city and in 1849, there was a proposal to build two small dams holding about 10 million gallons in the area of the Lachlan Swamp but this work was not commenced. In 1850,a Special Committee was appointed by the Municipal Council of Sydney ‘to inquire into and report on the best means of procuring a permanent supply of water to the city of Sydney’. The committee considered areas around Bunnerong, Cook’s River, George’s River, and the Nepean River, however before the committee could report, a new Governor, Charles Fitzroy, was commissioned and he appointed a board to re-examine the question. The board made recommendations relating to the development of Botany Swamps and these were implemented.

City Commissioners took control of Sydney’s water supply and in 1854 and established a steam pump in 1854 what is now Alison Road, Randwick, to pump water from the Lachlan Swamps into Busby’s Bore, to augment supply. The board recommended confining activities to the Lachlan Swamp area, pumping water to a new reservoir to be built at Paddington, with a capacity of 12 million gallons which was about 40 gallons per head of population. In 1854, a small pump was installed to transfer water through Busby’s Bore. In 1858, three 100-horsepower stream-driven pumps were installed, two of which generally ran 24 hours a day. A 30-inch main delivered water from the pumping station at Lord’s dam to a reservoir at Crown Street 6 holding 3.5 million gallons and another at Paddington holding 1.5 million gallons. These reservoirs contained only two days’ supply. The major problem with the system was that capacity was insufficient to accommodate a prolonged dry period, even with the subsequent construction in 1866–67 of six small dams down the course of the stream to Botany Bay. Reticulated water supply was introduced in 1844, with about 70 houses being connected. The cost of this was 5 shillings per room per year. The reticulation network increased significantly in the 1850s and 1860s, requiring night-time water restrictions to be applied in 1862. In 1868, 956 million gallons of water were pumped or 2.62 million gallons per day and by 1874 this had increased to 4 million gallons per day. To accommodate this growth, a further dam was built at Bunnerong 1876–77. At the time of completion of the first stage of this scheme in 1858, the population of Sydney was estimated to be about 87,000 people. When the Smith Royal Commission reported in 1869, the population had grown to about 118,000.

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