Sydney Water Supply Upper Canal | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Sydney Water Supply Upper Canal

Item details

Name of item: Sydney Water Supply Upper Canal
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Utilities - Water
Category: Water Supply Canal
Primary address: Off Elizabeth Drive (opposite the intersection with Wallgrove Road), Cecil Hills, NSW 2171
Local govt. area: Liverpool
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Off Elizabeth Drive (opposite the intersection with Wallgrove Road)Cecil HillsLiverpool  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Sydney Water Supply Upper Canal as an essential part of Sydney's fourth water supply, the Upper Nepean, demonstrates the history of the first major civic engineering project of the late 19th century in the wider Sydney area. It also demonstrates the rapid growth of settlement in the environs of Sydney and the need to supply a growing urban population with a water system. The site indicates a level of technical achievement being an example of a late 19th century hydraulic design and construction engineering project. It is now a rare site type in the LGA and State. There is the potential to gain more information on the site from further architectural, archaeological and documentary research.
Date significance updated: 09 Nov 04
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Construction years: 1880-1888
Physical description: The Sydney Water Supply Canal runs c. N-S through the Liverpool LGA area. It enters Liverpool LGA south of the Elizabeth Drive and Wallgrove Road intersection at Cecil Hills and exits the LGA at the intersection between Bringelly Road and Cowpasture Road, West Hoxton.

The Upper Canal is the conduit which carries water stored in the Upper Nepean Catchment dams (Cataract, Cordeaux, Avon and Nepean) to Prospect Reservoir, the major service reservoir for much of the Sydney Metropolis. The "Upper Canal" comprises approximately 58kms of tunnels, aqueducts and open channels of various cross-section which diverts the flow of the Nepean River below its junctions with the Avon and Cordeaux Rivers at Pheasant's Pass where the flow of the four rivers is diverted to Prospect Reservoir.

The construction of the canal is variable and depends on the type of country through which it passes. The canal includes unlined tunnels through stable sandstone, brick lined tunnels through shale formation, open lengths of the canal in stable sandstone are unlined, in earth areas the canal has battered walls of locally quarried rubble masonary and in poor ground walls has concrete or rubble set in cement mortar. Section 8,9 & 10 of the Canal cross the Liverpool City CGA.

Section 8 commences near Denham Court Road (27 miles from Pheasant's Nest Weir) and comprises a concrete flume (canal) usually with a trapezoidal section up to nearly 6ms wide at the top and a water depth of just 2ms.

Section 9 also comprises an open canal (commencing approx. 30 miles from Pheasants Nest and continuing to the 33 mile point).

Section 10 comprises of an open canal which has an inlet to the Liverpool Offtake Reservoir locate at Cecil Hills and thence continues as the Cecil Hills Tunnel to the 27 mile point.

Along the route of the canal are situated various ancillary structures such as wrought iron flume (pipe) sections supported on stone piers in order to cross steep gullies, concrete bridges giving access across the canal, other drainage structures to prevent pollution of the canal such as brick and stone culverts, aqueducts, control and gauging installations, an original gateway and gate at the canals intersection with 18th Ave and stone markers along the entire length of the structure.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Excellent
Date condition updated:09 Nov 04
Current use: Water Supply Canal
Former use: Water Supply Canal

History

Historical notes: The Upper Canal was constructed between 1880 and 1888 as an essential part of the Upper Nepean Scheme which was Sydney's fourth water supply source. Following completion in 1888 the Upper Nepean Scheme was further developed by the construction of major storage dams on the four source rivers Cataract (1907), Cordeaux (1926), Avon (1927) and Nepean (1935) dams. Since the construction of Sydney's fifth water supply source, Warragamba Dam, the Upper Canal is now limited to supplying the Campbelltown and Camden areas from Cataract and Nepean Dams whilst Cordeaux and Avon Dams supply Wollongong area through the Shoalhaven Scheme.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences Water Suppply System-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Providing a water supply-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Upper Canal as an essential part of Sydney's fourth water supply, the Upper Nepean, demonstrates the history of the first major civic engineering project of the late 19th century in the wider Sydney area. It also demonstrates the rapid growth of settlement in the environs of Sydney and the need to supply a growing urban population with a water system.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The site indicates a level of technical achievement being an example of a late 19th century hydraulic design and construction engineering project. The canal maintains the highest possible elevation (with grades as flat as 1 in 3000) in order that most of the supply to the city was controlled by gravity. It is still in use as a water supply system for the south-western suburbs of Sydney.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
There is the potential to gain more information on the site from further architectural, archaeological and documentary research.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The site is rare within the Liverpool LGA and the State.
Integrity/Intactness: Intact
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementNo Action, follow existing management contols05 Mar 05

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanLiverpool LEP 20081529 Aug 08   
Local Environmental Plan - Lapsed 025203 Feb 95 011678

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Liverpool Heritage Study1992LP008Neustein & Associates  No
Liverpool Heritage Study Review20041970096FORM architects aust pty ltdHelen Davies & Fred Ramos Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenJ M Collocott1985National Trust Classification Report- Sydney Water Supply Upper Canal
WrittenW V Aird1961"The Water Supply Sewerage and Drainage of Sydney"

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1970096


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