Sewage Pumping Station No 56 (SP0056) | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Sewage Pumping Station No 56 (SP0056)

Item details

Name of item: Sewage Pumping Station No 56 (SP0056)
Other name/s: SPS 56
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Utilities - Sewerage
Category: Sewage Pump House/Pumping Station
Primary address: Bronte Beach, Bronte, NSW 2024
Local govt. area: Waverley
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT306 DP752011


UBD Edition 36 - Map 257, L-8. Curtilage to include the the fabric within and to the boundary of the SWC property on which SPS0056 is located including the superstructure, substructure, ancillary installations (pipework, valves, ventstacks, wet wells, inlet well, etc) but not adjacent buildings.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Bronte BeachBronteWaverley  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Sydney WaterState Government 

Statement of significance:

SP0056 Bronte is of historic, aesthetic and technical/research significance. Historically, it is good example of a low level sewage pumping station constructed in the Inter-War period and is evidence of the advance in the development of local municipal services in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. It is also historically significant for its association with the BOOS system which it serves, and also with the architectural firm of Robertson & Marks who designed the station.

Aesthetically, it is a good example of a small scale Inter- War Mediterranean Revival public utility building which was purpose designed to integrate with what was to be a larger complex of buildings associated with the Bronte Beach public change rooms.

SP0056 has been in continual use as originally designed and constructed for over 75 years as a low level sewage pumping station and has potential as an educational resource to reveal information about sewage pumping technology and architectural taste of the period. The station is a fairly prominent element, located directly behind the surf life saving club at Bronte Beach.
Date significance updated: 10 Dec 00
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.


Designer/Maker: Robertson and Marks Architects
Builder/Maker: Metropolitan Water, Sewerage & Drainage Board
Construction years: 1927-1927
Physical description: SP0056 Bronte, is a low level sewage pumping station located at Bronte Beach. It consists of two distinct parts: a superstructure comprising a small single storey loadbearing brick building; and a circular substructure constructed of concrete which houses machinery and sewage chambers. Architecturally, the building was designed in a utilitarian version of the Inter War Mediterranean Revival style. Externally there is a tiled hip roof with boxed eaves, rendered walls with pilasters and a frieze; roller shutter door with projecting lifting beam over; and multi paned timber double hung windows with splayed rendered sills. Internally, the ceiling is lined with fibre cement sheet and walls are rendered.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Fabric is in fair condition. Arch bars over openings are corroded and cracking render. Archaeological potential medium.
Date condition updated:30 Mar 00
Current use: Low level sewage pumping station


Historical notes: In 1859 Sydney's sewerage system consisted of five outfall sewers which drained to Sydney Harbour. By the 1870's, the Harbour had become grossly polluted and, as a result, the government created the Sydney City and Suburban Health Board to investigate an alternative means of disposing of the City's sewage. This lead to the construction of two gravitation sewers in 1889 by the Public Work Department: a northern sewer being the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer and a southern sewer draining to a sewage farm at Botany Bay. Low lying areas around the Harbour which could not gravitate to the new outfall sewers continued to drain to the old City Council sewers. Low level pumping stations were therefore needed to collect the sewage from such areas and pump it by means of additional sewers known as rising mains, to the main gravitation system. Sydney's low level sewerage system began at the beginning of the 20th century when the Public Works Department built a group of 20 low level pumping stations around the foreshores of the inner harbour and handed them over to the Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage in 1904. Overall, greater Sydney now has over 600 low level sewage pumping stations. The design of SP0056 by the firm of Robertson and Marks was originally part of a much larger civic complex which was never built.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Health-Activities associated with preparing and providing medical assistance and/or promoting or maintaining the well being of humans (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
SP0056 Bronte was commissioned in 1927 and is a low level sewage pumping stations built to serve the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer (BOOS). Its construction evidneces an advance in the development of local municipal services in the eastern suburbs during the inter-war period. It is a unique example of a sewage pumping station designed by contract architects the prominent firm of Robertson & Marks, who also designed SP0055 Bondi Beach which was significantly altered in recent years. The station is a relatively prominant and important element of the cultural landscape of Bronte Beach.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
SP0056 is a good and comparatively rare example of robust and well proportioned small scale industrial building which displays architectural characteristics sympathetic to the Inter War Mediterranean style, including a rendered brick facade, pilasters and multi paned windows.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Item would likely be held in regard by the local community due to its function.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
SP0056 has mechanical components housed within the machinery chamber which may have industrial archaeological value.
SHR Criteria f)
The superstructure of SP0056 was designed by the the firm of Robertson and Marks Architects which originally formed part of a much larger civic precinct which was not built.
SHR Criteria g)
The superstructure is a good example of a small scale Inter War Mediterranean Revival style public utlity building. SP0056 is a representative example of a low level sewage pumping station on the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer.
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:

Where no Conservation Management Plan, Heritage Assessment or Statement of Heritage Impact is in place, or where works are outside the scope existing heritage documentation, assess heritage impacts of proposed works in accordance with Sydney Water Environment Impact Assessment procedures. Undertake a Heritage Assessment and/or Statement of Heritage Impact as required. Liaise with the Sydney Water Heritage Manager when major changes are planned for the item. Undertake archival and photographic recording before major changes, in accordance with Heritage Council guidelines. Lodge copies of the archival record with the Sydney Water Archives and the NSW Heritage Office.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register  01 Jan 00   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Sydney Water Heritage Study1996 Graham Brooks and Associates Pty Ltd  Yes
Heritage Study of the Upper Nepean Scheme1992 Edward Higginbotham & Associates Pty Ltd  No

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4571740

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