Tank Stream | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Tank Stream

Item details

Name of item: Tank Stream
Other name/s: Tank Stream Fountain Circular Quay
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Utilities - Water
Category: Spring
Location: Lat: -33.8646525465 Long: 151.2084435630
Primary address: , Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: St James
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
CROWN LAND    
LOT13 DP1010601
LOT10 DP1027838
LOT11 DP1027838
LOT103 DP1044917
LOTA DP109825
LOTB DP109825
LOT52 DP1102608
LOT52 DP1102608
LOT1 DP113509
VOL15504 FOL118
LOT3 DP185472
LOT1 DP186488
VOL15154 FOL214
LOT1 DP217877
LOT1 DP217877
LOT1 DP220830
LOT1 DP220830
LOT1 DP221701
LOT1 DP223087
LOT2 DP223087
LOT1 DP225060
LOT2 DP225060
LOT1 DP225060A
LOT2 DP225060A
LOT1 DP225060B
LOT1 DP225221
LOT2 DP22560B
VOL13767 FOL230
LOT6 DP2885
LOT6 DP2885
LOT7 DP2885
LOT8 DP2885
   CP/SP50276
LOT1 SP50276
LOT10 SP50276
LOT11 SP50276
LOT12 SP50276
LOT13 SP50276
LOT14 SP50276
LOT15 SP50276
LOT16 SP50276
LOT17 SP50276
LOT18 SP50276
LOT19 SP50276
LOT2 SP50276
LOT20 SP50276
LOT21 SP50276
LOT22 SP50276
LOT23 SP50276
LOT24 SP50276
LOT25 SP50276
LOT26 SP50276
LOT27 SP50276
LOT28 SP50276
LOT29 SP50276
LOT3 SP50276
LOT30 SP50276
LOT31 SP50276
LOT32 SP50276
LOT33 SP50276
LOT34 SP50276
LOT35 SP50276
LOT36 SP50276
LOT37 SP50276
LOT38 SP50276
LOT39 SP50276
LOT4 SP50276
LOT40 SP50276
LOT41 SP50276
LOT42 SP50276
LOT43 SP50276
LOT44 SP50276
LOT45 SP50276
LOT46 SP50276
LOT47 SP50276
LOT48 SP50276
LOT49 SP50276
LOT5 SP50276
LOT50 SP50276
LOT51 SP50276
LOT52 SP50276
LOT53 SP50276
LOT6 SP50276
LOT7 SP50276
LOT8 SP50276
LOT9 SP50276
LOT1 DP537286
LOT1 DP544167
LOT1 DP597671
LOT2 DP597691
LOTS1-5 CP/SP60693
   CP/SP6119
LOT1 SP6119
LOT10 SP6119
LOT11 SP6119
LOT12 SP6119
LOT13 SP6119
LOT14 SP6119
LOT15 SP6119
LOT16 SP6119
LOT17 SP6119
LOT18 SP6119
LOT2 SP6119
LOT3 SP6119
LOT4 SP6119
LOT5 SP6119
LOT6 SP6119
LOT7 SP6119
LOT8 SP6119
LOT9 SP6119
LOT1 DP61538
LOT1 DP61671
LOT1 DP628553
LOT1 DP630190
LOT1 DP63968
PART LOT3 DP787934
PART LOT4 DP787934
LOT1 DP81535
LOT2 DP850895
LOT1 DP857993
LOT1 DP85863
LOT1 DP86265
LOT101 DP872734
LOT10 DP875336
LOT1 DP926324
LOT1 DP926326
LOT1 DP962325

Boundary:

The Tank Stream together with a curtilage of 3 metres from all surfaces as shown by heavy black on plan catalogued H.C. 1665, in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 SydneySydneySt JamesCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Sydney WaterState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Tank Stream is significant because it was the reason the First Fleet settlement was established in Sydney Cove, and therefore influenced the future shape of Sydney over two centuries. It is linked in the public mind with the period of first European settlement and retains value as an iconic representation of that period and is interpreted as a metaphor of the period of contact and early urban settlement in Australia.

The Tank Stream itself has retained an identity through the functional changes from being a fresh water supply, through subsequent use as combined sewer and stormwater drain to its current function as a stormwater drain. It is an important survivor of the first period of organised and integrated water management in an Australian city. The stone-cut water tanks, which may survive archaeologically, are important symbols of the reliance upon water in the colony, both in absolute terms and as an indication of the fragility of the European presence in Australia.

The surviving fabric documents mid-nineteenth century sanitation design and construction, and subsequent changes in methods and also the theory of urban wastewater management. This evidence is preserved in the drain enclosing the Tank Stream, in physical evidence of change, and may also be present archaeologically in buried parts of the Tank Stream line.
The archaeological evidence of the Tank Stream has the potential to contain deposits that can contain information about pre-human and pre-urban environments in Sydney, Aboriginal occupation and early non-indigenous occupation of Sydney. The fabric enclosing the watercourse demonstrates one of the most comprehensive collections of hydrological technology in Australia.

The sections of the former Tank Stream south of King Street which survive have potential for retaining evidence of the earliest periods of its human use, although this is likely to have been severely compromised by development. The swampy source of the stream may provide evidence of past environmental conditions. (Tank Stream Conservation Management Plan, Sydney Water Date : June 2003)
Date significance updated: 31 May 06
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

Designer/Maker: various
Builder/Maker: various
Physical description: The surviving fabric of the Tank Stream is extant from King Street in the south at a point between Pitt and George Streets to Circular Quay in the north.

The Stream has been blocked at a point just south of King Street and for 13 metres north of this point represents the 1866 open sewer, which was covered in 1876. The dimensions are 810mm broad by 1220mm high. Between King Street and Martin Place (163 metres) there are three phases of construction, beginning with a modern concrete pipe (750mm diameter), the section approaching the GPO is part of the historic oviform sewer (810 by 1220mm) and lastly a stainless steel box-profile pipe (1070 by 750mm). The section between Martin and Angel Places returns to the 1866 brick open drains enclosed in 1876. This form continues between Angel Place and Hunter Street for 95 metres before being interrupted by a 36 metre section of modern cement lined pipe laid in 1962 and a steel section laid in 1958 and 1978 (both are 1350mm).

From Hunter to Bond Street the Stream is a semi-circular stone arch with a shallow V shaped floor for 35 metres (1500 by 3000mm). The 1790 cut tanks were originally located in this area, but are not thought to have survived. For the following 86 metres, below Australia Square, the original sewer has been replaced with concrete box-profile pipe (1220 by 1830mm), inserted during the construction of the Square in 1962. The Australia Square Tower basement houses the access to Tank Stream for public tours and as an inspection point for Sydney Water.

The boxed concrete section (1220 by 1830mm) continues from Bond Street to Abercrombie Lane, a distance of 60 metres. Tank Stream between Abercrombie Lane and Bridge Street, a length of 40 metres, is of c.1860 semi-circular stone arch (1500 by 3000mm). From Bridge Street Tank Stream diverts to run under Pitt Street to Circular Quay, a length of 185 metres. Beginning with a stone oviform sewer of 810mm by 1220mm, constructed in c.1878, the shape changes to a semi-elliptic stone arch of 3000mm and varying between 1100 and 1400mm.
Modifications and dates: 1788-1826: Clearing of vegetation within the vicinity of stream, construction of dwellings, grazing and watering of animals.
1790: Cutting of tanks for water storage
1790: Chiselling of stone and inset of additional slabs into base of stream to improve flow in a shallow V profile.
1791: Enclosure within a fence against livestock and trespass.
1792: First bridge crossing.
1810: Cut-off drains along side of Tank Stream channel to reduce inflow of polluted stormwater
1826: Tank Stream disallowed for drinking by Governor Brisbane. Governor Darling arranged for seven wells to be dug in the city. Governor Darling employed people to repair existing sewers.
1832: Construction of sewers seriously discussed.
1833: Water from partly built Busby's Bore used to pipe water to ships.
1842: City Council incorporated.
c.1850: Semi Circular Quay was formed which necessitated the extension of the Tank Stream for the area north of Bridge St.
1855: Brickworks at Newtown was purchased, along with vitreous clay pipes and Roman Cement.
1857: Work completed on first part of the Bennelong Sewer to discharge sewage as far out as possible into the harbour. This would service the more elevated areas, whereas the Tank Stream in Hunter St and King St as a bolted cast iron oviform aqueduct. This sewer (and possibly stormwater) network had the effect of draining the swamp area that had previously supplied some water to the Tank Stream, making the Tank stream more polluted by being less 'cleansed'.
The section of the Tank Stream from the Sydney Cove to the Interception Chamber in Pitt St was completed, approx. 200m. The section at the mouth (approx. 5m has been strengthened with concrete in the two filleted corners. The next 10 m is sandstone arch. The next 15m section has the original stone floor overlaid with concrete, date unknown. The remaining section up to the Interception Champer (approx. 170m) is sandstone arch.
1858: Independent outfalls also completed at Woolloomooloo, Hay Street and Black Wattle Bay. Over the next 20 years, approx 10 other minor outlets were also opened.
1860: The sandstone arch between Bridge St and Hunter St was constructed. This was done to reduce odours from the previously open sewer/stormwater that up until that time had been more of a slops line.
1866: Section from south of Hunter St to Martin Place was formed as an open stone channel. In late 1870s was converted by roofing with an arch to oviform, whereas more southerly section was oviform invert with a flat roof, where it passes under Challis House. (With northerly section, there were minor alterations in 1878). (The whole of this was replaced by a concrete pipe in 1962 and a steel pipe in 1958). (Other parts were replaced in 2001 as part of the Angel Place project).
Two sections were laid as oviform through the future GPO.
To the south, two sections were laid as brick oviform and with some amendments in 1878.
1878: The brick oviform section from the Interception Chamber to Bridge St was constructed by contract for the City council. This was built to replace the open section that ran through private property. At the southern end there is a transition section (reducer), which leads to the sandstone arch, which is in Tank Stream Way (formerly Hamilton St.).
1879: The section from Bridge St to Hunter St, with its sandstone arch roof in place has its floor slabs lifted and re-instated with mortar foundations to water proof the floor for its use as a sewer. In addition a terra cotta 'scouring channel' was cut into the centre of the floor
The section immediately upstream of Hunter St was built as oviform. This included a terra cotta flow channel.
The next section upstream was also constructed. It was a bottom only oviform, and part of it was built underneath an existing stone arch bridge. (The whole of this section, including the stone arch bridge, seems to have been removed in c.1960).
1880: Brick oviform was constructed for the full width of King St and terminating.
1898: SPS [Sewerage Pumping Station] 16 constructed. the section immediately downstream of the interception chamber, has an interception pipe leading to SPS 16 form the tidal weir.
1940: Section just upstream of Martin Place was replaced with concrete pipe under the GPO in 1940. This replaced 1866 brick oviform.
1951: Stormwater drainages charges were introduced for parts of the City of Sydney from 16/11/1951.
1958: Replacement, at the rear of 105-107 Pitt St.
1962: Replacement, at rear of Commercial Union House [south end of Pitt St.]
1965: Replacement within Australia Square. Construction of Tank Stream visitor access space.
1975: Replacement within basement of New Zealand Insurance Building [North of Bond St.]
2001: Replacement in Former GPO site.
2002: Replacement within Angel Place project.

Taken directly from Sydney Water CMP 2005, p.32-33
Current use: Stormwater drainage tunnel, water course
Former use: Aboriginal land, stream

History

Historical notes: The history of Tank Stream incorporates aboriginal use of the land; the history of European settlement; the natural forming stream as a water supply; and its later use for waste disposal and as a part of the stormwater system.

The Gadigal (or Cadigal) people were the Aboriginal group most commonly accepted to have lived around the Sydney Cove area prior to European arrival. The catchment area around Tank Stream provided "a range of environments- marine, estuarine, rock platform, creek, open forest, wetland" all located within a short distance and able to provide a range of food and material.

The First Fleet's settlement at Botany Bay was shifted to Port Jackson in 1788 largely because of the presence of a stream (later known as Tank Stream) that appeared to be a constant water source, though it was unable to consistently provide water in dry weather. The stream also played a role in dividing the settlement, with the eastern side being held for government and administrative functions and convicts living on the western side.

In 1790 Tanks were cut into the bedrock of the stream (hence the name), the number of tanks is believed to be three or four, and are thought to have held 20,000 litres and been 5m deep.

As early as 1791 Governor Phillip enclosed the Tank Stream with a fence in an attempt to prevent stock muddying the water; and later, trenches were cut alongside the stream in an attempt to catch runoff before it could enter the stream. Yet due the increasing population; number of buildings around the stream and the loss of trees as land was cleared, runoff increased, which included human and animal wastes and domestic products. In 1795 orders were made to prevent the grazing of stock or cutting of trees within a 15m distance of the stream. These measures were ultimately unsuccessful. [Sydney Water, 2003, p. 24-25]

In 1792 a stone arch bridge over Tank Stream was constructed, replacing existing wooden structures. Its foundations may survive within the streambed under modern Bridge Street.

Tank Stream was the main source of fresh water until the completion of Busby's Bore in 1837. [Sydney Water, 2003, p. 24] Other dams were later added within the catchment area of Lachlan Swamps; now located within Centennial Park. Yet by 1826 Tank Stream had become an unofficial sewer, it became an official sewer in 1857. This (and other) sewers discharged directly into the harbour; a situation that created discontent as social attitudes changed.

The form of the open channels was generally a convict period shallow V profile which assisted in improving the flow of the stream; in the late 1850s work commenced in covering the Bridge Street- Hunter Street section of Tank Stream. This was necessary to reduce smells. The form of the channel was a mixture of stone and brick in the lower half, with a sandstone arch roof. Later sections were also roofed, generally with an arch to oviform.

Prior to 1888 Tank Stream also carried salt water, stored in council reservoirs for the purpose of street cleaning and dust suppression. Salt water was used to minimise the use of fresh water supplies.

Over the past century, Tank Stream has remained a part of the stormwater channel within the Sydney system. Changes to the channel have been largely restricted to replacing sections with modern pipe. This has destroyed a number of sections of the channel and is largely tied to post-World War II redevelopment where little regard was paid to the historic value of the Tank Stream (Sydney Water, 2003).

In 1988 the then Water Board, in cooperation with Lend Lease Corporation, opened the Tank Streatm for public tours in February. Today the Tank Stream carries stormwater. Until now, access had been limited to a small number of interested groups, because entry was only possible through manholes in busy city streets. Public access during dry weather is now relatively easy. Visitors use a lightweight ladder to enter the tunnel and walk about 100m along a section of the Tank Stream, between Australia Square and Hunter Street. They will tread the sandstone base of the stream cut in 1790 and pass under a sandstone arch, before the tunnel narrows to become an egg-shaped structure. Access is off Curtin Place, on the south-eastern corner of Australia Square. Suitable lighting and ventilation are provided for the tours (HCoNSW, 1988, 10).

Redevelopment of the General Post Office site allowed further investigation of the Tank Stream and has provided information on the building development of the Tank Stream over time. Brick drains, possibly dated pre 1820, were found. A further search revealed soil from the original Tank Stream bed (Sydney Water, 2003). As part of the GPO redevelopment, a cheese room in the lowest level of the building allows visitors to see a small section of the Tank Stream below that building (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 24/5/2019).

See Modification Dates for a summary of structural works.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Environment/Contact: What do we know of the Contact Environment?-Environment (Natural) Control
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. River flats-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. All nations - place of first contact between Aboriginal and European peoples-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. Cadigal tribe - Eora nation-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Free/Forced: What differences are there between the lives of free and forced or institutionalised settlers?-Convicts Convict; Control
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Convict labour-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Working for the Crown-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Demonstrating convicts' experiences and activities-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Sydney and Australian Landmark-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Significant Places How are significant places marked in the landscape by, or for, different groups-Monuments and Sites
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Unseen but Present-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of urban amenity-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of cultural and natural interaction-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Providing a venue for significant events-
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 Providing sewerage systems-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Early land grants-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from suburban to urban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Naming places (toponymy)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Expressing lines of early grant allotments-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Townships-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Stone Wall-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Administering and alienating Crown lands-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Planning relationships between key structures and town plans-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing private towns-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Urban landscapes inspiring creative responses-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 18th century town and settlement developments-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th Century Infrastructure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing ports-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Suburban Consolidation-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Providing drinking water-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Providing sewers and stormwater outlets-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working at enforced labour-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Colonial government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Officials and the military settlers-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. State government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - administration of land-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - administering a public health system-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - building and operating public infrastructure-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Public works-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Industrial buildings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - colonial vernacular-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. work of stonemasons-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Interior design styles and periods - Colonial-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - colonial period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Vernacular structures and building techniques-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Adaptation of overseas design for local use-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Creating an icon-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to natural landscape features.-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing structures to emphasise their important roles-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1788-1850-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Tourism-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Belonging to an historical society or heritage organisation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Places of informal community gatherings-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Governor (later Adm.) Arthur Phillip, 1788-1792,-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Tank Stream is significant because it was the reason the First Fleet settlement was established in Sydney Cove, and therefore influenced the future shape of Sydney over two centuries. It is linked in the public mind with the period of first European settlement and retains value as an iconic representation of that period and is interpreted as a metaphor of the period of contact and early urban settlement in Australia.

The Tank Stream itself has retained an identity through the functional changes from being a fresh water supply, through subsequent use as combined sewer and stormwater drain to its current function as a stormwater drain. It is an important survivor of the first period of organised and integrated water management in an Australian city. The stone-cut water tanks, which may survive archaeologically, are important symbols of the reliance upon water in the colony, both in absolute terms and as an indication of the fragility of the European presence in Australia.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The original watercourse and catchment would have provided a resource for exploitation by the Gadigal people who occupied the southern shore of Sydney Harbour at contact and their ancestors. As a result of the severity of this displacement the Tank Stream has become symbolic of the European settlers immediate appropriation of essential resources and Aboriginal dispossession.

The Tank Stream influenced, and has been influenced by, Governor Phillip and subsequent early governors of the Australian colony. The course of the stream determined Phillip's siting of the first camp and this early administrative decision influenced the subsequent urban form of Sydney (Sydney Water 2005:65).
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Tank Stream features fine quality stonemasonry and brickwork from the nineteenth century, houman scale and an intriguing form showing layers of different phases of construction. This includes modifications introduced to improve the operation, e.g. terracotta drains (Sydney Water 2005:65).
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Tank Stream is of State significance for its recognition in the community with the placement of Sydney in its current location, as evidenced by the popularity of tours. Community value of the Stream has increased with the growth of heritage consciousness since the 1970s.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The sections of the former Tank Stream south of King Street which survive have potential for retaining evidence of the earliest periods of its human use. This includes early construction, brickmaking and waterproofing techniques. The swampy source of the stream may provide evidence of past environmental conditions and potentially of Aboriginal occupation prior to European arrival.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Tank Stream is of State significance as the only water source available to the First Fleet arrival in their settlement of Sydney. Tank Stream is the only surviving evidence of this early period of water resource development.

The fabric of the Tanks Tream and its enclosing stormwater drain contains rare surviving evidence of the eighteenth and nineteenth century water supply and sewerage construction in the one linear site (Sydney Water 2005:69).
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Tank Stream is representative of a significant collection of water and wastewater heritage assets from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. From the operational perspective the Tank Stream competently serves as a stormwater drain, from the historical and social perspective, the Tank Stream serves to represent the system and Sydney Water as a whole, as its most high profile, historic and valued heritage item.

The fabric of the Tank Stream and of the enclosing stormwater drain is representative of a range of technologies associated with water reticulation, sewerage and drainage for a period of two centuries (Sydney Water 2005:70).
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act See File For Schedule


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
The Sydney Water Board's operational and maintenance requirements which could involve some modification to inlets, provided that such modifications do not significantly affect the historic fabric or integrity of the Tank Stream.

Eradication of noxious plants and animals.
Jun 2 1989
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementTank Stream Conservation Management Plan, prepared by Sydney Water for Sydney Water, hand dated July 2003 Conservation Management Plan endorsed 22 February 2005 for a period of five years Feb 22 2005
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0063602 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0063602 Jun 89 693307

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Tank Stream View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Tank Stream View detail
WrittenHeritage Council of NSW1988Wading through History
WrittenSydney Water2005Tank Stream: Conservation Management Plan

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

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045604
File number: S90/04382; 10/01313


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