Bankstown Reservoir (Elevated) | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Bankstown Reservoir (Elevated)

Item details

Name of item: Bankstown Reservoir (Elevated)
Other name/s: WS 0007
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Utilities - Water
Category: Water Supply Reservoir/ Dam
Location: Lat: -33.9055332066 Long: 151.0394851390
Primary address: Beresford Avenue, Bankstown, NSW 2200
Parish: Liberty Plains
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Bankstown
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP744542
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Beresford AvenueBankstownBankstownLiberty PlainsCumberlandPrimary Address
Hume HighwayBankstownBankstown  Alternate Address
Liverpool RoadBankstownBankstown  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Sydney WaterState Government27 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

Bankstown Elevated Reservoir has a considerable level of state heritage significance as a representative example of a common reservoir design strongly favoured by Board engineers during the early period of the twentieth century. It is the oldest elevated reservoir constructed in reinforced concrete that is still in use. At the time of its construction it was the largest elevated reinforced concrete reservoir, and symbolised the technological advancements of the time. It displays decorative and formal architectural qualities and shows a high level of workmanship and technical accomplishment. It has several features which distinguish it from other elevated reservoirs of this type, including; the central concrete access tower; the concrete footbridge connecting the tower to the walkway and which encircles the perimeter of the top bank; and the mercury U-shaped tube depth gauge. It is currently still in active service and makes a positive contribution to the streetscape of Bankstown.
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: Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage
Builder/Maker: Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage
Construction years: 1920-1920
Physical description: Bankstown Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 7) is a large reinforced concrete reservoir. Unlike the other concrete elevated reservoirs in this group, the reservoir has a number of decorative elements and does not possess stepped sides. The arches have mouldings and a circular motif above each column, the base of the tank has a moulded apron with rectangular panels above. The rim of the reservoir is also moulded. Instead of a handrail at the top, the reservoir has a concrete rectangular panelled parapet wall. Standard features include: davit, trigonometric station and inlet and outlet valve chambers. The depth of water was originally measured by a mercury depth gauge at the base of the spiral staircase in the central tower. Plantings include: brush box, coral tree, poplar, fig and native species.
Modifications and dates: The reservoir has been roofed to safeguard water quality (1960s-1970s).
Current use: Reservoir
Former use: Reservoir


Historical notes: Bankstown:
This area was selected for settlement by Governor Hunter, who named it Banks Town in honour of eminent botanist, Sir Joseph Banks. In 1795 George Bass and Matthew Flinders had explored the Georges River, named after King George III, the reigning monarch. They sailed along what would later be the southern boundary of the municipality. They reported their findings and were given land grants in the Georges Hall area. Bass received the first grant in 1798, of 100 acres in the vicinity of the present Hazel and Flinders Streets. He did not farm it, and eventually it reverted to the Crown. Flinders' grant was alongside Bass'. He bought more land, until he held 300 acres, but did not farm it. Lieutenant Shortland and Surveyor James Meehan also got grants. By 1799, 1200 acres on both banks of the river had been granted to marines and ex-convicts.

The area developed slowly, as it was isolated from both Sydney and Parramatta. After Liverpool Road was constructed in 1814 it began to develop rapidly, and settlements grew up along the road. Bushrangers were a problem, and in Bankstown's early days, two, Patrick Sullivan and James Moran, were hung on makeshift gallows on the site of the present Bankstown Water Tower. A few days several of their companions were also hung there. They were probably interred in nearby unconsecrated land.

In 1831 Michael Ryan was granted 100 acres in Bankstown, which included this site, and for many years the area was called Ryan's Paddock.

The Church of England School established here in 1862, becoming the first public school in 1868, but was moved to North Bankstown in 1913. The first post office opened in 1863, but closed in 1918 (Pollen & Healy, 1988, 19).

Bankstown Reservoir:
Bankstown Elevated reservoir was constructed in 1920 to deliver water to the higher areas of Bankstown, and ran parallel to the ridge along which the Hume Highway runs. Prior to the construction of this reservoir, water was directed to the Hermitage Reservoir at Ryde, completed in 1910. At the time of its construction, it was the largest elevated concrete reservoir, with a capacity of 2.2megalitres. Currently, it has the distinction of being the oldest elevated reservoir which is constructed entirely from reinforced concrete. It is still in operation. Telstra currently hold a lease on a portion of the property, DP No. 834597.

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 (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)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Providing drinking water-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Architectural detailing like that on Bankstown Reservoir is rare. Only a few reservoirs have a similar level of detailing.
SHR Criteria f)
One of a small group of elevated concrete reservoirs on a concrete pier stand in the SWC system. One of only a few reservoirs in the SWC system with a high level of architectural detailing.
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
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementBankstown Reservoir (WS0007) CMP, prepared by Sydney Water for Sydney Water, dated August 2005 CMP endorsed by the Heritage Council on 23 September 2005 for a period of five years, expires 23 September 2010. Sep 23 2005
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
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.

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


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0131618 Nov 99   
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register 120105   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Sydney Water Heritage Study1996120105Graham Brooks and Associates Pty LtdGRAHAM BROOKS AND ASSOCIATES PTY LTD 1 July 1996 Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenPollen, Francis & Healy, Gerald1988Bankstown entry, in 'The Book of Sydney Suburbs'
WrittenSydney Water Corporation2009Bankstownreservoir : archival digital photographic record
Management Plan (HC endorsed)Sydney Water Corporation.2005Bankstown reservoir (WS0007) : Conservation management plan

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5051417
File number: EF14/4351; 10/2287; H04/326

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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