Johnston's Creek Sewer Aqueduct | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Johnston's Creek Sewer Aqueduct

Item details

Name of item: Johnston's Creek Sewer Aqueduct
Other name/s: Johnstons Creek Sewer Aqueduct
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Utilities - Sewerage
Category: Sewage Aqueduct
Location: Lat: -33.8798130566 Long: 151.1757732100
Primary address: Taylor Street (Off), Hogan Park, Annandale, NSW 2038
Local govt. area: Leichhardt
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan


The curtilage includes the aqueduct carrier and supporting structure. Refer to Heritage Council Plan 2020.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Taylor Street (Off), Hogan ParkAnnandaleLeichhardt  Primary Address
Nelson Street AnnandaleAnnandaleLeichhardt  Alternate Address
Minogue CrescentAnnandaleLeichhardt  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Sydney WaterState Government27 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

The Johnstons Creek sewage aqueduct was completed in 1897 and is a major and visibly strong component of the Northern Main Sewer extension of the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer. The aqueduct arches and carrier are one of the first major constructions undertaken using reinforced concrete in NSW and one of the first in Australia. The slender proportions of the supporting arches and sewage carrier along with its historic technological value are a major landmark for Sydney. The aqueduct is a major element of the historic built environment of the local area, and a long held part of the recreational reserve . The significant elements are its location within a park setting, technology of construction and past and ongoing use.
Date significance updated: 21 Apr 05
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: J.W. Baltzer, engineer Public Works Department
Builder/Maker: Public Works Department
Construction years: 1897-1897
Physical description: A series of slender reinforced concrete arches supporting the reinforced concrete sewage carrier seated on substantial mass concrete piers situated across Hogan Park through which the stormwater channel of Johnstons Creek is situated. The western terminus of the aqueduct is the western side of Nelson Street (which the aqueduct crosses), where there is a concrete retaining wall and public stairs. The aqueduct then crosses the shallow valley of Johnstons Creek continuing to the eastern terminus near Taylor Street. The aqueduct is a prominent feature within Hogan Park . There is a mature fig street situated close to one of the main central spans, its canopy encroaching over the sewer carrier.
Modifications and dates: Repaired during the mid 1980's, consisting of the insertion of a plastic liner in the flume. The arches are in a stable condition.
Current use: Sewage aqueduct
Former use: Sewage aqueduct


Historical notes: The Johnstons Creek sewage aqueduct was constructed in 1897. The aqueduct was constructed as an extension of the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer (BOOS, completed in 1889) which was then known as the Northern Main Sewer. This sewer carried sewage from the densely populated inner-western suburbs of Balmain, Annandale and Glebe. The sewer necessitated the crossing of the ‘Johnstone’s Creek Valley’ and ‘White’s Creek Valley’ to deliver the sewage to the ocean outfall junction at the Junction of Parramatta and City Roads. The Northern Main Sewer was one of the Board's early major sewer schemes. The section of Northern Main Sewer, which embraces the aqueducts across Johnstone's and White's Creeks, was constructed under Government Contract No. 77 (basically the area between Catherine Street and Minogue Crescent). The design work for this contract was completed by early 1895, and which proposed the sewer be carried on mass concrete and brick arches and a lattice bridge. This scheme was subsequently abandoned in favour of using a carrier and supporting arches of reinforced concrete construction, the contract for which was let in mid 1896. The engineer credited with the design is W.J. Baltzer, an engineer in the Sewerage Branch of the Department of Public Works. Baltzer, a graduate of a German university, worked for the firm Carter Gummow & Co. which held the patent rights for the Monier system of reinforcing concrete. Carter Gummow & Co. were instrumental in bringing reinforced concrete construction to the fore. The design provided for a sewer carrier internally U shaped in section 3-ft. 6-in (1m.) by 4ft. 6-in (1.37 m) constructed in reinforced concrete. The sewer carrier is supported by a series of reinforced concrete arches: There are 8 large spans, each of 81-ft 10-in (25 m.) centre to centre with a clear span of 75-ft (23 m.), and a number of smaller subsidiary arches at the eastern edge. The total length is 924-ft. (281.6 m.). Each of the arches is seated on mass concrete piers.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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]
The aqueduct is particularly associated with the engineer W.J. Baltzer, and the firm Carter Gummow & Co. early advocates of the use of reinforced concrete (the Monier system) in this country, of which this is one. The Johnstons Creek sewage aqueduct is a major and highly visible component of the Northern Main Sewer extension of the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer completed in 1897. The extension provided for the sewerage of the areas of densely populated inner-western suburbs of Balmain, Annandale and Glebe.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The sewage aqueduct is a prominent element in the historic built environment of Leichhardt and Forest Lodge. The aqueduct in consideration of its length, height and slender proportions is an impressive sight, and a landmark in Sydney.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The aqueduct is a major element of the historic built environment of the local government area of Leichhardt and provides a focusfor the contemporary community for an understanding of the historical development of the local area. It is listed by authorities such as the National Trust of Australia (NSW), the Australian Heritage Commission, and the Institution of Engineers (Australia).
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The aqueduct is one of the first major constructions undertaken using reinforced concrete in NSW and one of the first in Australia. The built fabric is therefore a unique repository for the study of the early development of reinforced construction.
SHR Criteria f)
Rare in Australia in consideration of the extent and date of the reinforced construction technique.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative in its function which is widespread across Sydney.
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 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 0132518 Nov 99   
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register 215183   
National Trust of Australia register      
Register of the National Estate     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Sydney Water Heritage Study1996215183Graham Brooks and Associates Pty LtdGRAHAM BROOKS AND ASSOCIATED PTY LTD 1 July 1996 Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Smith Hogan and Spindlers Park View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Smith Hogan and Spindlers Park View detail

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: 5051426

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