Upper Canal System (Pheasants Nest Weir to Prospect Reservoir) | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Upper Canal System (Pheasants Nest Weir to Prospect Reservoir)

Item details

Name of item: Upper Canal System (Pheasants Nest Weir to Prospect Reservoir)
Other name/s: includes the Southern Railway Aqueduct; Cataract Tunnel; water supply
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Utilities - Water
Category: Water Supply Canal
Location: Lat: -33.91548201400 Long: 150.828630839
Primary address: , Prospect, NSW 2148
Local govt. area: Blacktown
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Tharawal
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT11 DP1055232
LOT12 DP1055232
PART LOT1 DP1062094
LOT1 DP1086624
LOT2 DP1086624
LOT1 DP1086645
LOT2 DP1086645
LOT2 DP1086648
LOT1 DP596351
LOT2 DP596351
LOT2 DP596352
LOT1 DP596353
LOT2 DP596353
LOT1 DP596354
LOT1 DP596355
LOT1 DP603946
LOT2 DP603946
LOT3 DP603946
LOT1 DP610145
LOT1 DP610146
LOT1 DP613552
LOT1 DP616147
LOT2 DP616147
LOT1 DP616271
LOT2 DP616271
LOT1 DP619850
LOT2 DP619850
LOT1 DP623825
LOT2 DP623825
LOT1 DP625921
LOT2 DP625921
LOT3 DP625921
LOT1 DP717439
LOT2 DP717439
LOT3 DP717439
LOT1 DP719962
LOT2 DP719962
LOT3 DP719962
LOT1 DP725231
LOT1 DP730136
LOT2 DP730136
LOT3 DP730136
LOT1 DP732571
LOT2 DP732571
LOT1 DP744563
LOT1 DP744620
LOT1 DP744834
LOT1 DP744927
LOT51 DP811015
LOT1 DP910746
LOT1 DP910751
LOT1 DP910752
LOT1 DP913122
LOT1 DP980178
LOT2 DP980178
LOT3 DP980178
LOT4 DP980178
LOT1 DP986715

Boundary:

The Upper Canal forms a major component of the Upper Nepean Scheme. The Upper Nepean Scheme supplies water from the Cataract River at Broughtons Pass to the Crown Street reservoir, a distance of 63.25 miles. The Upper Canal commences by tunnel from Pheasant's Nest Weir on the Nepean River and extends through the Local Government areas of Wollondilly, Liverpool, Holroyd, Fairfield, Campbelltown and Camden.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 ProspectBlacktown  Primary Address
 WiltonWollondilly  Alternate Address
 West HoxtonLiverpool  Alternate Address
 Denham CourtCampbelltown   Alternate Address
 LeppingtonCamden  Alternate Address
 Catherine FieldCamden  Alternate Address
 Currans HillCamden  Alternate Address
 Mount AnnanCamden  Alternate Address
 GileadCampbelltown   Alternate Address
 AppinWollondilly  Alternate Address
 Horsley ParkFairfield  Alternate Address
 Cecil ParkLiverpool  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Water NSWState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Upper Canal System is significant as a major component of the Upper Nepean Scheme. As an element of this Scheme, the Canal has functioned as part of Sydney's main water supply system since 1888. Apart from maintenance and other improvements, the Upper Canal has changed little.

As part of this System, the Canal is associated with Edward Moriarty, Head of the Harbours and Rivers Branch of the NSW Public Works Department.

The Canal is aesthetically significant, running in a serpentine route through a rural bushland setting as an impressive landscape element with sandstone and concrete-lined edges;

The Canal is significant as it demonstrates the techniques of canal building, and evidence of engineering practice. The Canal as a whole is an excellent example of 19th century hydraulic engineering, including the use of gravity to feed water along the canal (BCubed Sustainability, 2/2006).

The Upper Nepean Scheme is significant because:
* In its scope and execution, it is a unique and excellent example of the ingenuity of late 19th century hydraulic engineering in Australia, in particular for its design as a gravity-fed water supply system.
* It has functioned as a unique part of the main water supply system for Sydney for over 100 years, and has changed little in its basic principles since the day it was completed.
* It represented the major engineering advance from depending on local water sources to harvesting water in upland catchment areas, storing it in major dams and transporting it the city by means of major canals and pipelines.
* It provides detailed and varied evidence of the engineering construction techniques prior to the revolution inspired by reinforced concrete construction, of the evolution of these techniques (such as the replacement of timber flumes with wrought iron and then concrete flumes), and of the early use of concrete for many engineering purposes in the system.
* The scheme possesses many elements of infrastructure which are of world and national renown in technological and engineering terms.
* Many of the structural elements are unique to the Upper Nepean Scheme.

(Edward Higginbotham & Associates, SCA Heritage and Conservation Register, 18 December 2000)
Date significance updated: 22 Apr 10
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: Edward Orpen Moriarty, the Engineer in Chief of the Harbours and Rivers Branch, Dpt. Of Public Works
Builder/Maker: NSW Department of Public Works
Construction years: 1880-1888
Physical description: Upper Nepean Scheme consisted of:
- two diversion weirs in the Upper Nepean River at Pheasant's Nest and Broughton's Pass, collecting water from the four major dams on Cataract, Cordeaux, Nepean and Avon Rivers;
- water feeding into The Upper Canal, a 64km-long series of tunnels, canals and aqueducts, feeding by gravity to;
- a reservoir at Prospect.

The Upper Canal System is an integral element of the Upper Nepean Scheme and is the man-made section of the Scheme between Pheasant's Nest Weir and Prospect Reservoir. It still operates as a gravity supply.

The Canal was built using a variety of materials and structure types to suit the nature of the countryside through which it was passing. Above ground the water was channelled in open canal sections.

Where the ground was soft the Canal was V-shaped and lined with shale or sandstone. In other sections, it was U-shaped and lined with sandstone masonry or left unlined where the Canal cut through solid rock.

Where the water had to pass through hills or rises, tunnels were excavated and left unlined where they passed through rock and lined with brick where they cut through softer material.

Over creeks and other deep depressions, the water moved through wrought iron aqueducts.

Other original design features included:
- stop boards to allow sections of the Canal to be closed for cleaning and repair;
- flumes to ensure that stormwater from surrounding lands did not enter the Canal to pollute;
- bridges to carry major roads; and
- 'occupation bridges' to allow access for property owners.

Residences:
Throughout the late-19th and early 20th century the water supply through the scheme was managed by a resident engineer who lived on site in various locations over time including Prospect Reservoir, Potts Hill and Pipe head.
Maintenance men and inspectors were living along the Canal housed in cottages owned by the Water Board. There were also valve controllers living at the weirs at the southern end and Prospect Reservoir in the north, to regulate the discharge of water along the Scheme. Most of these houses have been demolished, but the sites of some remain in archaeological form (GAO, 2018, 24).
Date condition updated:13 Feb 06
Modifications and dates: A 54" diameter woodstave main was built from the Upper Canal at the 39 mile point to take water directly to Pipe Head basin. In 1937 it was replaced with permanent 72" diameter steel main between the Upper Canal at Prospect Reservoir and Pipe Head (Guildford). In 1958 when water from Warragamba (Dam) became available an 84" diameter steel pipeline was commissioned. The 1920s and 30s also saw construction of a range of new over-bridges and flumes, improving access and water quality. Another phase of bridge and flume upgrades occurred in the 1970s and 80s. The cottages occupied by maintenance staff along the Canal appear to have passed out of use at this time (ibid, 2018, 26).

In the 2000s all of the trash racks at the tunnel and aqueduct portals were replaced and new safety railing installed at various points along the Canal system to ensure safer working conditions for operational staff. This period also saw a range of works to prevent or rectify impacts of coal mining subsidence including propping and re-lining of aqueducts, propping and repairs to collapsed or unstable sections of open canal and temporary raising of the freeboard (ibid, 2018, 26).
Current use: water supply system
Former use: Aboriginal land; private farm land, industry

History

Historical notes: Aboriginal & European settler history:
The area of Prospect Reservoir is an area of known Aboriginal occupation, with favourable camping locations along the Eastern Creek and Prospect Creek catchments, and in elevated landscapes to the south. There is also evidence to suggest that the occupation of these lands continued after European contact, through discovery of intermingled glass and stone flakes in archaeological surveys of the place. The area was settled by Europeans by 1789.

Prospect Hill, Sydney's largest body of igneous rock, lies centrally in the Cumberland Plain and dominates the landscape of the area (Ashton, 2000). Very early after first settlement, on 26 April 1788, an exploration party heading west led by Governor Phillip, climbed Prospect Hill. An account by Phillip states that the exploration party saw from Prospect Hill, 'for the first time since we landed Carmathen Hills (Blue Mountains) as likewise the hills to the southward'. Phillip's 'Bellevue' (Prospect Hill) acquired considerable significance for the new settlers. Prospect Hill provided a point from which distances could be meaningfully calculated, and became a major reference point for other early explorers (Karskens 1991). When Watkin Tench made another official journey to the west in 1789, he began his journey with reference to Prospect Hill, which commanded a view of the great chain of mountains to the west. A runaway convict, George Bruce, used Prospect Hill as a hideaway from soldiers in the mid-1790s.

During the initial struggling years of European settlement in NSW, Governor Phillip began to settle time-expired convicts on the land as farmers, after the success of James Ruse at Rose Hill (Higginbotham 2000). On 18 July 1791 Phillip placed a number of men on the eastern and southern slopes of Prospect Hill, as the soils weathered from the basalt cap were richer than the sandstone derived soils of the Cumberland Plain. The grants, mostly 30 acres, encircled Prospect Hill (Ashton 2000). The settlers included William Butler, James Castle, Samuel Griffiths, John Herbert, George Lisk, Joseph Morley, John Nicols, William Parish and Edward Pugh (Higginbotham 2000).

The arrival of the first settlers prompted the first organised Aboriginal resistance to the spread of settlement, with the commencement of a violent frontier conflict in which Pemulwuy and his Bidjigal clan played a central role (Flynn 1997). On 1 May 1801 Governor King took drastic action, issuing a public order requiring that Aboriginal people around Parramatta, Prospect Hill and Georges River should be 'driven back from the settlers' habitations by firing at them'. Kings edicts appear to have encouraged a shoot-on-sight attitude whenever any Aboriginal men, women or children appeared (Flynn 1997).

With the death of Pemulwuy, the main resistance leader, in 1802, Aboriginal resistance gradually diminished near Parramatta, although outer areas were still subject to armed hostilities. Prompted by suggestions to the Reverend Marsden by local Prospect Aboriginal groups that a conference should take place 'with a view of opening the way to reconciliation', Marsden promptly organised a meeting near Prospect Hill. (ibid 1997). At the meeting, held on 3 May 1805, local Aboriginal representatives discussed with Marsden ways of ending the restrictions and indiscriminate reprisals inflicted on them by soldiers and settlers in response to atrocities committed by other Aboriginal clans (ibid 1997). The meeting was significant because a group of Aboriginal women and a young free settler at Prospect named John Kennedy acted as intermediaries. The conference led to the end of the conflict for the Aboriginal clans around Parramatta and Prospect (Karskens 1991). This conference at Prospect on Friday 3 May 1805 is a landmark in Aboriginal/European relations. Macquarie's 'Native Feasts' held at Parramatta from 1814 followed the precedent set in 1805. The Sydney Gazette report of the meeting is notable for the absence of the sneering tone that characterised its earlier coverage of Aboriginal matters (ibid 1997).

From its commencement in 1791 with the early settlement of the area, agricultural use of the land continued at Prospect Hill. Much of the land appears to have been cleared by the 1820s and pastoral use of the land was well established by then. When Governor Macquarie paid a visit to the area in 1810, he was favourably impressed by the comfortable conditions that had been created (Pollon & Healy, 1988, 210).

Nelson Lawson, third son of explorer William Lawson (1774-1850), married Honoria Mary Dickinson and before 1837 built "Greystanes House" as their future family home on the western side of Prospect Hill. Lawson had received the land from his father, who had been granted 500 acres here by the illegal government that followed the overthrow of Governor Bligh in 1808.

Governor Macquarie confirmed the grant, where William Lawson had built a house, which he called "Veteran Hall", because he had a commission in the NSW Veterans Company. The house was demolished in 1928 and the site is now partly covered by the waters of Prospect Reservoir. Greystanes was approached by a long drive lined with an avenue of English trees - elms (Ulmus procera), hawthorns (Crataegus sp.), holly (Ilex aquifolium), and woodbine (Clematis sp.) mingling with jacarandas (J.mimosifolia). It had a wide, semi-circular front verandah supported by 4 pillars. The foundations were of stone ,the roof of slate, and the doors and architraves of heavy red cedar. It was richly furnished with articles of the best quality available and was the scene of many glittering soirees attended by the elite of the colony. Honoria Lawson died in 1845, Nelson remarried a year later, but died in 1849, and the property reverted to his father. Greystanes house was demolished in the 1940s (Pollon, 1988, 116, amended Read, S.,2006 - the house can't have been 'on the crest' of Prospect Hill as Pollon states, if its site was covered by the Reservoir).

By the 1870s, with the collapse of the production of cereal grains across the Cumberland Plain, the Prospect Hill area appears to have largely been devoted to livestock. The dwellings of the earliest settlers largely appear to have been removed by this stage. By the time that any mapping was undertaken in this vicinity, most of these structures had disappeared, making their locations difficult to pinpoint (Higginbotham 2000).

The land was farmed from 1806-1888 when the Prospect Reservoir was built. In 1867, the Governor of NSW appointed a Commission to recommend a scheme for Sydney's water supply, and by 1869 it was recommended that construction commence on the Upper Nepean Scheme.

Upper Canal System:
By 1869 it was recommended that construction commence on the Upper Nepean Scheme. This consisted of two diversion weirs, located at Pheasant's Nest and Broughton's Pass, in the Upper Nepean River catchment, with water feeding into a series of tunnels, canals and aqueducts known as the Upper Canal. It was intended that water be fed by gravity from the catchment into a reservoir at Prospect. This scheme was to be Sydney's fourth water supply system, following the Tank Stream, Busby's Bore and the Botany (Lachlan) Swamps.

Designed and constructed by the Public Works Department of NSW, Prospect Reservoir was built during the 1880s and completed in 1888. Credit for the Upper Nepean Scheme is largely given to Edward Orpen Moriarty, the Engineer in Chief of the Harbours and Rivers Branch of the Public Works Department from 1858-88 (B Cubed Sustainability, 2005, 7).

The Upper Canal System is an integral element of the Upper Nepean Scheme which collects water from the four major dams on Cataract, Cordeaux, Nepean and Avon Rivers. The 64km long Upper Canal is the man-made section of the Scheme between Pheasant's Nest Weir and Prospect Reservoir and still operates as a gravity supply.

The Scheme delivered its first water in January 1886 and functioned until (GAO, 2018, 23) the Upper Nepean Scheme was fully-commissioned into use in 1888, along with Prospect Reservoir. The Canal was built using a variety of materials and structure types to suit the nature of the countryside through which it was passing. Above ground the water was channelled in open canal sections. Where the ground was soft the Canal was V-shaped and lined with shale or sandstone. In other sections, it was U-shaped and lined with sandstone masonry or left unlined where the Canal cut through solid rock. Where the water had to pass through hills or rises, tunnels were excavated and left unlined where they passed through rock and lined with brick where they cut through softer material. Over creeks and other deep depressions, the water moved through wrought iron aqueducts.

Other original design features included: stop boards to allow sections of the Canal to be closed for cleaning and repair; flumes to ensure that stormwater from surrounding lands did not enter the Canal to pollute; bridges to carry major roads; and 'occupation bridges' to allow access for property owners.

Throughout the late-19th and early 20th century the water supply through the Upper Nepean Scheme was managed by a resident engineer who lived on site in various locations over time including Prospect Reservoir, Potts Hill and Pipe head. Maintenance men and inspectors were living along the Canal housed in cottages owned by the Water Board. There were also valve controllers living at the weirs at the southern end and Prospect Reservoir in the north, to regulate the discharge of water along the Scheme. Most of these houses have been demolished, but the sites of some remain in archaeological form (GAO, 2018, 24).

Day-to-day communications between workers were enabled by a telephone line along the Canal's length, which was in operation by 1898. Some of the original poles from this line still exist within the Canal corridor. Movement along the Canal was assisted by roads or tracks alongside, which were gradually added from the mid-to late 1890s. In some areas access was difficult until 1935 when the larger creek crossings were bridged (ibid, 2018, 24).

Larger scale repairs and maintenance were usually scheduled during winter, when lower demand for water allowed sections of Canal to be de-watered. By the 1900s this included relining some lengths of open canal. In the early 20th century the demand on the scheme increased with Sydney's increasing population. In 1902 a Royal Commission was established to make a full inquiry into Sydney's water supply. This considered a range of matters across the supply network including the Upper Canal. Although its initial recommendations were to undertake major works to the Nepean Tunnel, only minor work was required to bring the Upper Canal's capacity to its current 150 million gallon per day capacity. This included improving flow characteristics by concreting rough spots on the bottom and sides of the canal and tunnels and replacing some of the stone pitching with concrete. By-passes were also provided around the wrought iron aqueducts to enable their internal maintenance (ibid, 2018, 25).

A 54" diameter woodstave main was built from the Upper Canal at the 39 mile point to take water directly to Pipe Head basin. In 1937 it was replaced with permanent 72" diameter steel main between the Upper Canal at Prospect Reservoir and Pipe Head (Guildford). In 1958 when water from Warragamba (Dam) became available an 84" diameter steel pipeline was commissioned. The 1920s and 30s also saw construction of a range of new over-bridges and flumes, improving access and water quality. Another phase of bridge and flume upgrades occurred in the 1970s and 80s. The cottages occupied by maintenance staff along the Canal appear to have passed out of use at this time (ibid, 2018, 26).

In the 2000s all of the trash racks at the tunnel and aqueduct portals were replaced and new safety railing installed at various points along the Canal system to ensure safer working conditions for operational staff. This period also saw a range of works to prevent or rectify impacts of coal mining subsidence including propping and re-lining of aqueducts, propping and repairs to collapsed or unstable sections of open canal and temporary raising of the freeboard (ibid, 2018, 26).

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. Other open space-
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. Introduce cultural planting-
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. remnant woodland and grasses-
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-
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: Natural landscapes valued by humans-
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: Lakes and wetlands 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. Cultural: Pre-invasion ecosystems illustrating changing human land uses-
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: Rivers and water bodies important to humans-
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: Plains and plateaux 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. Modification of terrain-
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. Natural - pre European settlement vegetation-
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. Natural - site important native fauna habitat or food source-
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 Landscapes of scenic beauty-
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 and countryside of rural charm-
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 and rural interaction-
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 Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Resuming private lands for public purposes-
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 Granting Crown lands for private farming-
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 Sub-division of large estates-
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 farming (Cattle grazing)-
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 Creating landmark structures and places in regional settings-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Providing drinking water-
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 - providing reticulated water-
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. Developing roles for government - public water supply-
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. Monuments-
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. Applying architectural design to utlilitarian structures-
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. Applying architectural design to industrial structures-
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.-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Upper Nepean Scheme has functioned as part of the main water supply system for Sydney since 1888. Apart from the augmentation and development in supply and other improvements, the Upper Canal and Prospect Reservoir portions of the Scheme have changed little and in most cases operate in essentially the same way as was originally envisaged.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The construction of the Upper Nepean Scheme made the big advance from depending on local water sources to harvesting water in upland catchment areas, storing it in major dams and transporting it to the city by means of major canals and pipelines.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Upper Nepean Scheme provides detailed and varied evidence of engineering construction techniques prior to the revolution inspired by reinforced concrete construction. Although concrete was later used to improve the durability of the System, much of the earlier technology is still evident along the canal.

It also provides extensive evidence of the evolution of engineering practice, such as the replacement of timber flumes by wrought iron flumes to be followed by concrete flumes. The early utilisation of oncrete for many engineering purposes n the Syste, also demonstrates the growing emergence of an engineering technology based upon man-made materials.

Many of the the original control installations such as the 'Stoney gates', stop logs, penstocks, gate valves are still in service and continue to illustrate the technology of the time.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Upper Nepean Scheme is unique in NSW, being the only extensive canal, reservoir and dam network to supply a large city and its population with fresh water from a distant source in the hinterland. This type of water supply system is also rare in Australia and only has major comparative examples in other countries.
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 ManagementReview a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementUpper Canal CMP, Pheasant's Nest to Prospect Reservoir, Vols 1-3 (Aug 2002) Jun 27 2003
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 0137318 Nov 99   
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
SEPP Major Developments - Heritage Itemiii. SEPP (Western Parklands) 2009. 21 Dec 09   
SEPP Major Developments - Heritage ItemAppendix 10 Schedule 5 item 02 Jul 06   
Local Environmental PlanLiverpool LEP 2008    
Local Environmental PlanCampbelltown LEP 2015 - District 8 (Central Hills     
Local Environmental PlanCamden LEP 2010L122   
Local Environmental PlanWollondilly LEP 201115   
National Trust of Australia register      

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Sydney Water Section 170 Register1996 Graham Brooks and Associates  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAECOM - AGL (Biosys Consulting P/L, working for- report on cultural heritage)2010Camden Gas Project Stage 3 - Northern Expansion - October 2010 - Environmental Assessment - Cultural heritage excerpt
WrittenAustralian Museum Business Services2008Statement of heritage impact: Pheasant's Nest and Broughton's Pass Weirs: Environmental Flow Releases for the Upper Hawkesbury-Nepean River
WrittenB Cubed Sustainability2006Upper Canal Aqueduct Scour Valves Upgrade Heritage Impact Statement (June 2006)
WrittenB Cubed Sustainability P/L2005Prospect (Reservoir) Scout/Outlet - Heritage Impact Statement
WrittenBiosys P/L2016Gledswood Hills Collector Road adjacent to the Upper Canal: European Heritage Archaeological Monitoring Report
WrittenBiosys P/L2016Gledswood Hills bridge crossing over the Upper Canal: European Heritage Archaeological Monitoring Report
WrittenBritton, Geoffrey2002Upper Canal Cultural Landscape (Appendix 1.4 in Higginbotham CMP 2002)
WrittenCaitlin Allen, Conservation Archaeologist, NSW Government Architect’s Office2003Southern Railway Aqueduct on the Upper Canal at Mount Annan Refurbishment and Repair Heritage Impact Assessment
WrittenCardno MBK2003Effects of Mining of Longwalls 5A5, 5A6, 5A7 and 5A8 - Interim Report - Open Canals and Concrete Aqueducts C and D (August 2003)
WrittenCardno P/L2015Dilapidation Report - Gledswood Hills - SCA Mollesman Tunnel (Molles Main)
WrittenEco Logical Australia2013East Leppington Precinct - Vegetation Management Plan
WrittenEdward Higginbotham & Associates2002Conservation Management Plan for the Upper Canal, Pheasant's Nest to Prospect Reservoir
WrittenEdward Higginbotham, Terry Kass, Vince Murphy, John Collocott, Toby Fiander, Siobhan Lavelle1992Heritage Study of the Upper Canal, Prospect Reservoir & Lower Canal (Upper Nepean Scheme): Volume 3 - Conservation Policy
WrittenGML Heritage2014East Leppington - update of Aboriginal heritage works (letter)
WrittenGML Heritage2012East Leppington Rezoning Assessment - Heritage Management Strategy - Draft Report
WrittenGodden Mackay Logan Heritage Consultants2014East Leppington (Willowdale) Precinct 3 - Heritage Assessment and Impact Statement Report
WrittenHeritage Group, Government Architect's Office, NSW Department of Finance & Services2018Upper Canal Post-Mining Rectification Works - Heritage Impact Statement View detail
WrittenJMD Design2014Willowdale - Master Plan
WrittenJMD Design2014Willowdale - Landscape Features
WrittenJMD Design2014Upper Canal Landscape and Interface Strategy
WrittenJMD Design2014Willowdale SCA Canal Interface Montages (various views of canal/adjacent housing)
WrittenLawrie Greenup2009Upper canal and infrastructures affected by LW409 mining :archival photographic recording
WrittenMartin James2006Upper Canal Aqueduct Scour Valves Upgrade Review of Environmental Factors
WrittenNSW Office of Environment & Heritage2013Issue of Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit 1132181
WrittenNSW Public Works, Government Architect's Office2016Upper Canal: Pheasant's Nest to Prospect Reservoir - Conservation Managament Plan
WrittenRTA Operations2003Statement of Heritage Impact
WrittenSophy Townsend, URS2003Final Report - Review of Environmental Factors for the Proposed Maintenance and Preventative Works on the Upper Canal due to Impacts of Mining at Westcliff Colliery (March 2003)
WrittenSydney Catchment Authority2012Guidelines for development adjacent to the Upper Canal & Warragamba Pipelines

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5051481
File number: EF14/4424; 10/1860; H00/238


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