Warragamba Dam - Haviland Park | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Heritage

Warragamba Dam - Haviland Park

Item details

Name of item: Warragamba Dam - Haviland Park
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Parks, Gardens and Trees
Category: Reserve
Location: Lat: -33.886927 Long: 150.598623
Primary address: Warragamba Dam, Warragamba, NSW 2752
Local govt. area: Wollondilly
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Tharawal
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT1124 DP1159978
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Warragamba DamWarragambaWollondilly  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Water NSWState Government 

Statement of significance:

Haviland Park has a high level of state heritage significance for several reasons. It represents the pinnacle of quality visitor facilities provided by the Board at Dam sites. It contains numerous archeaological, architectural and engineering remnants from the dam's construction. The Park displays a high degree of formality and planning and is rich in both exotic and native botanical species which contribute to the landscape significance of the park. It commemorates the role of Haviland, without whom the numerous landscaped parks and reserves of the Dams would not have been established, nor execuated with such high regard for design and formalism. It is highly valued by the community of New South Wales as a place for passive recreation, leisure activities and sightseeing pursuits. Sydney Water continues the role of maintaining Haviland Park and providing visitor facilities.
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

Physical description: Wraragamba Dam is located in a narrow gorge within the Warragamba River, approximatly 65 km west of Sydney and 15km south of Penrith. The south-eastern corner of the site connects to the Warragamba township established as part of the Warragamba Supply Scheme. The northern side of the dam is adjacent to the Blue Mountains National Park. East if the dam is a large Entry Precinct and Picnic Grounds, and Haviland Park is between this Precinct and the dam itself and spillways.

Haviland Park is to the dam's east and covers 10 acres contains plantings and built features which are substantially intact from the time of establishment in the 1960s. There is remnant evidence of the construction aparatus, including rail tracks, building footings, concrete anchors, former aggragate conveyor tunnel, existing terraced road alignments, 19 ton cableway and associated machinery. The existing timber and fibro systems office (former engineers office) and information centre (former staff mess) which constitute the only two remaining buildings from the original construction site.

Haviland Park now comprises two open, relatively level grassed areas bounded by native and introduced trees and shrubs. The most prominent are two rows of sweet gums (Liquidambar styraciflua) planted during the 1960s. The areas are bounded by access roads with newly formed car parking areas and kerbs also provided. The precinct is the major open space recreation area of the dam but has been closed since 1997 due to construction works at the site. (Sydney Catchment Authority, 2007, 1).

Haviland Park covers an area of 10 acres contains plantings and built features which are substantially intact from the time of establishment. There is remnant evidence of the construction aparatus, including rail tracks, building footings, concrete anchors, former aggragate conveyor tunnel, existing terraced road alignments, 19 ton cableway and associated machinery.

The tree lined avenue of exotic and indigenous plantings includes; coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sabiferum), brush box (Lophostemon confertus), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), paperbark (Melaleuca sp.), Jacaranda, camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora), plus major species of Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), Eucalypt, and she-oak (Casuarina sp.).

The site is surrounded by a dry packed stone retaining wall. A landscaped exotic garden and steps adjacent to the existing picnic shelter to the north. This garden compsrises significant plantings, in this instance of Cacti, Agave, succulents, and Yuccas. Access is provided to the Folly Creek area.

The facilities available for public use include, parking areas, viewing points, picnic areas with tables and seats, barbeque fireplaces, with wood provided, boiling water installations, children's playgrounds, shelter sheds, public toilets, and drinking fountains. The existing timber and fibro systems office (former engineers office) and information centre (former staff mess) which constitute the only two remaining buildings from the original construction site.
Modifications and dates: 1947-60: construction of Warragamba Dam and village, support & work facilities for dam workers.

1965: beautification works - Haviland Park was established, including avenue of trees, fountain and weather shelter. Haviland Park (4 ha) is a landscaped area located on the site of much of the dam's original construction plant and equipment. It was developed following the completion of the dam structure to a design, which involved Peter Spooner (Associate Professor of Architecture, University of NSW) and opened in December 1965.

The provision of picnic areas, hot water, barbecues, seats and tables, lawns, shade trees, rubbish disposal points and toilet facilities was similar to that provided by the Board at other dam sites in New South Wales. Some 10ha of Picnic Grounds were landscaped to include visitor facilities such as an oval, running tracks, tennis courts, picnic shelters, electric BBQs, boiling water outlets, group shelters and a kiosk.

On completion the area, located to the south of the dam wall, consisted of a ridge between Lavender Creek and Folly Creek divided by a series of roadways and car parks which provided viewing access to the dam and a recreational park for visitors.

The principle feature of the park was a double avenue of sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) trees along the access of the ridge punctuated by cross roads and featuring a weather shelter and a fountain design by Spooner. Around the perimeter of the park several buildings and facilities original to the dam construction were retained.

1970s: new chlorination plant and pumping station built.

1985-90: program of works to upgrade the dam: the wall was raised and the structure strengthened.

1999-2004: construction of the auxiliary spillway involved excavation of the northern section (c.1/3) of the Park including removal of numerous roads, car parks and some of the landscaped area. The park was closed to the public during construction and has since undergone rehabilitation in accordance with the Master plan. This has involved re-alignment and replacement of many of the roads at the northern end. At the site of the proposed visitors centre only the landform survives, now with a sheer sandstone cutting overlooking the new spillway. A public platform and lookout was built on the eastern side of the gorge downstream of the dam with access from the Warragamba township.

2001: bushfires destroyed several buildings including the weather shelter in Haviland Park, the community relations office, the works depot area and sheds, suspension bridge, theatrette and vegetation throughout the site.

2002-present (2008): a Master Plan for Warragamba Dam's redevelopment was proposed and is being progressively implemented. This involved a new Visitor's Centre (currently under construction), SCA office and new maintenance buildings. The destroyed community relations office, still extant kiosk and group shelters were demolished (Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners, 2008, 3).

A survey of the features in the Park was carried out for the 2006 Conservation Management Plan (CMP). No features of note were recorded in the area proposed for the new Visitor Centre.

To the west, down the side of the ridge, are the remains of two former roads, now truncated at their northern end.

To the south of the site the principal site features are:
- The road pattern
- Double avenue of sweet gum trees (Liquidambar styraciflua)
- Fountain (not in use, base only survives)

Towards the east side other trees, including Melaleucas and pines are extant (Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners Pty Ltd, November 2006: pp 2-3)
Further information: Clive Lucas Stapleton with John Collocott, Warragamba Dam Conservation Analysis and Management Guidelines for items of European Cultural Significance, 1994;, McGlynn.J.E., 'The Warragamba Emergency Scheme 1937-1940', historical research section,, 'Warragamba Dam Operations Manual', Water Board, Vols 1 & 2, 16 June, 1993., Purdy.H.N.O., "Resort Development at Warragamba," Sydney Water Board Journal. April 1965.
Current use: Dam & park
Former use: Aboriginal (Gundungurra) traditional lands, squatting, farming, timber getting, Dam

History

Historical notes: One of the first places in the Gundungurra traditional homelands that most appealed to the Anglo-Celt settlers were the river flats of the Burragorang Valley (now flooded under Warragamba Dam). Even before the valley was officially surveyed in 1827-8, many early settlers were already squatting on blocks that they planned to officially occupy following the issue of freehold title grants. From the Burragorang Valley and using Aboriginal pathways, other valleys to the west were occupied and developed by the settlers with construction of outstations and stock routes. These cattle entrepreneurs were then followed by cedar-wood extractors and miners.

The Gundungurra traditional owners resisted the taking of their lands, and, relying on various laws of the colony at the time, continually applied for official ownership. Although their individual claims failed, in some kind of recognition of the significance of the designated tracts of land claimed, six Aboriginal Reserves (under the control of the NSW Aborigines Protection Board) were formally declared in the Burragorang Valley. Even after these reserves were revoked, many of the traditional owners remained, quietly refusing to leave their traditional homelands.

Finally pushed into the 'Gully', a fringe development in West Katoomba from about 1894, the Gully community stayed together for more than 60 years until dispossessed of the Gully by the then Blue Mountains Shire Council so a group of local businessmen could develop a speedway that became known as the Catalina Race Track. The Gully people kept talking about areas of land they had walked in as children - the nearby Megalong and Kanimbla Valleys and the Burragorang Valley. They knew of the profound significance of these valleys for their parents and grandparents (Johnson, 2009, 4).

Warragamba Dam:
Warragamba Dam was constructed from 1947-1960, along with adjacent Warragamba township, by the MWS&DB with its own forces with various items being let on contract. Constructed of mass concrete in block sections, a total of 3 million tons of concrete was used to construct the straight gravity wall which featured a height of 137m from foundation to crest.

When Warragamba dam opened in 1960, amid great fanfare, the official government booklet text stated: 'The building of the Warragamba Dam resulted in the flooding of the Burragorang Valley, drowning what was once the secluded haunt of aborigines and, later, a fertile farming district and popular holiday resort. The settlers have gone: the farms, guesthouses and the little schools and churches have been demolished; and water many feet deep covers the ground where they once stood' (Spearitt, 2019).

During the 1960s the public facilities and picnic areas were developed and finalised. Haviland Park was formed out of the original dam construction site and platforms on the eastern bank of the dam, with development, part of the beautification program, esstentially undertaken in the early 1960s.

Haviland Park was offically opened by the President of the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board, E.J.Walder, in December 1965. The name commemorates the role of President Haviland, Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Sydney who was consulted on the design of the parks at Warragamba. Part of these beautification works involved the removal of much of the Dam's construction and plant equipment and establishment of a planned landscape feature for use by the general public. In a design sense, Haviland Park is the most formal of the parks at Warragamba.

Generally, landscaping as part of public facilities was provided at Cataract, Cordeaux, Avon, Nepean, Wornora and Prospect. They all contained similar features, eg, the provision of picnic areas with hot water, barbeques and wood provided, seats and tables, lawns, shade trees, shelters, rubbish disposal points, and toilet facilities. The landscaping tended to mirror the construction phase of the Dam. Haviland Park for instance contains numerous archaeological, architectural and engineerinf remains, which evdience varous construction phases. It is believed that several of the exotic species (Japonica (Chaenomeles japonica), weeping Wisteria (W.sinensis), and butterfly trees (Bauhinia x variegata)) were transplanted from the maintenance area at the main weir because they were highly valued by workers.

1947-60: construction of Warragamba Dam and village, support & work facilities for dam workers.

1965: beautification works - Haviland Park was established, including avenue of trees, fountain and weather shelter. Haviland Park (4 ha) is a landscaped area located on the site of much of the dam's original construction plant and equipment. It was developed following the completion of the dam structure to a design, which involved Peter Spooner (Associate Professor of Architecture, University of NSW) and opened in December 1965.

The provision of picnic areas, hot water, barbecues, seats and tables, lawns, shade trees, rubbish disposal points and toilet facilities was similar to that provided by the Board at other dam sites in New South Wales. Some 10ha of Picnic Grounds were landscaped to include visitor facilities such as an oval, running tracks, tennis courts, picnic shelters, electric BBQs, boiling water outlets, group shelters and a kiosk.

On completion the area, located to the south of the dam wall, consisted of a ridge between Lavender Creek and Folly Creek divided by a series of roadways and car parks which provided viewing access to the dam and a recreational park for visitors.

The principle feature of the park was a double avenue of sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) trees along the access of the ridge punctuated by cross roads and featuring a weather shelter and a fountain design by Spooner. Around the perimeter of the park several buildings and facilities original to the dam construction were retained.

1970s: new chlorination plant and pumping station built.

1985-90: program of works to upgrade the dam: the wall was raised and the structure strengthened.

1997+: The park area was once again used as a construction site, during construction of the auxiliary spillway to reduce impacts of flooding, the required location and configuration of which resulted in reduction of the size of Haviland Park. The precinct has been closed since 1997 due to major construction works (Sydney Catchment Authority, 2007, 1).

1998-2004: construction of the auxiliary spillway involved excavating the northern section (c.1/3) of the Park including removing numerous roads, car parks and some landscaped area. The park was closed to the public and since undergone rehabilitation in accordance with the Master plan. This involved re-alignment and replacement of many roads at its northern end. At the site of the visitors centre only the landform survives, now with sheer sandstone cutting overlooking the new spillway. A public platform and lookout was built on the eastern side of the gorge downstream of the dam with access from the Warragamba township.

2001: bushfires destroyed several buildings including the weather shelter in Haviland Park, the community relations office, the works depot area and sheds, suspension bridge, theatrette and vegetation throughout the site.

2002-present (2008): a Master Plan for Warragamba Dam's redevelopment was proposed and is being progressively implemented. This involved a new Visitor's Centre (currently under construction), SCA office and new maintenance buildings. The destroyed community relations office, still extant kiosk and group shelters were demolished (Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners, 2008, 3).

In June 2016 the State Government announced it will allocate $58m to raise the dam wall by 14m to prevent flooding disaster to downstream towns (Nicholls, 17/6/16).

Gundungurra Aboriginal custodians in 2018 are fighting a state government proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam wall, which would flood traditional sites of cultural significance and artefacts (Tullis, 2018, 12).

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. Cultural: Cliffs and escarpments influencing human settlement-
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. 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. Environments important to Aboriginal traditional and spiritual life-
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-
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 - places of battle or other early interactions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal 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. All nations - controlling dispossesed 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. All nations - sites evidencing occupation-
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. Gundungurra Nation - evidencing creation stories-
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 industrial production-
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 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 Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing suburbia-
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 civic infrastructure and amenity-
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-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working on public infrastructure projects-
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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
This item is assessed as aesthetically rare statewide. This item is assessed as historically rare statewide. This item is assessed as scientifically rare statewide. This item is assessed as socially rare statewide.
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 ManagementProduce 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 commentWarragamba Supply Scheme CMP (January 2007) - for review by HO  
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 0137518 Nov 99   
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register 125197   
Local Environmental Plan  23 Aug 91 119 

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Sydney Water Heritage Study1996125197Graham Brooks and Associates Pty LtdGRAHAM BROOKS AND ASSOCIATES 1 July 1996 Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Warragamba Dam - Haviland Park View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Warragamba Dam - Haviland Park View detail
WrittenBassett, Bart2016'Opinion: a catastrophic flood in western Sydney will happen'
WrittenGovernment Architect's Office2011Haviland Park Warragamba Dam - Landscape Works - Heritage Report after completion
WrittenJohnson, Dianne2009'The Katoomba Gully People's resistance to disposession' in History Council of NSW Bulletin, Winter
WrittenNicholls, Sean2016'Dam wall to be raised to stop wave of disaster'
WrittenSpearitt, Peter2019RAHS Day Lecture - Where History Happened - Warragamba Dam' View detail
WrittenSydney Catchment Authority2008Warragamba Dam Site Interpretation (Final Draft, 25/8/2008)
WrittenSydney Catchment Authority2008Warragamba Dam Visitor Centre Exhibition Interpretation Proposal - Water, final draft, 5/2008
WrittenSydney Catchment Authority2007Supporting statement: installation of a domestic cold water and fire main service at Haviland Park at Warragamba Dam
WrittenThe Australian (newspaper editorial)2019'UNESCO meddling must not stymie Western Sydney'
WrittenTullis, Ashleigh2018Push to preserve art sites - raising of dam wall could flood caves'

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: 5051483
File number: S91/00061/3


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