Burwood Sewer Vent | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Burwood Sewer Vent

Item details

Name of item: Burwood Sewer Vent
Other name/s: Burwood Sewer Vent, Wentworth Road Sewer Vent, Railway Parade Sewer Vent
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Utilities - Sewerage
Category: Other - Utilities - Sewerage
Location: Lat: -33.8754942290 Long: 151.0979138020
Primary address: Railway Parade, Burwood, NSW 2134
Local govt. area: Burwood
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP745161
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Railway ParadeBurwoodBurwood  Primary Address
Wentworth RoadBurwoodBurwood  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Sydney WaterState Government 

Statement of significance:

The vent shaft is a locally prominent landmark, and one of only two like structures in Sydney Water's system, which plays an important function to the main western sewer system. The unusual design and reinforced concrete construction is rare for this type of vent in a State context.
Date significance updated: 04 May 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: Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage
Builder/Maker: Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage
Construction years: 1919-1919
Physical description: A reinforced concrete vent shaft built in 1919, very similar in design to that at Paisley Road, Croydon. It comprises an octagonal pedestal, at its highest point approximately 5.5m above ground level to the base of a circular shaft in plan with radiating concrete ribs and 2 octagonal concrete bands up the length of the shaft. The capital of the shaft like Paisley Road has neo classical console brackets below a projecting cornice. The entrance door is located on the south east corner with the steel door being original, set into a reinforced concrete projecting frame, whereas Paisley Road is recessed. There is evidence of past patch repair work around numerous areas of the shaft and pedestal, and presently there is evidence of spalling and reinforcement corrosion on the southern wall of the pedestal particularly.

The area surrounding the vent shaft is dominated by late 20th century flats and to the north is the Railway line across Railway Parade. The immediate ground surrounding the shaft is cleared which forms part of a small reserve at the corner of Wentworth Road and Railway Parade. A manhole is located some 15 metres to the east adjacent the footpath to Railway Parade.

A lightning conductor is located on the south east side of the shaft and the south face of the pedestal.

Iron eyelets are fixed to the circular section of the shaft possibly for a former lightning conductor.

The concrete vent stack is prominent some 500 metres north on Wentworth Road and is a landmark set on an open reserve fronting Railway Parade. The siting of the vent shaft is presently somewhat isolated as part of the reserve fronting Railway Parade and opposite the Railway line at a considerable road intersection.

The concrete vent shaft in itself is considerably intact and in fair condition although in need of some maintenance to doors and concrete.
Date condition updated:20 Jun 00
Further information: Undertake a conservation plan for the item should the property be proposed for sale.
Current use: Sewer Vent
Former use: Sewer Vent


Historical notes: The Main Western Carrier which fed into Botany sewer farm was completed in 1897 and encompasses the major crossing of Wolli Creek and Cooks River each by triple barrel 1800 mm dia. wrought iron/steel aqueducts. There are triple barrel brick arch aqueducts at the ends. Soon after construction more sewage was being collected from this newer Western arm than there was from the original Southern Division arm. This is even with allowing for dramatic increase in flow within the first few years of the Southern Division.

The Western Branch Main Sewer which feeds into the Main Western Carrier was completed in stages all the way through to Strathfield. Work was completed on this sewer in 1904.

The section also contains the Croydon (1922) and Burwood (Strathfield) (1919) concrete vent stacks which were built because of damage caused by gases from the then new Homebush Abattoir after it opened in 1916.

In 1888 before the Botany Scheme was even commissioned, Burwood Council had requested a sewage treatment plant for Hen & Chicken Bay on the Parramatta River. They were told by the Government to wait for the Western Suburbs Sewer and the Western Branch Main Sewer is the result of that undertaking. Had the Burwood scheme proceeded, the Western Branch Main Sewer may not have been built in the location it was eventually constructed.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 (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)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The vent has tangible historical associations with the western branch main sewer and through the influence of sewer gases generated from the Homebush abbattoir, an element which has now been removed forever.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The vent holds a prominent position on the corner of Wentworth Road and Railway Parade, and is a substantial local landmark.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
It is likely the vent stack holds some value to the local community in its function and landmark value.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The vent plays an important function in the servicing of the western branch main sewer.
SHR Criteria f)
Regarding its design and construction it is rare on a State level and one of only two in the Sydney Water system.
SHR Criteria g)
In terms of vent function alone, it is representative of the function it has played in the operation of sewer systems.
Integrity/Intactness: Considerably intact.
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:

Manage the place and its significant components in accordance with the State Owned Heritage Asset Management Guidelines. Where no Conservation Management Plan, Heritage Assessment or Statement of Heritage Impact is in place, or where works are outside the scope existing heritage documentation, assess heritage impacts of proposed works in accordance with Sydney Water Environment Impact Assessment procedures. Undertake a Heritage Assessment and/or Statement of Heritage Impact as required by EIA procedures. Where the item is listed in a Local Environmental Plan Schedule of Heritage items, determine if works are exempt from approval under the LEP provisions. Where works are not exempt, obtain necessary approvals from the local council, in accordance with SWC EIA Guidelines. Undertake archival and photographic recording before major changes, in accordance with Heritage Council guidelines. Lodge copies of the archival record with the Sydney Water Archives and the NSW Heritage Office.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementBurwood Sewer Vent CMP, by Sydney Water for Sydney Water, dated July 2004 CMP endorsed by Heritage Council 5 August 2005 for a period of five years, expires 5 August 2010. Aug 5 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 0163815 Nov 02 2209709
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Management Plan (HC endorsed)Sydney Water2005Burwood sewer vent Railway Parade, Burwood : 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: 5053877
File number: H04/00047

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