Lower Prospect Canal Reserve | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Lower Prospect Canal Reserve

Item details

Name of item: Lower Prospect Canal Reserve
Other name/s: Lower Canal, Boothtown Aqueduct, Inverted Syphon, Aqueduct Valve House No 1 & 2 and Culvert, Covered Way, Smithfield Tanks, Sedimentation Channel
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Utilities - Water
Category: Irrigation Channel/Canal
Location: Lat: -33.83114 Long: 150.945378
Primary address: , Greystanes, NSW 2145
Parish: Prospect
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Holroyd
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT10 DP221011
LOT12 DP221011
LOT14 DP221011
LOT16 DP221011
LOT18 DP221011
LOT2 DP221011
LOT4 DP221011
LOT6 DP221011
LOT8 DP221011
LOT1 DP221012
LOT11 DP221012
LOT12 DP221012
LOT3 DP221012
LOT5 DP221012
LOT7 DP221012
LOT9 DP221012
LOT1 DP222245
LOT3 DP222245
LOT5 DP222245
LOT1 DP222247
LOT2 DP222247
LOT1 DP225807
LOT1 DP225808
LOT1 DP225809
LOT1 DP225811
LOT2 DP225811
LOT3 DP225811
LOT1 DP235064
LOT2 DP235064
LOT3 DP235064
LOT4 DP235064
LOT1 DP513204
LOT1 DP708007
LOT2 DP865978
LOT1 DP952529

Boundary:

The Lower Prospect Canal Reserve is defined in Holroyd LEP. The SHR curtilage aligns with the LEP curtilage. It commences in the west at Reconciliation Road, at the boundary of Holroyd and Blacktown LGAs, and terminates in the east at the SHR curtilage for Pipehead, water supply canal and associated works (SHR No. 01629).
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 GreystanesHolroydProspectCumberlandPrimary Address
 GuildfordHolroydSt JohnCumberlandAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Department of Trade & Investment --Crown LandsState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Lower Prospect Canal Reserve is of state significance for the former Lower Canal contained within the reserve and the natural heritage values of the reserve.
The Lower Canal, and its associated infrastructure, is state significant as a key component of the Upper Nepean Scheme. This scheme was the outcome of the first major engineering investigation in NSW into the provision of an adequate and reliable water supply to meet the needs of a rapidly growing Sydney.
The Upper Nepean Scheme was Sydney's fourth water supply, and its first reliable, and most enduring, engineered water supply. It marked a major engineering advance from locally sourced to remotely harvested water, obtained from rivers in upland catchment areas, that was stored in dams and transported by weirs, open channels, tunnels and pipelines to its final destination.
The Upper Nepean Scheme was one of the largest engineering and public infrastructure works carried out in Australia up to 1888. It was an important determinant of Sydney's growth potential. No other similar water supply canals of the form and scale of those associated with the Upper Nepean Scheme have ever been built in NSW.
The scheme is a system that has lent itself to progressive development to meet Sydney's increasing water supply needs. It continues to function for the purpose for which it was designed and constructed.
The Lower Canal functioned as a key element of the Upper Nepean Scheme for over 100 years. Apart from extensive upgrades in its first decades, the Lower Canal changed little in its basic principles during this period.
The Lower Canal is an excellent example of the techniques of 19th century hydraulic engineering, particularly the use of gravity directed water flow to supply a large area of Sydney with water.
The Lower Canal has research potential for its detailed and varied evidence of engineering construction techniques, both the original masonry and the later reinforced concrete upgrade works.
The Lower Canal is state significant for its reuse which involves reversible infilling along its entire length; has retained its capacity to demonstrate its original water supply function, and assists in demonstrating the Upper Nepean System as an entity.
Large sections of the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve are identified within the biodiversity map of Holroyd Local Environmental Plan 2013 as containing 'Remnant Native Vegetation', particularly shale plains woodland. Cumberland Plain Woodland is identified as a critically endangered species under both the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth) and the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (NSW).
Date significance updated: 18 Nov 14
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
Builder/Maker: NSW Board of Water Supply and Sewerage; Kinchela and Metcalfe
Construction years: 1880-1888
Physical description: Historical Description
The Lower Canal was originally around 7.6 kms long, measured from its commencement at the receiving basin next to the Lower Valve House at the eastern end of Prospect Reservoir to its termination at Pipehead basin, Guildford.

The Lower Canal follows the edge of a natural ridgeline from the western end gradually falling to an artificial constructed embankment at the eastern end. The elevation of the western end of the canal is approximately 60-70m above sea level, falling to 40m.

The Lower Canal was an open gravity flow canal with a gradient of approximately 10 cms per km over its entire length. The form of the canal was a V-shaped cross-section. The upper width varied between 5.8 and 7.25m and its depth between 2.4 and 3 m.

The canal was originally a dry-stone masonry construction (1888). From 1902-12 it was extensively rebuilt and relined to reduce leakage and increase carrying capacity and stability. Relining raised the water level by c 75 cms. Two types of lining were used on top of the original masonry. Pre-cast Monier reinforced concrete plates lined the canal in cutting with in-situ-cast reinforced concrete lining where the canal was in embankment. A 30 cms wide concrete footing wall was also constructed behind the new lining on both sides of the canal to prevent outward movement of the canal walls. Rectangular concrete blocks, c. 30 by 45 cms, projected above the footing wall to be flush with the top of the canal's wall plates.

From west to east, the Lower Canal included the following features, most of which are extant in the infilled canal way (some overbridges, flumes and culverts have been removed):

The Covered Way
Culverts
Boothtown Bridge (now Gipps Road bridge)
Boothtown Aqueduct
Boothtown Inverted Syphon (culvert and inlet and outlet Valve Houses)
Smithfield Tanks/Reservoir
Sedimentation Channel/Chambers
A graded maintenance track parallel to and south of the Lower Canal
The canal was crossed by eight stormwater flumes and eleven overbridges, six of which carried vehicular roadways.
The canal had 18 culverts running beneath it, six of which operated as inverted syphons. There were five scour valves along its length.

Current Description
The Lower Prospect Canal Reserve is listed on Holroyd's Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2013. The Lower Canal was incorporated into a public reserve in 1998 which follows the course of the former canal. The reserve is just over 6.6 kms in length, measured from Reconciliation Road, Pemulwuy to Pipehead, Guildford. It varies from 40m to 100m in width and covers approximately 54.6 hectares.

The proposed SHR curtilage for Lower Prospect Canal Reserve aligns with the Holroyd LEP listing. It commences at Reconciliation Road at Pemulwuy and extends through the suburbs of Greystanes, Smithfield, Merrylands and Woodpark to its termination at Pipehead, Albert Street, Guildford

The incorporation of Lower Canal into the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve from 1998 involved the retention of remnant Cumberland Plain vegetation and the regeneration of native flora and fauna on the former Water Board easement. The infilled canal is now flanked on both sides by managed reserve.

Large sections of the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve are identified within the biodiversity map of Holroyd Local Environmental Plan 2013 (HLEP 2013) as containing 'Remnant Native Vegetation'. The biodiversity map was created using data from the National Parks and Wildlife Service mapping of 'Vegetation of the Cumberland Plain'. This map identifies Cumberland Plain Woodland, particularly shale plains woodland, as being located within the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve.

The infilled canal is approximately 7m wide at its surface and has generally been infilled to reveal around the top 20 cm of the canal walls. A 3m two-laned pedestrian/cycle way is flanked both sides by 2m of grass to the canal walls.

Three roads with road bridges cross over the Lower Canal: Gipps Road, Cumberland Highway and Sherwood Road. The two latter have low clearance above the semi-infilled canal. There are also several small local road and canal overbridges along the length of the Lower Canal. As there is minimal clearance under two road, and all canal, overbridges the canal infill is considerably reduced at these points to allow pedestrians and cyclists passage beneath. Partial infilling here reveals approximately 5-6m of the 1912 Monier plated or concrete lined canal walls.

The pedestrian/cycle way follows the infilled canal its entire duration except where the canal structure changes to become the Sedimentation Chambers (west of Albert Street) and the Covered Way (east of Reconciliation Road). Here the pedestrian/cycle way diverts alongside these structures for their duration.

On the southern side of the infilled canal is the 1914 graded maintenance track. This follows the Lower Canal its entire distance from the Covered Way to Pipehead.

Medium density residential housing borders the reserve to the north and south with light industry located to the south around Smithfield.

The Lower Canal flowed from its commencement at Prospect in an easterly direction to its termination at Pipehead. The receiving basin, Valve House and initial length of the infilled Lower Canal at Prospect Reservoir are included in the SHR listing for Prospect Reservoir and surrounding area (SHR No. 01370). A 100m section of the infilled Lower Canal on the western boundary of the Prospect Reservoir SHR listing was removed in 2008 for the construction of Reconciliation Road.

Prospect (eventually Boral) Quarry was located to the east of Prospect Reservoir, on the flank of Prospect Hill, mining gravel (dolerite and blue metal) from the 1870s. The mining companies constructed roads and bridges to cross the Lower Canal at the quarry. Mining operations have now ceased at the site. In 2008 Reconciliation Road (a north-south traffic artery) was constructed by the RTA and Boral and runs through the centre of the former Prospect Quarry site. Construction of this road involved excavation of the western side of Prospect Hill and necessitated the removal of a 100m section of the Lower Canal immediately west of Reconciliation Road (within the curtilage of the Prospect Reservoir SHR listing).

Approximately 1 km east of the start of the canal at Prospect Reservoir, the Lower Canal was diverted underground for 288m. This section, known as the Covered Way, was designed to protect the canal water from contamination by the slope of Prospect Hill through which it was cut. An Aboretum is located on the slope of Prospect Hill above the Covered Way (outside the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve curtilage). The original masonry Covered Way collapsed in 1904 when the canal was emptied for relining. It was rebuilt in 1905 in concrete, 308 mm thick at the floor with 256 mm thick walls and a 256 mm thick roof. The Covered Way has an oval cross-section and is 4.6m wide with a maximum water level internally of 2.6m. Its external portals each have a low concrete headwall with a pre-cast concrete block coping and the date '1905' cast into the vertical face. Three air shafts ventilated the Covered Way. These are still visible externally as short, rendered-concrete pillars with pyridamical concrete caps.

The Gipps Road overbridge (formerly the Boothtown Bridge) carries Gipps Road over the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve. The 1911 reinforced concrete arched bridge is an early example of its type, using fairly classical forms for early concrete arch design. The bridge was widened in the 1940s using three prestressed concrete girders on each side of the arch. The original bridge arch is visible from the Lower Canal's infilled pedestrian/cycleway.

East of the Gipps Road overbridge, and 3.2 km from the start of the canal at Prospect, the pedestrian cycleway passes along the top of the infilled 1883 Boothtown Aqueduct which crosses Boothtown Gully. Built by Kinchela and Metcalfe, the Boothtown Aqueduct comprises 22 brick arches each with a 30 ft (9m) span of brick with sandstone copings. Modest decorative features are incorporated into the brickwork: simple dentilation; pilasters to each arch; and string courses of round cast bricks. The side walls are secured by tie rods.

Boothtown Aqueduct is flanked at either end by the inlet and outlet valve houses of the Inverted Syphon. Constructed in 1907, the concrete Inverted Syphon by-passed the aqueduct with a culvert 3.15m in diameter, composed of reinforced concrete on concrete piers. The inlet and outlet towers are of rendered brick, decorated with cement rendered castellation and lancet arched doorways. They house the sluice gates that controlled the flow of water from the canal.

Near Percival Road, 4.6 kms from the start of the canal are the Smithfield Tanks (reservoirs), two circular concrete in-ground tanks with a capacity of 100,000 gallons constructed in 1895 to supply the Smithfield locality with water. Now disused they were infilled with sand to ground level in 2001.

After Sherwood Road, at 6.8kms from the Prospect start of the canal, are two infilled Sedimentary Chambers which removed sedimentation from the canal before it entered Pipehead. Two valves are extant at the entry to the infilled chambers where the pedestrian/cycleway diverts around the infilled chambers.

The Lower Prospect Canal Reserve terminates at Pipehead (Albert Street, Guildford) where the open Lower Canal entered the 72 inch (1829mm) pipeline that conveyed water to the Potts Hill Reservoir. The last 225m section of the Lower Canal is located within the curtilage of the SHR listed Pipehead, water supply canal and associated works (SHR No. 01629). As at 2014 this section contains the only surviving unfilled section of the Lower Canal (c. 180m).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good with largely intact revealed wall structure and remnant infrastructure. Considerable weed growth surrounds and covers some of the remnant canal infrastructure, such as the Sedimentation Channel west of Pipehead and the Smithfield Tanks.
Date condition updated:24 Oct 14
Modifications and dates: 1895: Smithfield Tanks (reservoir) constructed for water supply for Smithfield.

1902-12: Relining of the canal with Monier plates or concrete to increase the capacity of the Lower Canal by around 75%.
Walls of Smithfield Tank raised.

1903: Sedimentation Chambers constructed west of Pipehead.

1905: Rebuilding of the Covered Way in concrete following its collapse.

1907: Boothtown Aqueduct ceases operation. Inverted Syphon constructed alongside Boothtown Aqueduct.

1911: Construction of Gipps Road Bridge over Lower Canal.

1995: Lower Canal replaced by an underground pipeline from Prospect Reservoir to Pipehead, Lower Canal decommissioned and dewatered.

2001: Work commenced on the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve to create a combined pedestrian/cycleway commencing at Prospect Reservoir and terminating at Pipehead Guildford. Infilling involved protection of the canal walls; installation of drainage measures and infilling with a mix of concrete aggregate and packed soil layers. An aggregate or plain pathway was constructed. The heritage significance of the canal was a consideration in this process and the infilling is reversible.

2003: Lower Prospect Canal Reserve and pedestrian/cycleway officially opened. Reserve gazetted as Crown Land in 2004 with Holroyd City Council as trustees.

2008: A 100m section of the infilled Lower Canal on the western boundary of the Prospect Reservoir SHR listing was removed in 2008 for the construction of Reconciliation Road. The Lower Prospect Canal Reserve now commences at Reconciliation Road.
Current use: recreation; pedestrian/cycleway; public reserve; historical interpretation
Former use: farming, public water supply canal

History

Historical notes: Sydney's first water supply systems

1788 Tank Stream
1830s Busbys Bore (tunnel) constructed taking water from Lachlan Swamps (Centennial Park). Sydney's first engineered water supply system.
1850s steam-pumping system drew water from Botany Swamps (Eastlakes)
1869 The existing system was proving inadequate and unreliable under the twin pressures of drought and Sydney's rapidly increasing population. A Royal Commission appointed by Governor Sir John Young into an adequate long term water supply for Sydney recommended implementation of the Upper Nepean Scheme (UNS) as Sydney's fourth water supply.
1875 NSW Government appointed an independent expert, English civil engineer W Clark, who assessed eight potential major schemes
1877 Clark recommended the Upper Nepean Scheme
1879 NSW Government accepted Clark's recommendation
1880 Work began on the Upper Nepean Scheme. Edward Orpen Moriarty, Engineer in Chief for Harbours and Rivers and head of the NSW Public Works Department designed and oversaw construction of the scheme.

The Upper Nepean Scheme involved harnessing the waters of the Southern Highlands rivers (the Upper Nepean and its tributaries the Avon, Cordeaux and Cataract rivers) at Pheasants Nest Weir (near Wilton) and channelling these waters though a 65 km system of weirs, open canals, tunnels, pipes to Prospect Reservoir; via the 7.7 km long gravity-flow open canal (the Lower Canal) which included the Boothtown Aqueduct to Pipehead basin, Guildford; thence via pipeline to Potts Hill Reservoir (near Auburn) and to Crown Street Reservoir, Sydney, for reticulation and distribution.

1885 A water supply crisis hit Sydney with only 10 days water estimated to be left in the Botany Swamps. Sydney engineering firm Hudson Bros (later Clyde Engineering) provided emergency engineering works to connect the Botany Swamps to Pipehead.

1886: The Lower Canal supplied water as part of Hudson's temporary scheme which began delivering water to Sydney in January 1886. With Prospect Reservoir unfinished, a 750mm pipe was built around Prospect Reservoir to take water from the Upper Canal to the Lower Canal.

1888 Upper Nepean Scheme (including the Lower Canal), constructed by the NSW Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board, was completed and operational. It was an entirely gravity-fed scheme, from water harvested in the Southern Highlands to the reticulated Sydney water supply.

1902 Water level at Prospect Reservoir (Sydney's only dam) fell below gravitation level in the 'King Drought' (the most severe drought to date in NSW since European settlement). Necessitated water being pumped from the Upper Canal directly to the Lower Canal.

The Upper Nepean Scheme developed progressively from 1888, increasing its capacity in response to Sydney's growing population.

Lower Canal upgrades from 1888

1892 repairs to the 22-arched Boothtown Aqueduct constructed in 1883 to carry the Lower Canal across the Boothtown Gully. Following structural failure of the brick side of the water channel, it was reinforced with a concrete lining and tie rods.

1895 Smithfield Tanks (in-ground reservoirs) constructed to supply the Smithfield locality.

1902-12 The Lower Canal was extensively rebuilt and relined its entire length to improve stability and increase its carrying capacity from 50 to 93 million gallons (227 to 423 megalitres) per day. The water level was raised 2 ft (600mm) through lining the dry-stone masonry walls with pre-cast Monier reinforced concrete plates or in-situ cast reinforced concrete lining. To maintain supply during installation, sections of the Lower Canal were 'bulkheaded off' and a 1350mm pipe was laid along the bank to act as a temporary syphon.

1903 Sedimentation Channel and bypass were constructed west of Pipehead to remove sediment from the canal before it entered Pipehead.

1905 The Covered Way, a 288m underground section of the canal located 1 km east of the start of the Lower Canal at Prospect, collapsed in 1904 while the canal was emptied for relining. It was rebuilt in concrete in 1905.

1907 Boothtown Aqueduct ceased operation because of leaks and its insufficient capacity to carry water flow from the upgraded canal and was replaced by the concrete Inverted Syphon. Constructed in 1907, this bypassed the aqueduct for an 3m underground culvert alongside the aqueduct. At its construction the Syphon was the largest continuous concrete work of its kind constructed in Australia.

1911 Construction of reinforced concrete bridge over Lower Canal (Gipps Road Bridge) for Smithfield Road at foot of Greystanes Hill (Greystanes Road, later Gipps Road)

Additional to the Lower Canal upgrades, numerous operational and storage capacity upgrades were implemented throughout the Upper Nepean System in the first half of the 20th century. Major storage dams were constructed on the on the Southern Highlands rivers at Cataract (1907), Cordeaux (1926), Avon (1927) and Nepean (1935), which fed into the Prospect Reservoir. Additionally, nine compensation weirs were built to compensate farmers for the loss of water due to
to diversion of the river flow.

Increasing the storage capacity of the Upper Nepean Scheme had impacts on the Lower Canal's capacity to handle the increased water flow. Historically, the Lower Canal was the technical 'weak link' in the Upper Nepean Scheme, due to its flatness and subsequent lack of capacity. When water levels began to fall in Prospect Reservoir, water flow from the reservoir to the Lower Canal would incrementally reduce and cease when Prospect Reservoir's level fell to 20 ft (6.1m).
Emergency pumping was required during the 1902 drought.

From 1927 additional pipelines were constructed to supplement the Lower Canal flow to Pipehead.

1. 1927: 54 inch (1.4m) diameter temporary woodstave pipe constructed from Upper Canal (just below Prospect) to Pipehead Basin and then on to Potts Hill Reservoir. Supplied 50 million gallons of water per day from Prospect to Pipehead.

2.1931 work began on a permanent steel pipeline and continued in the Depression under an unemployment relief program.

3.1937: Pipeline No. 1, a 72 inch (1.8m) diameter steel pipe was completed between Upper Canal (just above Prospect) and Pipehead. Delivered 45 million gallons per day.

4.1938: Temporary 54 inch woodstave pipe at Pipehead was shut down and dismantled. It remained in operation, however, between Prospect and Pipehead alongside the new steel main until it was decommissioned in 1950s.

5.The Lower Canal's capacity was further supplemented by the construction of Pipeline No. 2, an 84 inch (2.1m) diameter cement-lined steel pipe between Prospect and Pipehead, adjacent to the earlier 72 inch pipeline, which delivered a further 90 million gallons per day.

6. 1958: Warragamba Dam (completed 1960) quadrupled the water storage capacity of all the four Southern Highlands dams and progressively supplied Prospect Reservoir.

1960 Cholorination of Sydney's water supplies began. Facilities introduced at Prospect and Potts Hill.

By the late 1980s, the Lower Canal was unable to keep up with the increasing demand for water from Sydney's grown population. At its peak capacity, following modifications, it could still carry only 100 million gallons per day compared to the 150 million gallon capacity of the Upper Canal to Prospect section of the scheme. In addition, increasing standards of water quality and security of supply were coming up against the urban development that was encroaching on the setting of the open water Lower Canal.

In the 1990s plans were adopted to bypass the Prospect Reservoir and the Lower Canal with water delivered directly from the Upper Canal and Warragamba pipelines to the screening chambers at Pipehead. The Upper Canal and the mains from Warragamba Dam were connected to a new water treatment plant on the west side of Prospect Reservoir which connected to the existing 1937 (72 inch) and 1958 (84 inch) pipelines to Pipehead.

In 1995 work on the Prospect Reservoir and Lower Canal diversion was completed. The Lower Canal's function was replaced by a 3m diameter concrete-lined steel pipe, encased in a tunnel, running below ground from Prospect to Pipehead. This greatly increased the reliability, water quality and level of water flow from Prospect to Pipehead. The Lower Canal was decommissioned and drained. The Prospect Reservoir became a storage (rather than a service) reservoir, providing back up water supply to compensate for demand fluctuations or supply failure.

Listing follows more than 20 years campaigning to save the 64 hectare site. Parts of the canal, including the Boothtown Aqueduct, were already-heritage listed, but the reserve as a whole was not until 2015. The Canal Reserve Action Group (CRAG) spent eight years lobbying for heritage listing for the reserve, with many meetings with interested parties, research and submissions. In 1995 the state government considered selling a major piece of the Canal Reserve for medium-density housing. Residents rallied against this, resulting in the formation of CRAG. The group led a community campaign for the creation of the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve, which became a public reserve in 2004. CRAG is regarded as a guardian of the reserve (Stevens, 2015, 6).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 amenity-
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-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences Technologies for reticulated water supply-
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 Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
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 Planning relationships between key structures and town plans-
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 - parks and open spaces-
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 Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying public parks and gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Community volunteering-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Belonging to an historical society or heritage organisation-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Lower Canal is state significant as a key component of the Upper Nepean Scheme. This scheme was the outcome of the first major engineering investigation in NSW into the provision of an adequate and reliable water supply to meet the needs of a rapidly growing Sydney.

The Upper Nepean Scheme was Sydney's fourth water supply, and its first reliable, and most enduring, engineered water supply. It marked a major engineering advance from locally sourced to remotely harvested water, obtained from rivers in upland catchment areas, that was stored in dams and transported by weirs, open channels, tunnels and pipelines to its final destination.

The Upper Nepean Scheme was one of the largest engineering and public infrastructure works carried out in Australia up to 1888. It was an important determinant of Sydney's growth potential.

No other similar water supply canals of the form and scale of those associated with the Upper Nepean Scheme have ever been built in NSW. The closest comparison to the Upper Nepean Scheme would be Melbourne's Yan Yean Water Supply Scheme which is fundamentally similar in concept and operation, but predates the Upper Nepean Scheme and is not as ambitious in scale.

The scheme is a system that has lent itself to progressive development to meet Sydney's increasing water supply needs. It continues to function for the purpose for which it was designed and constructed.

The Lower Canal functioned as a key element of the Upper Nepean Scheme for over 100 years. Apart from extensive upgrades in its first decades, Lower Canal changed little in its basic principles during this period.

The Lower Canal is state significant for its reuse, through reversible infilling along its entire length, that has retained the legibility in the landscape of its original water supply function which is capable of further enhancement through interpretation.

Large sections of the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve are identified within the biodiversity map of Holroyd Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2013 as containing 'Remnant Native Vegetation'. The biodiversity map was created using data from the National Parks and Wildlife Service mapping of 'Vegetation of the Cumberland Plain'. This map identifies Cumberland Plain Woodland, particularly shale plains woodland, as being located within the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve.

Cumberland Plain Woodland is identified as a critically endangered species under both the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act 1999) and the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act 1995). The species was extensive across the Cumberland Plain (Western Sydney), however only a small percentage of the original extent remains intact and remnants are spread across the Cumberland Plain.

Holroyd LEP 2013, along with the EPBC Act 1999 and TSC Act 1995 are all applicable to the conservation of the remnant vegetation of the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Lower Canal is of state significance for its association with the NSW Public Works Department and Sydney Water and its antecedents. The NSW Board of Water Supply and Sewerage was constituted to be the managing authority of the Upper Nepean Scheme and was responsible for the design and construction of the Lower Canal.

The Lower Canal is of state significance for its association with Edward Orpen Moriarty, Engineer in Chief for Harbours and River Navigation, NSW Department of Public Works as the designer and overseer of the Upper Nepean Scheme. Moriarty is a state significant person in the provision of water supply in NSW. He had previously controlled the building of water supply schemes for Bathurst, Wollongong, Albury, Wagga Wagga and Hunter Valley towns and served as a Commissioner on the 1867 Royal Commission into Sydney's water supply
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Lower Canal has state significance for its technical values.

It has the capacity to demonstrate techniques of canal building (often at extremely small grades); engineering practices (especially in the period 1888-1912) and land surveying, all largely within an era of horse and manpower.

It is an excellent example of the techniques of 19th century hydraulic engineering, particularly the use of gravity directed water flow to supply a large area of Sydney with water. Hydraulic canal building largely ceased world-wide in the 20th century, in favour of pressure pipeline technologies.

It is one of the earliest examples in NSW of the large-scale application of precast reinforced concrete construction.

The Lower Canal contains a wide range of individual features including an infilled open canal, an aqueduct, an inverted syphon, reservoirs, bridges, sedimentation chambers, pre-cast reinforced concrete panels; culverts, flumes, scour valves and other elements which individually and collectively demonstrate the technologies and engineering approaches in use in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in NSW.

All infrastructure associated with the Lower Canal has been identified and assessed in the Heritage Study of the Upper Canal, Prospect Reservoir & Lower Canal (Upper Nepean Scheme) 1992. This study found a majority of components were of potential state significance.

The Lower Canal is state significant for its landmark qualities and reuse (through reversible infilling along its entire length) that retains its capacity to demonstrate its original water supply function. Retention of the Lower Canal's concrete edges along its entire length, together with large sections of only partially filled canal and the associated canal infrastructure, has enabled retention of the Lower Canal's capacity to demonstrate its original water supply function, and its part in the Upper Nepean System as an entity.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The item is not considered to be of state significance under this criterion.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Lower Canal has research potential at state level for the detailed and varied evidence of its various engineering construction techniques. These include its original masonry construction retained beneath its concrete lining upgrade; some of the earliest large-scale applications of pre-cast reinforced concrete construction, and late 19th century hydraulic construction techniques typical of state of the art technology of the time.

Retention of the associated structures (Sedimentation Chambers, Smithfield Tank, Inverted Syphon and Covered Way) through reversible infilling provides research potential for further investigation of the construction techniques of these structures.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Lower Canal has state significance as a key component of a rare and extensive water supply system in NSW. It was one of only two such open water supply canals in Australia; the other being the Upper Canal within the same Upper Nepean Scheme.

As the only component of that scheme that is currently decommissioned in its entirety, coupled with its urban location and public accessibility, the Lower Canal has a rare interpretative capacity for its role as an element in the overall Upper Nepean Scheme.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Lower Canal has state significance for its representative values of the principal characteristics of an extensive, engineered and enduring urban water supply system with the capacity for modification over time.
Integrity/Intactness: Good
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
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
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions
HERITAGE ACT 1977

ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2)
TO GRANT SITE SPECIFIC EXEMPTIONS FROM APPROVAL

Lower Prospect Canal Reserve

SHR No. 1945

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of that Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule "C" by the owner, mortgagee or lessee of the land described in Schedule "B" on the item described in Schedule "A".


The Hon Mark Speakman SC MP
Minister for Heritage


Sydney, 28 May 2015


SCHEDULE "A"

The item known as Lower Prospect Canal Reserve, situated on the land described in Schedule "B".


SCHEDULE "B"

All those pieces or parcels of land known as Lot 1 DP 225807; Lots 1 and 2 DP 222247; Lots 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 DP 221011; Lot 1 DP 513204; Lot 1 DP 952529; Lots 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 12 DP 221012, Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4 DP 235064, and Lot 1 DP 708007 in Parish of Prospect, County of Cumberland; Lot 1 DP 225808 in Parish of Prospect, County of Cumberland and Parish of St John, County of Cumberland; Lot 1 DP 225809; Lots 1, 3 and 5 DP222245; Lots 1, 2 and 3 DP 225811, and Lot 2 DP 865978 in Parish of St John, County of Cumberland; shown on the plan catalogued HC 2636 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.


SCHEDULE "C"

1. Restoration
a.Restoration of the Gipps Road Bridge and the Lower Canal and its associated structures by returning significant fabric to a known earlier location without the introduction of new material
b.Restoration of the Gipps Road Bridge and the Lower Canal and its associated structures without the introduction of new material (except for fixings or fastenings) to reveal a known earlier configuration by removing accretions or reassembling existing components which does not adversely affect the heritage significance of the item.

2. Maintenance and Cleaning
a.The maintenance of the Gipps Road Bridge and the Lower Canal and its associated structures to retain their condition or operation without the removal of or damage to the existing fabric or the introduction of new materials
b.Cleaning including the removal of surface deposits, organic growths or graffiti by the use of low pressure water (less than 100 psi at the surface being cleaned), neutral detergents and mild brushing, scrubbing or abrasives.
c.Maintenance and minor repairs necessary to preserve and maintain the functioning of the Gipps Road Bridge as a transport corridor, including pavement resurfacing; maintenance and repair of roadside kerbing; maintenance and replacement of deck joints; concrete coring and testing; traffic management; relocation and maintenance of signage.
d.Use of anti-graffiti treatments including sacrificial coatings, where it is known that this activity would not harm the heritage values of the Gipps Road Bridge and the Lower Canal and its associated structures.

Note: Maintenance means 'the continuous protective care of the fabric and setting of a place'.

3. Repairs to Gipps Road Bridge
a.Repair of structural components of the bridge to include pavement resurfacing, painting, traffic management and navigational infrastructure on the bridge.
b.Repairs and activities associated with the maintenance and repair of services and utilities including communications and electricity.
c.The repair (such as refixing and patching) or the replacement of missing, damaged or deteriorated fabric that is beyond further maintenance, which matches the existing fabric in appearance, material and method of affixing and does not involve damage to or the removal of significant fabric.
d.Replacement elements may be date-stamped or otherwise marked to indicate they are later components.

4. Works to Gipps Road Bridge
a.Works and activities associated with the maintenance and repair of the pedestrian walkway; maintenance and repair of pedestrian signage and plaques; and maintenance and repair of the pedestrian footpath.
b.Temporary works, not exceeding 12 months, including containment areas, deck support or inspection systems, scaffolding and enclosures necessary for the carrying out of maintenance, enhancement or upgrading works.
c.Minor works that do not alter the structure's overall form or shape or significantly change the appearance of bridge elements.
d.Minor works necessary to preserve and maintain bridge lighting including the upgrade of existing lighting fixtures.
e.Temporary and reversible works, not exceeding 6 weeks, for the operation of special events including the use of temporary event lighting.

5. Minor Development Endorsed by the Heritage Council
a.Minor development specifically identified as exempt development by a conservation policy or strategy within a conservation management plan or a conservation management strategy which has been endorsed by the Heritage Council of NSW, which does not materially impact on heritage significance.

6. Painting
a.Painting which does not involve the disturbance or removal of earlier paint layers other than that which has failed by chalking, flaking, peeling or blistering.
b.Painting which involves over-coating with an appropriate surface as an isolating layer to provide a means of protection for significant earlier layers or to provide a stable basis for repainting.
c.Painting which employs the same colour scheme and paint type as an earlier scheme if they are appropriate to the substrate and do not endanger the survival of earlier paint layers.
d.Removal of lead paint or other hazardous coatings using methods that are verified to not affect original fabric, where followed immediately by recoating to protect the exposed surface.
e.Painting of surfaces which have not previously been painted such as face brickwork, stone, concrete or galvanised iron is not exempt from approval under this exemption.

7. Signage
a.Installation of new signage or relocation of signs, except where these are commercial signs, modular sign structures, cantilever sign structures, or signage over 2 square metres in size.
b.Replacement of signage (up to a 50% increase in size) in the original sign area
c.To permit the erection of temporary and/or permanent non illuminated, non-interpretive signage for the purposes of general way finding, safety and security and the like that does not fall within the descriptions of Heritage Council's Standard Exemption 13: Signage within the curtilage of the item.
d.Any signage will not detract from the heritage significance of the item or obstruct significant views of and from the item and will utilise appropriate and sympathetic materials for the sign's purpose.

8.Excavation
a.The excavation or disturbance of land that will have a nil or minor impact on archaeological relics including the testing of land to verify the existence of relics without destroying or removing them, where:
I.an archaeological assessment, zoning plan or management plan has been prepared in accordance with Guidelines endorsed by the Heritage Council of NSW which indicates that any relics in the land are unlikely to have State or local heritage significance; and/or
II.evidence relating to the history or nature of the site, such as its level of disturbance, indicates that the site has little or no archaeological research potential.
b.The excavation or disturbance of land is for the purpose of exposing underground utility services infrastructure which occurs within an existing service trench and will not affect any relics.
c.The excavation or disturbance of land is to maintain or repair the foundations of the existing bridge which will not affect any associated relics.
d.The excavation or disturbance of land is to expose survey marks for use in conducting a land survey.

9.Line marking
To permit the installation of line marking in an appropriate colour along the cycle way component of the canal to aid usability and improve safety.

10.Installation/maintenance of seating, garbage bins, bubblers and general street furniture
To permit the provision and maintenance of any street furniture within the curtilage of the canal in a sympathetic style utilising appropriate materials, colours and not in a location that will detract from the heritage significance of the item, obstruct view corridors or interfere with the use of the reserve.

11. Fencing
To permit the construction of fencing of an appropriate and sympathetic style for the purposes of improving safety, restricting access to protected vegetation and providing a boundary to the item.

12.Landscape Maintenance
a.Weeding, watering, mowing, top-dressing, pest control and fertilizing necessary for the continued health of plants, without damage or major alterations to layout, contours, plant species or other significant landscape features.
b.Pruning (to control size, improve shape, flowering or fruiting and the removal of diseased, dead or dangerous material), not exceeding 10% of the canopy of a tree within a period of 2 years.
c.Pruning (to control size, improve shape, flowering or fruiting and the removal of diseased, dead or dangerous material) between 10% and 30% of the canopy of a tree within a period of 2 years.
d.Removal of dead or dying trees which are to be replaced by trees of the same species in the same location.
e.Tree surgery by a qualified arborist, horticulturist or tree surgeon necessary for the health of those plants.

13. Bushfire maintenance
To permit the undertaking of fire prevention works in accordance with Holroyd City Council's Fire Management Plan for the Lower Prospect Canal. This includes works relating to hazard reduction, reduce vulnerability, maintain defendable space and protect, maintain and enhance the biodiversity and ecological values of the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve.

14.Safety and Security
a.The erection of temporary security fencing, scaffolding, hoardings or surveillance systems to prevent unauthorised access or secure public safety which will not adversely affect significant fabric of the Gipps Road Bridge and the Lower Canal and its associated structures, including landscape or archaeological features of the curtilage.
b.Development, including emergency stabilisation, necessary to secure safety where the Gipps Road Bridge and the Lower Canal and its associated structures have been irreparably damaged or destabilised and pose a safety risk to users or the public.
c.Minor works necessary to preserve and enhance the security of the Gipps Road Bridge and the Lower Canal and its associated structures, including security fencing, video surveillance and detection systems.
d.Works that, in the opinion of the Heritage Council or its Delegate, are required for the security of the Gipps Road Bridge and bridge users, and that need to remain confidential.
Jun 30 2015

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0194530 Jun 15 551989
Local Environmental PlanLower Prospect Canal Reserve & Garden, boothtown A 01 Jan 91   
Heritage studyHolroyd Heritge Study 01 Jan 93   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Holroyd Heritage Study1993 Neustein & Associates  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
ElectronicAlan Powell1974Moriarty, Edward Orpen (1825-1896) View detail
WrittenAlison Mills, in "The Parramatta Sun"2009Bridge 'needed now'
WrittenE Higginbotham, T Kass, V Murphy, J Collocott, T Fiander, S Lavelle1992Heritage Study Upper Canal, Prospect Reservoir, Lower Canal (Upper Nepean Scheme) Vols 1, 2 & 3
WrittenEdward Higginbotham2000Archival Record & SOHI, Lower Canal, Prospect to Pipehad (Part of Upper Nepean Scheme) Vol 1 History, Description & Statement of Significance
WrittenEnvironmental Resources Management2008Lower Prospect canal s60 excavation : archaeological excavation report
WrittenFuturepast Heritage Consulting2012Lower Canal at Pipehead: Conservation Management Strategy
WrittenGodden Mackay Logan2002Lower Canal--Prospect. Proposed Transitway Intersection
WrittenGrace Karskens1991Holroyd: A Social History of Western Sydney
WrittenJon Breen2014Submission on the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve proposed SHR listing
WrittenStevens, Kylie2015'Decades of effort bring heritage listing'

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: 5055898
File number: EF14/11245; H98/74-003


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