Wahroonga Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 0124) | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Wahroonga Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 0124)

Item details

Name of item: Wahroonga Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 0124)
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Utilities - Water
Category: Water Supply Reservoir/ Dam
Location: Lat: -33.7193219176 Long: 151.1140947360
Primary address: 1678 Pacific Highway and Woonona Avenue, Wahroonga, NSW 2076
Local govt. area: Ku-Ring-Gai
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT1 DP1210093

Boundary:

Listing boundary is 3 metres from the edge of the reservoir.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1678 Pacific Highway and Woonona AvenueWahroongaKu-Ring-Gai  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Sydney WaterState Government27 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

Wahroonga Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 124) is an unusual and unique reservoir in the Sydney Water Supply System. The whole structure is a fine example of riveted steel design and technology, surviving intact. It is a distinct local landmark. The reservoirs at Wahroonga demonstrate the variety of reservoir construction techniques used by the MWS & DB, the engineering expertise available to the Board as well as the growth in demand in the Northern Suburbs from 1898 onwards, now more than 100 years of growth. Wahroonga reservoirs have played a major role in the supply of water to the Northern Suburbs.
Date significance updated: 07 Sep 16
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: Water Board
Builder/Maker: Water Board
Physical description: Wahroonga Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 124) is an unusual and unique reservoir in the Sydney Water Supply System. It has a cylindrical elevated riveted steel tank, with an original roof and a spherical or rounded base, all constructed in riveted steel plate. The reservoir is supported on an eight legged, H section, steel girder riveted frame, with horizontal and diagonal bracing. The top of the reservoir is reached by a stairway up the inside of the frame, with a walkway at the top of the frame (attached by triangular riveted plates) and a stairway to the roof of the reservoir. The whole structure is a fine example of riveted steel design and technology, surviving intact for more than 85 years. It is a prominent local landmark.

Standard features include: davit, trigonometric station, access stairway, handrails and inlet and outlet valve chambers.

Significant plantings include: cypress, jacaranda and Illawarra flame tree.

Full Service Level: 237 m.
Capacity: 1.1 ML.
Modifications and dates: Good condition and intact.
Current use: Reservoir.
Former use: Aboriginal land, timber-getting

History

Historical notes: Wahroonga is Aboriginal land:
The meaning of 'Wahroonga' - an Aboriginal word - is 'our home'.

Material in rock shelters reveals that Aboriginal people inhabited the surrounding region at least from the last ice age some 20,000 years ago. Several different languages and dialects were spoken in the Sydney Harbour area before the arrival of the First Fleet. 'Kuringgai' was the language spoken on the north shores (DEST & DUAP, 1996, 42, 135, 138). When Europeans chose the south side of the harbour for the settlement of the First Fleet in 1788, they chose the territory of the Darug-speaking people, who inhabited the region from the southern shores of Sydney Harbour west to the Blue Mountains. Both the Darug and the Kuringgai groups suffered catastrophic loss of life in the smallpox epidemic that swept through the indigenous population in 1789, with a death rate estimated to have been between 50 per cent and 90 per cent. Over the following century there were numerous documentary recordings of the movements of surviving Kuringgai people within the Ku-Ring-Gai locality, both attending Aboriginal gatherings and collecting European rations such as blankets. There are also several oral history accounts of small clans travelling through the district in the late nineteenth century. In the 1950s at least a few local Aboriginal people were known to be still living within their traditional territory (Ku-Ring-Gai Historical Society, 1996, 12-13).

Early Europeans in the district
Before the railway (constructed late nineteenth century) and later the Sydney Harbour Bridge (opened 1932) made the north shore easily accessible, the Kur-Ring-Gai area was remote from Sydney Town and consisted mainly of isolated white rural communities earning their livelihood from agricultural activities such as timber-getting and market gardening. Wahroonga first experienced suburban development after the railway line from Hornsby to St Leonards was opened in 1890, when the first suburban roads were constructed followed by the first homes, built around 1896. The Shire of Ku-Ring-Gai was first constituted in 1906 with just six councillors, who took temporary offices in the grounds of St John's Church at Gordon (ibid, 1996, 12-18).

George Caley (1770-1829), a botanist sent to the colony in 1795 by Sir Joseph Banks from London to collect flora specimens for Kew Gardens, was one of the first white men to explore this bushland area. In 1805 he walked along a cattle path on the ridge towards Fox Valley, near the 640 acres that were later granted to Thomas Hyndes by Governor Darling (1825-31). The north-western part of the grant, known later as Pearce's Corner extended past the present Sydney Adventist Hospital (today this area marks the boundary of three suburbs: Normanhurst, Waitara and Wahroonga) - and honours an early settler whose name was Aaron Pierce. He arrived with his wife in 1811, received a conditional pardon and worked as a timber cutter along the ridge from Kissing Point to the present Pacific Highway (formerly Lane Cove Road). Three tracks converged at this point and Pierce built a hut to house his family and set out an orchard. He was said to reside there by 1831, and the corner was then known as Pierce's Corner). A village developed on the opposite corner (Pearce's Corner Township, later renamed Normanhurst)) around St. Paul's Church (which today is in Wahroonga).

On Hyndes' death the grant was bought by John Brown and became known as Brown's Paddock. When he died in 1881, it was resurveyed and the larger portion became Fox Ground Estate, purchased by a Francis Gerard (Pollen, 1988, 260-2).

Before the railway (late nineteenth century) and later the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932) made the north shore easily accessible, the Ku-Ring-Gai area was remote from Sydney Town and consisted mainly of isolated white rural communities earning their livelihood from agricultural activities such as timber-getting and market gardening (ibid, 1996, 12-18).

The harbour barrier delayed suburbanisation of the district and in the early 1880s the tiny settlement was judged too small to warrant a railway line. Access to Milsons Point remained difficult although a coach service plied that route from 1881 to 1887. By 1885 it was also possible to travel to Sydney via the 5 bridges road crossing the water at Fig Tree, Gladesville, Iron Cove, Glebe Island and Pyrmont (AHC - indicative place listing - Mahratta Avenue Urban Conservation Area).

Railway and tramway plans for the area were discussed by the authorities in the 1880s (Scobie, 2008, 9). The single-track North Shore railway line that went from Hornsby to St Leonards in 1890 finally reached Milsons Point in 1893. The North Shore Ferry Company had been carrying passengers from Milsons Point to Circular Quay since the 1860s and by the 1890s around 5 million people crossed the harbour by this means every year. Offering suburban subdivisions along the railway line in advance of the stations, speculators developed Ku-ring-gai well before completion of the North Shore Bridge in 1932 set off another flurry of real estate promotion. Ku-ring-gai grew slowly in the 19th century, its population being 4,000 by 1901. However, over the next two decades its population quadrupled. By this time, with its large residences in beautiful, leafy surrounds, it had changed from a district with a dubious reputation to one that attracted people of high socio-economic status, 73 per cent of whom were home owners.

When the railway line came through the North Shore from St. Leonards to Hornsby, a station opened in this area on 1/1/1890 and was called Pearce's Corner. The construction name had been Noonan's Platform because the property belonging to Patrick Noonan came within the new railway's boundary. The name was changed to Wahroonga on 30/8/1890 (AHC - indicative place listing - Mahratta Avenue Urban Conservation Area). The section between Hornsby and St. Leonards was built by E.Pritchard & Co. contractor (Scobie, 2008, 9).

Wahroonga first experienced suburban development after the railway line from Hornsby to St Leonards opened in 1890, when the first suburban roads were constructed followed by the first homes, around 1896. The Shire of Ku-Ring-Gai was first constituted in 1906 with six councillors, who took temporary offices in the grounds of St John's Church at Gordon (ibid, 1996). The post office opened on 15/10/1896. In 1898 Abbotsleigh School for girls moved to Wahroonga. In 1899 when only 3 houses stood in Fox Valley Road, Wahroonga, the Seventh-Day Adventists purchased land there and erected a large building by 1903. This evolved into 'The San' or Sanitarium hospital (Pollen, 1988, 260-2).

During the interwar years of 1921 to 1933, the population increased by 45 per cent from 19,209 to 27,931 with a 68 per cent rise in the number of occupied dwellings, the proportion of brick to weatherboard being 5:1. The same sort of increase occurred from 1933 to 1947 when a further 43 per cent of people moved into the district bringing the total population to 39,874 and adding 3,564 houses. Even greater restriction on the use of timber and fibro occurred in this period so that 3,182 of these were brick. Clearly, Ku-ring-gai suffered less in the 1930s depression than other municipalities where development was much slower. Its people also encountered less unemployment - only slightly behind Vaucluse with 16 per cent unemployed, Ku-ring-gai and Mosman registered 18 per cent unemployed in 1933 - although the proportion of owner occupation did fall to 68 per cent (AHC - indicative place listing - Mahratta Avenue Urban Conservation Area).

Wahroonga Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 124).

Northern Suburbs Supply.
When the Board took over from Sydney City Council in 1888, the only supply to the northern suburbs was by a submarine main from Dawes Point to Milsons Point, taking water by gravitation from Paddington Reservoir. The level of Paddington Reservoir limited supply to the lower areas of the N Sydney.

In 1888, in order to overcome this problem, the Board erected a pumping station in Junction Street, N Sydney, with two storage tanks in the grounds of St. Thomas' Church, to meet demand for the higher parts of N Sydney. The plant was dismantled in 1892, the pump being transferred to Carlton and the tanks to Wahroonga (not extant). The above submarine main was abandoned in 1917.

In 1892 the Ryde Pumping Station was commissioned, supplied by mains from Potts Hill (via Rookwood Cemetery, along the Concord Peninsula and attached to the 1889 railway bridge at Meadowbank), with reservoirs at Ryde Pumping Station (disused 1930) and Ryde Hill and then by mains to a pair of reservoirs at Chatswood (previously constructed in 1888).

With increasing population of the N Shore, brought about by the construction of the railway, new storage reservoirs were required. The tanks, originally at N Sydney, were transferred to Wahroonga in 1896. A steam powered pumping station was erected at Chatswood in 1895 for the supply of Wahroonga. A new steel surface reservoir was constructed at Wahroonga in 1898 (Wahroonga Reservoir No.1 (WS 123)).

From Wahroonga the main from Chatswood extended to Hornsby, with a branch to Thornleigh and Beecroft.

The mains from Chatswood to Wahroonga had deteriorated by 1905, necessitating new direct mains from Ryde to Wahroonga, and from Chatswood to Pymble to connect to former.

Wahroonga Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 124) was erected in 1915.

A main to Mobbs Hill was constructed in 1916. It was extended to Beecroft and Wahroonga in 1918, superseding the Ryde Wahroonga Main which was now too small.

A Pumping Station was erected at Wahroonga for the elevated tank (Wahroonga Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 124)) in 1935.

New mains were constructed from Ryde to Wahroonga in 1937 for the new reservoir (Wahroonga Reservoir No.3 (WS 125)), with connection to Pymble.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis (none)-
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. State government-
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 - 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 - administration of land-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The reservoirs at Wahroonga demonstrate the growth in demand in the Northern Suburbs from 1898 onwards, now more than 100 years of growth. Wahroonga reservoirs have played a major role in the supply of water to the Northern Suburbs.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The reservoirs at Wahroonga demonstrate the variety of reservoir construction techniques used by the MWS & DB, the engineering expertise available to the Board. They are a prominent landmark in the area.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The design and construction of this reservoir are not repeated in the SWC system.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
This reservoir is unique in the Sydney Water Supply Area, with its riveted cylindrical tank and riveted steel girder stand.
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 Heritage Council State Owned Heritage Asset Management Guidelines and the Minimum Standards of Maintenance and Repair in the NSW Heritage Regulations. Manage significant site elements in accordance with a Conservation Management Plan (CMP). If no CMP exists, consult with Asset Management Commercial Services with respect to commissioning a CMP. When commissioning a CMP, do so in accordance with the Model Brief for CMPs available on ConnectNet. Seek endorsement of the CMP from the Heritage Council of NSW. Works undertaken in accordance with a Heritage Council-endorsed CMP do not require further approval under the NSW Heritage Act. Involve heritage professionals as required under the terms of the CMP, or as otherwise determined necessary. Review CMP every 5 years or in a major change of circumstances, whichever is sooner. Review of a CMP should only be undertaken following consultation with Asset Management Commercial Services . When commissioning a CMP review, do so in accordance with the Model Brief for CMPs available on ConnectNet. Where no CMP is in place, or where works are outside the scope of the existing CMP, assess heritage impacts of proposed works in accordance with Sydney Water Environment Impact Assessment guidelines (e.g. undertake a Heritage Assessment and/or Statement of Heritage Impact as required, obtain Heritage Council approval as required). Consult with the Heritage Manager, Environment and Innovation, when major works are planned which affect items of State heritage significance. 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. 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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) OF THE HERITAGE ACT 1977

Standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977.

I, Donald Harwin, the Special Minister of State 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, effective 1 December 2020:

1. revoke the order made on 11 July 2008 and published on pages 91177 to 9182 of Government Gazette Number 110 of 5 September 2008 and varied by notice published in the Government Gazette on 5 March 2015; and

2. grant the exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 that are described in the attached Schedule.

Donald Harwin
Special Minister of State
Signed this 9th Day of November 2020.

To view the standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 click on the link below.
Nov 13 2020

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0135218 Nov 99 2209711
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register 121423   
National Trust of Australia register      

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Sydney Water Heritage Study1996121423Graham Brooks and Associates Pty LtdGRAHAM BROOKS AND ASSOCIATES PTY LTD 1 July 1996 Yes
Ku-Ring-Gai Heritage Study1987 Robert Moore, Penelope Pike & Helen Proudfoot  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenKu-Ring-Gai Historical Society Inc1996Focus on Ku-Ring-Gai
WrittenPollen, Francis, in The Book of Sydney Suburbs1988'Wahroonga'
Management Plan (HC endorsed)Sydney Water Corporation.2005Wahroonga reservoirs : Conservation management plan

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 NSW
Database number: 5060541
File number: H05/00103


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