Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 (Covered) (WS 0022)

  • Number
    4573704
  • Other name
    WS0022
  • Primary address

    240, Oxford Street Paddington Centennial Park, 2021. NSW
    LGA: Randwick
    LGA region: Sydney
    DUAP region: Sydney South

  • Alternate Address

    241, Carrington Dr Centennial Park, 2021. NSW
    LGA: Randwick
    LGA code: RAND
    LGA region: Sydney
    DUAP region: Sydney South

  • Owner
    Sydney Water
  • Current use
    Water storage and distribution
  • Former use
    Water storage and distribution
  • Item type
    Built
  • Item group
    Utilities - Water
  • Item category
    Water Supply Reservoir/ Dam
  • Parcels

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 1
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 582822
    Updated: 17 February 2003

  • Curtilage/Boundary
    The curtilage is defined by the boundary of Lot 1 in DP no.582822, as shown on the curtilage plan.
  • Map name
    Botany Bay
  • Map scale
    1 : 25000
  • Latitude
    33 53 35 S
  • Longitude
    151 14 18 E
  • AMG easting
    337133887
  • AMG northing
    6248498204
  • AMG zone
    56H
  • Statement of significance
    Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 was the largest covered storage reservoir constructed in Australia at the time it was built and it remains very large by present-day standards. It is associated with the early development of the Upper Nepean Water Supply Scheme and the subsequent expansion of water reticulation throughout the suburban areas of Sydney. It is also associated with the rapid urban expansion of the eastern suburbs of Sydney in the late 19th century. The reservoir demonstrates exemplary engineering practices at the turn of the century in relation to design, construction methods and manual skills, particularly in regards to the vaulted arch roof. The reservoir has played a continuous, on-going role for over a century as an important facility of the water supply system, particularly for the eastern suburbs. The exterior of the reservoir has aesthetic qualities which relate to its parkland environment and is a local landmark. The level of ornamentation evident in the structure demonstrates the importance placed upon the appearance of engineering structures in the era in which it was built. The Centennial Park group of three reservoirs, including Woollahra Reservoir (WS 144), 1880, Centennial Park No.1 (WS 22), 1899, and Centennial Park No.2 (WS 23), 1925, demonstrate the development in construction technology for covered reservoirs, as well as the dramatic increase in demand in the growing Sydney suburbs. The group is unique in the Sydney Water system, because of their size, design and level of architectural detailing.
  • Endorsed significance
    State
  • Designer
    NSW Department of Public Works
  • Builder
    NSW Department of Public Works
  • Year started
    1896
  • Year completed
    1898
  • Circa
    No
  • Physical description
    Centennial Park No.1 Reservoir is built of brick and concrete, with arched concrete roof covered with layers of ‘coke dust’, sand and turf. It appears that mass concrete rather than reinforced concrete was used in construction. The reservoir was built to oblong plan, with axial dimensions of about 158m by 98m. The top of the reservoir is marked by a central brick access tower and cast-iron fence and gates around the perimeter. The reservoir is ventilated through roof openings masked by the central pavilion and the hollow cast-iron fence posts. The perimeter reservoir walls are of typical gravity-retaining-wall cross section, supported by sloping rubble fill covered with earth. Internally, the reservoir is about 9m deep, with a working water depth of about 7m. A large masonry wall divides the storage space in two main chambers. The roof is supported by brick columns in rectangular array. The walls, originally face brick and concrete, are coated in water-tight bitumen. About 20m to the south of the reservoir is a simple rectangular structure built in ‘blonde’ brick and with a flat concrete roof. It houses the water pumping station WPS 118, which supplies water from Centennial Park Reservoirs 1 and 2 to Woollahra Reservoir.
  • Modifications made
    Circa 1930, the Tennis Pavilion, designed by architect Howard Jouriand, was relocated to Lane Cove National Park and it remained there until c.1955. In 1974 defects in the walls led to the lowering of the FSL (Full Storage Level) by one metre until, in 1990 - 1992, part of the battered earth side wall was strengthened with concrete. The reservoir is now operating at full capacity. c.2000 the wrought iron fence was restored.
  • History
    Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 was the last of the five 19th century city reservoirs to be constructed. In 1898 the Paddington Reservoir went out of service, as its function was taken over by the larger and more elevated Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 completed in 1899. In 1925 the operation of Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 was augmented by the construction of a second reservoir nearby. The Centennial Park Reservoir was created a decade later than Woollahra Reservoir. It took place at the time when Board of Water Supply and Sewerage was already established, and many particulars of its creation are documented in the Board’s Annual Reports. The first ideas to create the new reservoir emerged in the early 1880s when the area was generally vacant, however before the detailed reservoir plans were ready, it was already planned to be included in the Centennial Parklands. Not much happened however until the early 1890s, when the land and funds were allocated. The reservoir was designed by the Public Works Department’s team led by C W Darley, Engineer-in-Chief for Public Works. The design process took place in 1894-1897, with the final solutions prepared in 1896- 1897. The PWD Annual Report 1897 notes that the reservoir walls’ construction is nearly complete, that erection of the special groined coke concrete roof would soon begin. The Centennial Park No.1 Reservoir was scheduled for completion in 1898, and it was estimated it will be put into operation in the early months of 1899. After some delay the works were completed in early 1899, and it was noted that the reservoir was urgently handed over to the Board, and immediately brought into service. The reservoir was described as built in brick, and roofed in with coke-concrete groined arches. Much of the original architectural documentation survives, however none are countersigned by a contractor, which would indicate the actual contract documentation. According to Doring, there probably were no contractors, except for materials such as the bricks and ironwork, since we understand the Public Works Department carried out the work using day labour, supervised by the engineer on site. The bricks utilised in construction were mostly produced by the Croydon Steam Brick Company, which operated in the Burwood/Croydon area from about 1879 until 1945. At the time of construction, the reservoir was praised for its top water level of 245 feet (74.67m) above the high-water mark, a height of 31 feet (about 9.45m) superior to that of Paddington Reservoir, which has since been abandoned. This was of particular importance in combination with the relatively large capacity – 17 million gallons (about 76.5Megalitres), which makes it the largest covered reservoir in Australia, as the top water level of Woollahra Reservoir was actually higher at about 37 feet (11.28m).
  • National
    Economy
  • State
    Technology
  • Local
    (none)
  • National
    Settlement
  • State
    Utilities
  • Local
    Water Supply
  • Local description
    Relates to the planning, development, expansion and provision of water supply.
  • a) Historical
    Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 is associated with the rapid urban expansion of the eastern suburbs of Sydney in the late 19th century, following the provision of the tramway transport system and the breakup of the large estates. The reservoir has played a continuous, on-going role as an important facility of the water supply system, particularly for the eastern suburbs. Centennial Park No.1 Reservoir is of significance for its place in the history of Water supply in NSW, as chronologically the sixth built water reservoir in Sydney and the fifth oldest still in operation today.
  • c) Aesthetic
    Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 is an excellent example of the 19th century practice of enhancement of the utilitarian with a decorative presentation and is amongst the finest examples of this in Sydney. The exterior of Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 is an attractive, well proportioned landscape area, enclosed by decorative fencing, located within an area of parkland of high landscape, amenity and aesthetic values. The interior of the reservoir, when empty, is a remarkable vast space.
  • d) Social
    Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 was the site, in the early 1990s, of a public access program, instituted whilst the reservoir was empty for refurbishment works, which attracted many thousands of members of the public, demonstrating a significant interest and value placed upon these structures by the public at large. Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 is highly regarded by the public. It had a more notable role as the local landmark, particularly as the tennis courts were created on the reservoir roof in the 1920s and 1930s. The fine cast-iron perimeter fence and roof top pavilion of elegant proportions contributed strongly to the same effect.
  • e) Research
    Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 contains representative examples of a range of construction techniques, materials and technologies of the late 19th century. It provides evidence of the expectations and planning context of the designers of the water supply system for Sydney. The reservoir demonstrates water engineering practice at the turn of the century in regard to design knowledge, construction methods and manual skills, particularly in regards to the arched roof, practices which have since been superseded by reinforced concrete.
  • f) Rarity
    Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 is one of the few in-ground, covered water storage reservoirs of the 19th century surviving in Sydney. Its unique features include a structure in combination of brick and concrete and applied on structure of a relatively large scale and elaborated above-ground elements.
  • g) Representative
    Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 is a representative example of a large in-ground covered water storage reservoir of its period. It is representative as a surviving and operational 19th century water storage reservoir, and an example of the water storage facilities of its type and date of creation.
  • Integrity assessment
    The reservoir is almost completely intact and continues to function in the role it was designed. The pavilion and tennis courts have been removed.
  • List name
    Register of the National Estate
  • Name
    Centennial Park
  • Reference number
    001757 and 2379
  • Date listing listed
    01 January 2000
  • List name
    Local Environmental Plan
  • Name
    Randwick 1998 (unclear which Reservoir)
  • Date listing listed
    01 January 1998
  • List name
    Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register
  • Name
    Sydney Water Heritage Register
  • Date listing listed
    13 August 2003
  • List name
    National Trust of Australia register
  • Name
    Sydney Water Supply - Centennial Park Reservoir
  • Date listing listed
    26 May 1986
  • List name
    Heritage Act - State Heritage Register
  • Name
    State Heritage Register
  • Reference number
    01320
  • Date listing listed
    18 November 1999
  • Title
    Sydney Water Supply - Centennial Park Reservoir No. 1
  • Author
    Collocott J. M.
  • Published
    1986
  • Title
    The Sweat of their Brows - 100 years of the Sydney Water Board 1888 - 1988
  • Author
    Beasley M.
  • Published
    1988
  • Title
    The Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage of Sydney
  • Author
    Aird W. V.
  • Published
    1961
  • Title
    Centennial Park Reservoir No1 (Covered) (WS 0022) Conservation Management Plan
  • Author
    Sydney Water
  • Published
    2005
  • Item reference number in study
  • Detail of one of the ornate cast-iron access gates to the roof area of the Centennial Park Reservoir.
    Detail of one of the ornate cast-iron access gates to the roof area of the Centennial Park Reservoir.
    Created by: Cameron Hartnell
    Creation date: 12 May 2000
  • The physical curtilage plan for the Centennial Park Reservoir WS 001.
    The physical curtilage plan for the Centennial Park Reservoir WS 001.
    Created by: Godden Mackay Logan
    Creation date: 20 July 2000
  • The physical curtilage plan for Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 (Covered) (WS 0022).
    The physical curtilage plan for Centennial Park Reservoir No.1 (Covered) (WS 0022).
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 27 June 2006
  • Wrought iron fence around reservoir, note ventilating pillar.
    Wrought iron fence around reservoir, note ventilating pillar.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 01 January 2008
  • View showing surface of reservoir and access chamber.
    View showing surface of reservoir and access chamber.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 01 January 2008
  • View showing roof surface of reservoir.
    View showing roof surface of reservoir.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 01 January 2008
  • Data entry status
    Basic
  • Entered
    01 December 2000
  • Updated
    05 December 2014