Woollahra Reservoir (Covered) (WS 0144)

  • Number
    4575731
  • Other name
    (WS 0144)
  • Primary address

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

  • Alternate Address

    243, Loch Avenue at Oxford Street Gates Centennial Park, 2021. NSW
    LGA: Randwick
    LGA code: RAND
    LGA region: Sydney
    DUAP region: Sydney South

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

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 1729
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 45644
    Updated: 17 February 2003

  • Curtilage/Boundary
    The curtilage includes Sydney Water's infrastructure to the boundary of Lot 1729 in DP no.45644, as shown on the curtilage plan.
  • AMG easting
    322191666
  • AMG northing
    1248512919
  • Statement of significance
    One of only three service reservoirs, still in service, which were associated and dependent upon the Botany Swamps Scheme (1858-1886). It is also the second oldest reservoir still in service in the Sydney Water Supply System (Crown Street Reservoir (WS 0034) being the oldest). The reservoir exemplifies the high standard of engineering practice available at the end of the 19th century, in particular puddled clay blanket, brick walls and roof. The Centennial Park group of three reservoirs, including Woollahra Reservoir (WS 0144), 1880, Centennial Park No.1 (WS 0022), 1899, and Centennial Park No.2 (WS 0023), 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. All covered reservoirs are highly significant within the Sydney Water system, since all differ in construction technology, design and architectural detailing. All therefore contribute to our understanding of the development of covered reservoirs in NSW.
  • Endorsed significance
    State
  • Circa
    No
  • Physical description
    Woollahra Reservoir features walls built in brick, with a jack-arch brick roof, built partly in embankment. The reservoir was built on a roughly square plan, about 30.5m (east-west) by 33.5m (north-south). The upper part of the structure is above ground, built in brick, and consists of a wall with arched ventilation openings, the notable elaborated entrance, and a flat grassed roof. Two inlet mains are also visible, entering the structure above the ground from the north and south direction. Internally, the reservoir is about 8m deep with a working water depth of about 5.3m. The roof is supported by 40 brick columns, arrayed in 8 rows (longitudinally, north-south) by 5 columns (traverse, east-west). The face brick walls are coated in water-tight bitumen coating. In the immediate vicinity, about 50m to the south of the reservoir, are remnant foundations of the boosting station that supplied water to Waverley Reservoir around the turn of the 20th century.
  • History
    The Woollahra Reservoir site was created within the area earlier allocated to the Lachlan Reserve. The immediate site of the Reservoir was thus in the ownership of the Crown and its water supply agencies, represented by the Sydney City Council, from 1811 prior to which it was vacant land. The immediate site was apparently undeveloped until its allocation for the construction of the Reservoir. Woollahra Reservoir was built by the Public Works Department and completed in 1879, before the establishment of the Board of Water Supply and Sewerage in 1880. The surviving historic documentation includes architectural drawings preserved in the Sydney Water Plan Room, however the PWD Reports to the NSW Parliament contain no reference or description of its original condition. The surviving c.1880s site plan indicates that the site originally used by the Reservoir comprised an area of 2a 3r 24 ¼p (approx. 1.2ha). According to this plan, the site boundaries included the Reservoir, an ‘office’ and ‘engine house’. The location and existence of the ‘engine house’ (pumping station) is confirmed in later Water Board’s Annual Reports and the foundations of the structure are still visible on the grounds. There is however no material evidence or other indication of the location of the ‘office’ block. It is possible that this was never been built or that it was a temporary structure. The site boundaries were apparently not fenced until much later, and there is no indication of the position or possible creation of the ‘stone wall’ to the Parklands, as indicated in this plan. The ‘wall’ to Oxford Street however apparently forms part of the Centennial Parklands fence. It appears that the whole project was carried out by the Public Works Department using day labour, which was common practice, also applied in the case of Centennial Park No.1.
  • National
    Settlement
  • State
    Utilities
  • Local
    Water Supply
  • Local description
    Relates to the planning, development, expansion and provision of water supply.
  • a) Historical
    One of only three service reservoirs, still in service, which were associated and dependent upon the Botany Swamps Scheme (1858-1886). It is also the second oldest reservoir still in service in the Sydney Water Supply System (Crown Street Reservoir (WS 34) being the oldest). This reservoir demonstrates the high level of demand by a populous suburban community.
  • c) Aesthetic
    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, is unique in the Sydney Water system, because of their size, design and level of architectural detailing. Woollahra Reservoir (WS 144) is notable for the unobtrusive way it fits into its setting.
  • e) Research
    The reservoir exemplifies the high standard of engineering practice available at the end of the 19th century, in particular puddled clay blanket, brick walls and roof. 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. All covered reservoirs are highly significant within the Sydney Water system, since all differ in construction technology, design and architectural detailing. All therefore contribute to our understanding of the development of covered reservoirs in NSW.
  • f) Rarity
    One of a small group of large covered reservoirs in brick or concrete, each demonstrating differences in construction, design and architectural detailing. It is one of only four reservoirs associated with the Botany Swamps Supply. As a surviving and operational 19th century water storage reservoir, and a representative of the water storage facilities of its type and date of creation. For its unique features including roof constructed of brick jack-arches with a puddle clay blanket and supported by brick columns, and elaborated above-ground elements.
  • List name
    Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register
  • Date listing listed
    01 January 2000
  • List name
    National Trust of Australia register
  • Name
    Woollahra Reservoir
  • Date listing listed
    25 August 1986
  • List name
    Heritage Act - State Heritage Register
  • Reference number
    01356
  • Date listing listed
    18 November 1999
  • Title
    Woollahra Reservoir (Covered) (WS 0144) Conservation Management Plan
  • Author
    Sydney Water
  • Published
    2005
  • Item reference number in study
  • WS 144.View of short section of woodstave pipe, serving as a ventilator for the covered resrvoir.
    WS 144.View of short section of woodstave pipe, serving as a ventilator for the covered resrvoir.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 16 November 2004
  • Woollahra Reservoir, valve house entry.
    Woollahra Reservoir, valve house entry.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 16 November 2004
  • Woollahra Reservoir, southern view and outlet.
    Woollahra Reservoir, southern view and outlet.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 16 November 2004
  • Woollahra Reservoir, view from Oxford street.
    Woollahra Reservoir, view from Oxford street.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 21 July 2009
  • Woollahra Reservoir looking west.
    Woollahra Reservoir looking west.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 21 July 2009
  • Woollahra Reservoir looking east.
    Woollahra Reservoir looking east.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 21 July 2009
  • The physical curtilage plan for Woollahra Reservoir (Covered)(WS0144).
    The physical curtilage plan for Woollahra Reservoir (Covered)(WS0144).
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 14 July 2006
  • Data entry status
    Basic
  • Entered
    18 December 2000
  • Updated
    05 March 2014