Petersham Reservoir (Covered) (WS 0089)

  • Number
    4575751
  • Other name
    (WS 0089)
  • Primary address

    202, Canterbury Road Petersham, 2049. NSW
    LGA: Marrickville
    LGA region: Sydney
    DUAP region: Sydney South

  • Alternate Address

    203, Shaw Street Petersham, 2049. NSW
    LGA: Marrickville
    LGA code: MARR
    LGA region: Sydney
    DUAP region: Sydney South

  • Owner
    Sydney Water
  • Current use
    Disused reservoir.
  • Former use
    Reservoir.
  • 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: 744897
    Updated: 17 February 2003

  • Curtilage/Boundary
    The curtilage is defined by the boundary of Lot 1 in DP no.744897, as shown on the curtilage plan.
  • AMG easting
    329477634
  • AMG northing
    6247811804
  • Statement of significance
    Petersham Reservoir (Covered) (WS 89) demonstrates the high level of engineering skill available for the construction of late 19th century covered reservoirs. It belongs to a small group of covered reservoirs, which together exhibit the changing technology used in construction. Petersham Reservoir (Covered) (WS 89) was the first reservoir to be commissioned after the completion of the Upper Nepean Scheme in 1888. The valve houses still contain the original switch gear. The Petersham Reservoir site is a composite of 19th and 20th century service reservoir technologies and provides an opportunity to appreciate two distinct engineering and construction approaches to water storage and service. The brick and coke cement-constructed Covered Reservoir is a significant element in the development of 19th century construction of five service reservoirs including Crown Street Reservoir (1859). The Modernist-style 20th century Elevated Reservoir is an important milestone in the development of engineering expertise in the construction of reinforced concrete structures. The survival of the “Romanesque” style Petersham Reservoir inlet and outlet Valve Houses with their original valve gearing and controls is unique amongst Sydney Water's holdings. The ornate boundary wall to the site is constructed in the same brick and masonry bond pattern as the Valve Houses and together, the Valve Houses and the wall form a highly significant element in the Petersham streetscape.The ancillary structures of the District Engineer’s Office building (1895) and the Booster Pump Building (1925) have a lesser degree of significance but seen as a part of a continuum of Sydney Water activity on the Petersham Reservoir site, they have a high degree of significance as enhancements of the understanding of this place and its function as water storage and distribution.
  • Endorsed significance
    State
  • Circa
    No
  • Physical description
    Petersham Reservoir (Covered) (WS 89) is a covered reservoir, with fill placed over its roof and grassed over. The enclosing mound is rectangular in shape, though the reservoir beneath is circular, partly excavated and partly raised in embankment. The reservoir is built with brick floor, walls and columns with cast iron beams. The roof comprises of three concentric concrete barrel arches, and is similar in design to Waverley Reservoir No.1 (Covered) (WS 132). These are the only two reservoirs which possess this roof design, although the central arch has been removed by the construction of Petersham Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 204) in 1965. Access to the reservoir is now through the tower of Petersham Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 204). The site is surrounded by a polychrome brick wall, with the main entrance to the grounds from Canterbury Road. The entrance is flanked by two rectangular brick valve houses, each containing original valve control gear, as also found at Pymble Reservoir No.2 (Covered) (WS 98). The reservoir also has cast iron roof ventilation caps, as at Waverley Reservoir No.1 (Covered) (WS 132), Randwick Reservoir (WS 101) and Pymble Reservoir No.1 (Covered) (WS 97). Plantings include: oleander. A former Water Service Operator Office is located on the Canterbury Road frontage. It is a brick building, with hipped tile roof, Federation in style. The site contains two reservoirs, one reservoir (WS 0089) is a covered brick and concrete reservoir begun in the 1880s and the second reservoir (WS 0204) is an elevated reservoir constructed in reinforced concrete and welded steel in the early 1960s. The site contains a number of built elements:19th century Covered reservoir, 19th century Valve houses for inlet and outlet, 19th century ornamental brick wall, 19th century Cottage for the District Engineer’s Office, 20th century Booster Plant building and 20th century Elevated reinforced concrete parachute-style pedestal supporting water storage tank.
  • Modifications made
    The construction of Petersham Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 204) in 1965 caused alteration to the central portion of the roof structure.
  • History
    Petersham Reservoir (Covered) (WS 89) was commissioned in 1888 and was the first of the new reservoirs to come on line since the commissioning of the Upper Nepean Scheme in 1888. It initially supplied western Sydney and Illawarra suburbs, but with the amplification of storage in its former area of supply, it recently supplied only the low lying local areas. In 1888 a single main (No.1 Main) delivered water from Potts Hill by gravitation to Petersham Reservoir (1888) and continued on to Crown Street Reservoir (1859). In 1935-1936, the southern system of supply mains needed major adjustment to use water from the Pressure Tunnel, including an offtake to Petersham Reservoir. In 1965, the City Tunnel supplied Petersham Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 204). Petersham Reservoir (Elevated) (WS 204) was constructed in 1965. It was integrated into the structure of the covered reservoir beneath, replacing the central portion of its roof. It enabled supply to the higher parts of the Inner West. Petersham Reservoir (Covered) (WS 89) is now empty. The primary history of the development at the Petersham Reservoir is one of change and adjustment to the increasing demands for water. These demands led first to the construction of the 1886-1888 covered reservoir and its gravity fed system and associated infrastructure. The growth of the nearby suburbs fed by the Petersham Reservoir soon required the services of a District Engineer who was accommodated in the District Engineer’s Office building by 1899. Once again in 1925, increasing demands and the need for assisted water pressure required the construction of a Boosting Plant and the placement of a 425 volt electric pump system. By the 1960s, the completion of the City Tunnel and the obsolescence of the Potts Hill steam-powered pumping station required still greater capacities and pressures that were addressed by the design and construction of a reinforced concrete Elevated Reservoir in 1963-65. The original 19th century reservoir’s capacity was no longer required although it was sensitively adapted for the new structure. There have also been a number of technical upgrades in the operational methods of the Petersham Reservoir since the construction of the original covered reservoir.
  • a) Historical
    Petersham Reservoir (Covered) (WS 89) was the first reservoir to be commissioned after the completion of the Upper Nepean Scheme in 1888. The 19th century Petersham Covered Reservoir (1886-1888) was constructed as an integral part of the Nepean Water Scheme to receive water from Potts Hill via a single cast iron water main. The Petersham Reservoir water supply played a major role in the residential and commercial development of the Bankstown, Canterbury and Illawarra suburbs. The construction of the Petersham Covered Reservoir demonstrates the refinement of the engineering and building skills required for the construction of brick-lined, coke concrete-clad Covered Reservoirs in the Sydney water supply system. The District Engineer’s Office building (1895) has significance as an element of the evidence of the evolving 19th century demands for technical expertise in the water service areas. The 20th century Booster Pump building (1925) has significance in the evolutionary role of the Petersham Reservoir complex. The Elevated Reservoir (1963-1965) has significance as a chapter in the development of the Petersham Reservoir complex.
  • b) Association
    The 19th century Petersham Covered Reservoir (1886-1888) drew on the skills of the Harbours and Rivers Branch of the Department of Public Works who had been engaged in the construction of the Upper Nepean Scheme. While no engineering staff team has been specifically identified, Edward Orpen (E.O.) Moriarty was the Head of the Harbours and Rivers section and his signature appears on many of the drawings. During Moriarty’s tenure, his section were involved in many civil engineering projects such as the Manly Dam. The 20th century Boosting Plant building (1925) has significance in the evolutionary role of the Petersham Reservoir complex and its management by the engineering staff of the MWS&DB and its antecedents. The Elevated Reservoir (1963-1965) has significance as a continuing chapter in the engineering, design and development of the Petersham Reservoir complex by the MWS&DB and its antecedents.
  • c) Aesthetic
    Architectural detailing (polychrome brick walling and location of valve houses on either side of gate) demonstrates excellence in design, fitting in with the surrounding streetscape. While the hillock of the 19th century Petersham Covered Reservoir (1886-1888) played a modest visual role in the Petersham setting, the ancillary reservoir structures such as the New Canterbury Road wall, the Valve Houses and the Reservoir Access building were constructed in parti-coloured brick in a “Romanesque” style. In their design and construction, they display an imaginative use of materials and the mastery of 19th century construction techniques in masonry. The buildings share stylistic associations with the nearby All Saints Anglican Church (1870), Petersham, in their colour, design and construction thereby displaying a strong regional quality. The construction of the Petersham Covered Reservoir also demonstrated the refinement of the technical skills required for the construction of bricklined Covered Reservoirs in the Sydney Water supply system. Its Valve Houses retain their original valves and valve gear and provide a significant technical resource for further research. The District Engineer’s Office (1895) is a technically superior Federation-style building constructed as an in-fill building that is well-integrated into its setting.
  • e) Research
    This Petersham Lower Reservoir demonstrates the broad range of construction techniques and high level of technical expertise available for covered reservoir construction. The Petersham Covered Reservoir is a significant reference type for a covered reservoir within the Sydney Water system. Although much altered in its centre section by later construction, the surviving elements of the Covered Reservoir and its ancillary structures, notably the Valve Houses and their original valve gear remain a significant resource for further research in the engineering and construction of similar structures. The historical use of concrete in the MWS&DB remains poorly documented and the covered reservoir is potentially an important element in this research. The 20th century Boosting Plant building (1925) has modest significance in its preservation of the elements of a Pump Booster Plant within Sydney Water and its potential resource for study.
  • f) Rarity
    Petersham Lower Reservoir is one of a small group of large covered reservoirs in brick or concrete, each demonstrating differences in construction, design and architectural detailing. It was the first reservoir to be commissioned after the completion of the Upper Nepean Scheme in 1888. The 20th century Boosting Plant building (1925) has some significance in its preservation of early 20th century electrical switching equipment.
  • g) Representative
    Within the context of Sydney Water, the Petersham Reservoir complex is a significant element in the Sydney Metropolitan distribution system. The Petersham Covered Reservoir’s primary significance arises from its character as a “…circular brick tank, 130 ft in diameter, with an arched roof, built partly in bank and partly in excavation.” (MBWS&S Official Handbook, 1913:80). The Harbours and Rivers Branch of the Department of Public Works constructed the Petersham Reservoir as the first service reservoir of the Upper Nepean Scheme. Sydney’s 19th century metropolitan water system relied extensively on covered reservoirs. The technology employed for the construction of a covered reservoir was dependent on the particular soil conditions of the location, access to transport, materials available at the time of construction and the personal enthusiasms of the engineering staff during design and construction.
  • List name
    Local Environmental Plan
  • Name
    Marrickville LEP 2001
  • Gazette number
    86
  • Date listing listed
    18 May 2001
  • List name
    Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register
  • Date listing listed
    01 January 2000
  • List name
    National Trust of Australia register
  • Date listing listed
    01 January 2000
  • List name
    Heritage Act - State Heritage Register
  • Name
    Petersham Service Reservoir & Site (WS089)
  • Reference number
    01331
  • Date listing listed
    18 November 1999
  • Title
    Petersham Reservoir Site Conservation Management Plan
  • Author
    Sydney Water
  • Published
    2006
  • Item reference number in study
  • The physical curtilage plan for Petersham Reservoir (Covered)(WS 0089).
    The physical curtilage plan for Petersham Reservoir (Covered)(WS 0089).
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 29 June 2006
  • View of The District Engineers Office building.
    View of The District Engineers Office building.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 11 April 2006
  • View of Petersham Reservoir.
    View of Petersham Reservoir.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 11 April 2006
  • View of Boosting Plant building.
    View of Boosting Plant building.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 11 May 2006
  • View of District Engineer''s Office building from the north.
    View of District Engineer''s Office building from the north.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 11 May 2006
  • Petersham Reservoir, New Canterbury Road, 1963.
    Petersham Reservoir, New Canterbury Road, 1963.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 01 January 2063
  • Petersham Reservoir entrance gate (1963), before construction of the 1965 Elevated Reservoir.
    Petersham Reservoir entrance gate (1963), before construction of the 1965 Elevated Reservoir.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 01 January 2063
  • Data entry status
    Basic
  • Entered
    18 December 2000
  • Updated
    05 December 2014