Botany Wetlands

  • Number
    4570025
  • Other name
    Botany Water Reserve
    Botany Swamps
    Mills Stream (1850s) Bridge Pond (1960s) No.1 and No.2 Dams
  • Primary address

    58, Southern Cross Drive, Wentworth Ave and Heffron Road Botany, Pagewood, Eastlakes and Kensington, . NSW
    LGA: Botany
    LGA region: Sydney
    DUAP region: Sydney South

  • Alternate Address

    59, Foreshore Rd, Botany and General Holmes Dr, Wentworth Ave,Gardeners Rd Botany, Pagewood, Eastlakes and Kensington, . NSW
    LGA: Botany
    LGA code: BOTA
    LGA region: Sydney
    DUAP region: Sydney South

  • Owner
    Sydney Water
  • Current use
    Wetland, recreation & stormwater
  • Former use
    Water Supply
  • Item type
    Built
  • Item group
    Recreation and Entertainment
  • Item category
    Golf Course
  • Parcels

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 3
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 780392
    Updated: 02 June 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 2825
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 752015
    Updated: 08 March 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 2473
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 752015
    Updated: 08 March 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 1
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 1039418
    Updated: 08 March 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 5
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 780391
    Updated: 08 March 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 4
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 87663
    Updated: 08 March 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 6
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 780391
    Updated: 08 March 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 13
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 87663
    Updated: 08 March 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 1
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 1039419
    Updated: 08 March 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 2
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 1039419
    Updated: 08 March 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 1
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 241650
    Updated: 08 March 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 2
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 1039418
    Updated: 08 March 2004

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 2
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 854374
    Updated: 08 March 2004

  • Curtilage/Boundary
    The Botany Wetlands are a series of interconnected open freshwater ponds, former water supply dams, with some shallow swamp areas and adjacent lands used for recreation (golf). Located in the south-eastern area of Sydney within the suburbs of Eastlakes, Mascot, and Botany in the Bays City Council local government area. The curtilage is defined by the areas shown in the curtilage plan and includes the Lakes and Eastlakes Golf Courses.
  • Latitude
    33º 55 to 33º 58
  • Longitude
    151º 10 to 151º 15
  • Statement of significance
    The Botany Wetlands precinct holds considerable heritage value for Sydney and NSW because it retains substantial parts of its original water supply layout and infrastructure, primarily the dam system and pumping station. As Sydney’s third water supply it supported the expansion of the Sydney metropolis for most of the latter half of the 19th century. As with its predecessors it relied upon aquifers to supply water, which became obsolete once the Upper Nepean Scheme and later catchment dams was implemented, and is therefore representative of the first stage of water supply technology. The precinct includes two regionally rare and distinct remnant vegetation communities known as Sydney Freshwater Wetlands and Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub. The place holds special interest as a landmark cultural and recreational landscape for the regional community. The development of the water supply is historically significant because of the involvement of the Sydney City Council and City Commissioners. The works represent the major water infrastructure development carried out prior to the establishment of the Board of Water Supply. The southern end of the wetlands retains archaeological evidence of the industrial complex developed by Simeon Lord, which may still provide new information about the operations of this significant early colonial individual. The southern end of the wetlands also contains significant elements of the Southern and Western Suburbs Ocean Outfall Sewer System (SWSOOS No 1 and 2). This infrastructure includes use of the former Engine House chimney as a sewer vent, the viaduct to carry the vent pipe, Sewage Pumping Station No 38, 1916 near the Engine House ruins and part of the SWSOOS Nos 1 and 2 mains.
  • Endorsed significance
    State
  • Designer
    City Engineers Edward Bell (1856 - 1871) & Francis Bell (No relation 1871 -1878)
  • Builder
    Convicts for Simeon Lord (1815)
  • Year started
    1815
  • Year completed
    1870
  • Circa
    No
  • Physical description
    This item is comprised of an extensive tract of open space/parkland, with 58 ha of wetlands, including Sydney Airport, The Australian Golf Course, Lakes Golf Course, Eastlakes Golf Course, Bonnie Doon Golf Course and Mutch Park. Other areas of wetlands in the vicinity are substantially smaller in extent - the Eve Street wetlands, Arncliffe (south of Kogarah Golf Club) and the chain of ponds in Sir Joseph Banks Park, Botany. Important surviving elements of non-indigenous heritage include remnants of the water supply Engine House and chimney (late 1850s and no longer owned by Sydney Water); spillway/weir, remnants of the Engine and Mill Ponds; the sequence of ponds between the Mill Pond and Gardeners Road; 1915 sewer pump house; twin sewer syphons and easements; partial evidence of old Cooks River edge (evident through comparing early and recent aerial photography; 1869 plantings of Norfolk Island pines (Araucaria heterophylla), Moreton Bay fig trees (Ficus macrophylla) and Port Jackson fig trees (Ficus rubiginosa). Given the period, important Government institutional use and the choice of tree species there is strong circumstantial evidence for the involvement of Charles Moore - Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens (1848-1896) in advising on these plantings. Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariensis) also survive near the Engine Pond and may be remnants - or progeny - of 1910s plantings associated with the reuse of the site for the main southern sewer system. There is likewise strong circumstantial evidence for the involvement of Joseph Henry Maiden - Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens (1896-1924) in recommending the choice of these plantings. A comparison of current aerial photographs and the Sydney Water Commission's 1869 topographic plan of the Lachlan Swamp from No.6 Dam to Botany Bay shows that there is a substantial degree of correlation between the layouts of many of the dams. Despite the bisection of the Engine Pond by Southern Cross Drive, it is still possible to appreciate the basic outline of the earlier pond. A similar observation holds for the former Bridge Pond as the present Mill Pond and the western half of the ''New Pond'' retain the earlier basic form. The embankment separating the Mill and New Ponds preserves part of the alignment of the old Sydney-Botany road (shown on the 1869 SWC plan) with its tollhouse site just south of the embankment (archaeological evidence of the former tollhouse may still exist). The present Nos 1 and 2 Ponds closely reflect the earlier form of the 1869 No.1 Pond while most of the present Nos 3a, 3 and 4/5 Ponds almost exactly retain the earlier form of the 1869 Nos 2, 3, 4 and 5 Ponds respectively. The northern part of the old No.6 Pond has been filled. Generally, the present wetland layout retains a close indication of the original 1860s dam forms. Earlier pond formations existed some decades before, and were absorbed into this system, however surviving evidence is difficult to discern from both (non-intrusive) site inspections and an analysis of aerial photography. Archaeological investigations - if ever required - may reveal evidence of these early 19th century structures. A ''Plan of the Botany & Lachlan Watersheds'' signed by Francis Bell in June, 1875 shows that the Lachlan Water Supply (Centennial Park) links with the Botany Pond system as does the area of land containing the present Australian Golf Course. Several remnant areas of the famous and now rare Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (still featuring the trademark grass trees [Xanthorrhoea resinosa]) as well as various communities of reed and sedgeland species are represented within the open space boundaries. Other important indigenous vegetation vestiges include areas of Paperbark swamp featuring Melaleuca quinquenervia, marshland and wet heath and large areas of the aquatic herb Ludwigia.
  • Modifications made
    Although the pre-European wetland ecosystem was modified during the 1860s and 1870s pond construction, there has been only limited major modification - mainly for the expansion of the airport and construction of new arterial roadways - since then. Major elements (the sequence of ponds) of Sydney’s third main water supply system are substantially intact. Particular elements of the system - its architectural and planted elements - are only partially intact. Yet the little that remains of these are particularly poignant and serve as important local landmarks.
  • History
    1815: First substantial interventions in the area. Merchant Simeon Lord had a dam constructed to the west of the present Botany Road for the colony's first woollen mill, which closed c.1856. A second dam was constructed near the present Engine House ruins for a flour mill which operated until c.1847 (see 1869 Water Commission Plan). 1855 (13 July): City Council began resuming land around, and including the Botany wetlands for the city's main water supply scheme; first use of land resumptions for this purpose (land transferred to the Water Board in 1888). About 75 acres of this land was from Lord's estate and included his house, (which was demolished in the 1930s; in the vicinity of the present-day heliport), the mill sites, various cottages and the earthworks associated with Lord's mill dams. 1850s (late): City Engineer, Edward Bell, designed the surviving Engine House and chimney. The stone retaining walls for the Engine Pond and outlet sluice probably date from work on the Engine Pond augmentation c.1870s. 1859: A 30" sand-cast iron main was completed between the Engine House and the Crown Street Reservoir (see attachment for details). 1866 - mid 1870s: Six dams were constructed, and reconstructed for various reasons, from the Mill Pond to Gardeners Road using piling of sheet timber facing filled with sand forming a core of a turfed bank. 1869: See attachment for details re tree plantings. 1870s: Water storage at Botany augmented, including the addition of water stored in the Bunnerong Dam (1876-1877) by way of a pipe to the No.4 Pond. The then Bunnerong Road was moved and ran along the top of this dam wall. 1886 (Nov.): Nepean-supplied water from the Upper Nepean Scheme effectively ended the general supply of Sydney's water from the Botany system. 1893: Intermittent emergency use of the system ceased. The Engine House machinery was finally decommissioned with pumping equipment and boilers sold at auction in 1896. In 1894 various local industrial uses, such as wool scourers and tanners, were permitted to return to the wetland vicinity through leases until 1947. Substantial works needed to deal with the sewage of Sydney and its immediate suburbs; evident in an increasingly polluted Harbour. After the Board of Water Supply and Sewerage was formed in 1888 the basis of what is presently Sydney's largest sewerage system was commenced. The new Board assumed control of various recent works of the Public Works Department, including the first of the new sewer mains from the city to the Botany Sewage Farm established about 1886. Another main was added in 1898 which linked various western suburbs to the sewage farm. From 1909 the southern and western sewerage systems were amalgamated and extended to a new ocean outfall at Malabar, while the much expanded Botany Sewage Farm was closed. This work, known as the Southern and Western Sewer Ocean Outfall System (or usually SWSOOS No.1) was completed in 1916 under the direction of Chief Engineer E.M de Burgh (refer to SWSOOS No.1, SWSOOS No.2 and Sewer Vent (Arncliffe) for more information) Within the site the existing engine house chimney was retired for water supply use in 1888, left unused for 28 years then, after being shortened, re-used as a vent in 1916 as part of the work for the new SWSOOS. Various buildings, associated with the new sewerage system, were added to the west. During the 1940s the chimney was further truncated to its present height along with the diversion of the mouth of the Cooks River into Botany Bay and substantial filling of the Engine and Mill Ponds as part of a major expansion and upgrade of airport facilities. Further incursions continued with the 1988 construction of Southern Cross Drive through the middle of the Engine Pond, reclamation by the DMR and works associated with the pre-Olympics upgrade of the airport. 1904-60: See attachment for details re golf courses.
  • National
    Peopling
  • State
    Convict
  • Local
    (none)
  • National
    Economy
  • State
    Transport
  • Local
    (none)
  • National
    Economy
  • State
    Technology
  • Local
    (none)
  • National
    Economy
  • State
    Health
  • Local
    Water Supply
  • National
    Economy
  • State
    Environment - cultural landscape
  • Local
    (none)
  • National
    Settlement
  • State
    Utilities
  • Local
    Water Supply
  • Local description
    Relates to the planning, development, expansion and provision of water supply.
  • National
    Settlement
  • State
    Land tenure
  • Local
    (none)
  • National
    Culture
  • State
    Sport
  • Local
    (none)
  • National
    Phases of Life
  • State
    Persons
  • Local
    (none)
  • National
    Phases of Life
  • State
    Events
  • Local
    (none)
  • a) Historical
    The item contains substantial remnants of structures and layout from Sydney's third main water supply system which supported the growth of Australia's largest city for most of the latter half of the 19th century. The 1850s water supply pipeline represents the oldest main in the State. The site contains important components of Sydney's main southern sewerage system from the 1910s and 1930s to 1940s supporting the expansion and consolidation of inner Sydney from the late 19th century to the present. It also demonstrates the growth in demand for golf courses throughout the 20th century with the establishment of four separate courses including the Australian (est.1904) and the Lakes Golf Course (est.1928) - two of the State's oldest and most highly regarded. The place also has strong and direct associations with prominent individuals - including Colonial entrepreneur Simeon Lord; the naval officer, surveyor and pastoralist Thomas Woore; city engineers WB Rider, Edward Bell and Francis Bell; and Board engineers including E.M de Burgh. Passing, though telling, early European references to the former landscape character of the area were made by many noted travellers including Captain James Cook in 1770 and Francois Peron in 1802. As surviving elements of Sydney's third main water supply system it is rare if not unique. As a modified/remnant wetland system it is representative of a once extensive vegetation community that included sites from Jewells Swamp, near Lake Macquarie to Coomaditchy Lagoon south of Sydney, yet as remnant sites within the Sydney Basin are now only of a small size and are threatened with extinction the wetlands should be considered rare. Similarly the areas of Eastern Suburbs banksia scrub are rare - of their total estimated area at the beginning of European colonisation less than 1% remains. SWSOOS is rare as the largest of Sydney's sewerage networks. Although the pre-European wetland ecosystem was modified during the 1860s and 1870s pond construction, there has been only limited major modification - mainly for the expansion of the airport and construction of new arterial roadways - since then. Major elements (the sequence of ponds) of Sydney's third main water supply system are substantially intact. Particular elements of the system - its architectural and planted elements - are only partially intact. Yet the little that remains of these are particularly poignant and serve as important local landmarks.
  • b) Association
    The Wetlands are associated with the industrial enterprises of Simeon Lord, ex.convict and successful entrepreneur. Simeon Lord was a significant figure in the early economic and industrial development of the colony and his interests at Botany were his most prominent. The damming of the Lachlan Stream to support his woollen mill and construction of a second mill and dam for a flour mill, were the first major modifications of the Wetland. These two ponds created by Lord Simeon were adapted in the initial scheme to enable the Wetlands to serve as Sydney’s third water supply. Lord was an early exponent of the ability of the local colony to support a manufacturing and export industry. The modification and development of the Wetlands for a water supply was the work of Edward Bell, City Engineer. Bell’s scheme modified his predecessor, Rider’s scheme, considered too costly and ambitious.
  • c) Aesthetic
    The site represents a substantial tract of greenspace with important landscape attributes - extensive areas of water, wetlands, plantings, archaeological features, dunes, remnant indigenous vegetation and fauna - providing notable scenery and, remarkably, within 6 km of the Sydney CBD.
  • d) Social
    The large tract of open space is probably highly valued as a local or even regional asset while the uses associated with the various golf courses would likely guarantee a special interest in the wetlands landscape by patrons. The ruinous water supply structures and remnant 1869 plantings along with the 1915 sewerage pump house are well appreciated features and function as important cultural references within the parkland associated with the remnant engine pond.
  • e) Research
    The place is of importance for its archaeological research potential pertaining to the early 19th century use of the wetlands for industry, Sydney's third main water supply system and aspects of Sydney's sewerage provision. Direct evidence of the construction of the original Lord dam walls, his house and outbuildings or other structures, other industrial structures and the former Sydney- Botany Tollhouse may still remain under the later fill. The wetlands are of well recognised ecological value (flora/fauna [including benthos, zooplankton, macroinvertebrates and amphibians] habitat and corridor) and environmental value (major Sydney basin aquifer recharge).
  • f) Rarity
    As surviving elements of Sydney's third main water supply system it is rare. The Botany Wetlands are amongst the earliest of Sydney’s water supply systems, and the only one of the ‘swamp’ systems, that survives with sufficient integrity to demonstrate its original form. The Botany Wetlands provide habitat for aquatic and terrestrial biota and the ecological value of the Botany Wetlands and adjacent dune areas has been recognised through listings and current management prescriptions. The Botany Wetlands are listed on the Commonwealth Government’s Directory of Wetlands, a non-statutory register recognising the most significant Wetlands in Australia. Sydney Freshwater Wetlands and the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS) communities are classed as an endangered ecological communities and protected under both Commonwealth and State instruments. The Wetlands is habitat to nationally protected endangered and threatened indigenous species. The remnant natural heritage is rare evidence of the main features of the original environment that featured Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub vegetation on extensive sand dunes draining into freshwater swamps. The Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub exists on the raised dune areas adjacent to the Wetlands and in the roughs of the Lakes Golf Course and the Eastlake Golf Course. (and Bonnie Doon Golf Course, outside the State Heritage Register listed boundary.) (Benson and Howell 1990) . There is 6.32 ha of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub found in 22 isolated patches of varying condition within the Eastlake Golf Course area and in highly degraded patches with few species in the Lakes Golf Course area. (NPWS, 2003:5). The Wetlands are the largest freshwater wetland in the Sydney region and contain some of the area’s remaining indigenous vegetation and significant native fauna. There are 18 distinct remnants of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub on the sand dunes around the Wetlands, representing approximately one tenth of the original 2% of the area remaining. (Botany Wetlands Native Vegetation Management Plan (2003-04)
  • g) Representative
    The Wetlands demonstrate considerable evidence of its use as the third major water supply to Sydney with the dams (ponds), dam walls, weirs and other elements intact. The place is a modified wetland system. The Botany Wetlands possesses cultural and some natural heritage values. The Wetland is historically and scientifically rare within the State and is of State heritage significance. Although the pre-European wetland ecosystem was modified during the 1860s and 1870s pond construction, there has been only limited major modification - mainly for the expansion of the airport and construction of new arterial roadways - since then. These elements are the only surviving examples of this ambitious third water supply scheme for Sydney. Major elements (the sequence of ponds) of Sydney’s third main water supply system are substantially intact. Particular elements of the system - its architectural and planted elements - are only partially intact. Yet the little that remains of these are particularly poignant and serve as important local landmarks. The Wetland is listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands as a good representative type occurring within a biogeographical region. The site provides a refuge or habitat for animal taxa at a vulnerable stage in their life cycles. It is also listed as being of outstanding historical or cultural significance. The Wetland is classified as an Inland Wetland which is a Permanent Freshwater Lake (>8 ha) and within the type: Shrub Swamps, Shrub dominated freshwater carr, shrub carr, alder thicket or inorganic soils. There are 44 wetlands which meet the same criteria as Botany Wetlands in NSW. Within the Sydney Bioregion, there are no other wetlands which meet the same criteria as the Botany Wetlands.
  • Integrity assessment
    Major elements (the sequence of ponds) of Sydney’s third main water supply system are substantially intact.
  • List name
    Register of the National Estate
  • Reference number
    17854
  • List name
    Local Environmental Plan
  • Name
    Botany LEP 1995 Schedule 3
  • Reference number
    180
  • List name
    Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register
  • Name
    Sydney Water Heritage Register
  • Date listing listed
    30 June 2002
  • List name
    National Trust of Australia register
  • Date listing listed
    01 November 1982
  • List name
    Heritage Act - State Heritage Register
  • Name
    State Heritage Register
  • Reference number
    01317
  • Date listing listed
    18 November 1999
  • Title
    Botany Swamps Conservation Management Plan
  • Author
    Sydney Water Corporation
  • Published
    2004
  • Item reference number in study
  • Title
    Sydney Water Heritage Study
  • Author
    Graham Brooks and Associates Pty Ltd
  • Published
    1996
  • Item reference number in study
    000640
  • Northern End of the Lakes Golf Course.
    Northern End of the Lakes Golf Course.
    Created by: G. Britton
    Creation date: 14 June 2000
  • View across No. 2 with Eastlakes Golf Course in foreground
    View across No. 2 with Eastlakes Golf Course in foreground
    Created by: G. Britton
    Creation date: 14 June 2000
  • View to city across No.3a Pond (The Lakes Golf Course beyond pond)
    View to city across No.3a Pond (The Lakes Golf Course beyond pond)
    Created by: G Britton
    Creation date: 14 June 2000
  • The physical curtilage plan for Botany Wetlands.
    The physical curtilage plan for Botany Wetlands.
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 27 June 2006
  • Data entry status
    Completed
  • Entered
    03 June 1998
  • Updated
    18 June 2018