Drummoyne Reservoir (WS0038)

  • Number
  • Other name
  • Primary address

    88, Rawson Ave Drummoyne, 2047. NSW
    LGA: Canada Bay
    LGA region: Sydney
    DUAP region: No Region

  • Alternate Address

    89, South St Drummoyne, 2047. NSW
    LGA: Canada Bay
    LGA code: CANA
    LGA region: Sydney
    DUAP region: No Region

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

    Parcel code: LOT
    Lot number: 13-16
    Section number:
    Plan code: DP
    Plan number: 455626
    Updated: 26 August 2010

  • Curtilage/Boundary
    The curtilage is defined by Lots 13, 14, 15 and 16 of DP no.455626, as shown on the curtilage plan.
  • Map name
    Parramatta River
  • Map scale
    1 : 25000
  • Latitude
    33 51 27 S
  • Longitude
    151 09 05 E
  • AMG easting
  • AMG northing
  • AMG zone
  • Statement of significance
    Drummoyne Reservoir was one of two reservoirs built in Sydney with an attached tower and was the only reservoir to feature a tower as a deliberate ornament. It is now the only reservoir with its tower surviving. The combined tower and reservoir is a fine, well-designed Federation Free Classical structure and a local landmark which complements the architectural character of the vicinity. The provision of the tower is associated with Sir Thomas Henley, a prominent local identity and politician who was also a member of the Board of Water Supply and Sewerage and who had been instrumental in the provision of these reservoirs.
  • Endorsed significance
  • Designer
    Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage - J G S Purvis, Design Engineer
  • Builder
    Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage (Substructure); Poole & Steele Ltd (Tank)
  • Year started
  • Year completed
  • Circa
  • Physical description
    The reservoir is a large circular steel tank mounted upon a circular concrete slab which is supported above the ground on an inner grid of steel columns and girders and an outer ring of arched concrete columns. The tank is 80 feet (24.6 m) in diameter and 40 feet (12.3 m) in height, formed of seven rings of riveted steel plate. Horizontal joints have a single row of rivets; vertical joints are four rivets wide but are more widely spaced towards the bottom of the tank. The plates are lap-jointed horizontally and butt-jointed vertically, with fishplates over each vertical joint carrying the rivets. The top of the reservoir has been roofed using profile steel cladding (in 1975). Associated with this is a steel pipe handrail erected around the outside of the top of the tank wall. Approximately one metre below the top of the tank is the original encircling catwalk, using a timber deck carried on angle-section steel struts on the outer side. This catwalk also has a metal pipe handrail. The east side of the tank has a water level indicator, comprising an indicator board marked in heights and a small red arrow which slides vertically along the board, driven by a cable to a float within the reservoir. The support structure for the steel tank comprises a circular concrete slab carried on a combination of mass concrete columns around the outer edge and within these, a grid of steel joists carried on a braced network of steel posts. The floor of the reservoir tank is an in-situ cast, reinforced concrete slab, 24 inches (0.61 m) thick at the outer edge, reducing on the top side only to 18 inches (0.46 m) at the centrepoint, where the scupper drain is located. The slab incorporates an expansion joint for the metal tank walls using a bituminous coated lead ring gasket.
  • Modifications made
    There has been little significant alteration to the fabric of the reservoir, or attached tower. The original Office building has been modified on several occasions, but is clearly a subordinate item to the dominant reservoir structure. Known modifications to the reservoir and tower include: • In the 1940s, the openings to the belvedere upper section was infilled with sash windows, these were then removed having deteriorated in 1970 and the openings bricked up. • In the early 1960s the board instituted a policy of roofing all of its 160 existing reservoirs, and to roof all reservoirs constructed after that time (SWBJ, 1982:29). Drummoyne Reservoir was roofed in 1975 and safety railing added to the catwalk. Whilst the safety railing is a visible addition, the roofing of the reservoir can not be seen at street level. • Other modifications include non structural reinforcements on the upper level of the tower (internal) and replacement of the front door of the tower, dates unknown. Early records indicate that in 1919 the reservoir was internally sandblasted and the bitumen enamel reapplied, the external walls of the reservoir were cleaned and painted with cement and oil. Experiments were conducted in 1929 by spraying half the reservoir with cement spray and the other half with brushes, consistent with the Board’s practice of testing innovative technologies. In 1934 the external bitumen coating failed and the substructure corroded, the reservoir and substructure was cleaned and repainted. Lighting was installed in the reservoir and tower in 1946. Maintenance in the years since has generally involved repainting, and in 1968 the catwalk platform timbers and bolts were all replaced and steel support rings treated for corrosion. 2016 - the external walkway (catwalk) supports were removed due to safety concerns and have been retained on site.
  • History
    Due to the topographical nature of Sydney, the supply system requires a large number of service tanks and reservoirs which act as a storage buffer between supply and demand and give sufficient head for satisfactory gravity flow to the consumer. The first service reservoirs, built between 1859-1899, were brick walled with brick or concrete roofs supported by brick or timber piers and built into the ground. The innovative use of materials and construction methods together with sheer size made these constructions unique in their time. As demand grew for additional storage reservoirs, other types of constructions appeared, along with the introduction of new materials, particularly iron. Between 1888 and 1910, twelve circular reservoirs, the majority of the surface type, were constructed in wrought iron, cast iron and mild steel. The construction of Drummoyne (R38), along with Penshurst No.2, Bellevue Hill and Ashfield No.2 between 1910-1914, marked a new phase in the Water Board’s reservoir development, with the composite use of reinforced concrete and mild steel setting these reservoirs apart from their predecessors. The use of reinforced concrete in NSW follows from the New South Wales Public Works Department's construction of the Forest Lodge Sewerage Aqueduct over Whites Creek, for the Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage in 1895. The first reinforced concrete water tank on the Monier system was a service reservoir built in 1899 at Kiama, NSW. The Sydney Water Board followed with two service reservoirs built of reinforced concrete at Liverpool in 1901 and at Randwick (covered) in 1910. Following this (1910-1913) the Board constructed the four elevated steel reservoirs on reinforced concrete slabs, at Bellevue Hill, Ashfield, Drummoyne and Penshurst. These reservoirs were the Water Board’s first to combine the use of mild steel and reinforced concrete, with reinforced concrete forming the floor, outer columns and arches of the elevated reservoirs whilst mild steel was used for the walls and extra support columns. The Drummoyne Reservoir was built from 1910 to 1914. The 1913 Handbook of the Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage gives the following description: "Drummoyne Elevated Tank T.W.L.: 168.00ft; capacity: 1,000,000 gallons; depth of water: 32ft. This is an open elevated steel tank, 80ft, diameter, erected on concrete arches and steel stanchions and girders, with a reinforced concrete floor, situated in Rawson Avenue, Drummoyne. It is filled with gravitation water from Potts Hill, and acts as a storage and balance reservoir for Drummoyne. A square tower or campanile has been attached to the front of this tank for ornamental purposes, and is utilised as a stairway to top of tank". The reservoir is associated with Sir Thomas Henley KBE, MP (1860-1935) who was an alderman for Drummoyne from 1898 to 1934 and was four times mayor. Henley was a tireless promoter of Drummoyne, and saw the tramline extended to Drummoyne (1902), its sewerage planned (1903), reticulation sewers laid (1910), electricity supply introduced (1910) and a beginning to road sealing (1916). He is referred to as the "father of modern Drummoyne". Henley encouraged the MWS & DB to construct balance reservoirs in the higher parts of Sydney. On a motion by him (1909), the Board directed the Engineer-in-Chief to report on providing balance reservoirs in each suburb and take steps to acquire the necessary sites. Within two weeks, a site was selected in Drummoyne and a valuation approved by the Board. It is reported that Henley was instrumental in having a tower built alongside the Drummoyne Reservoir because he had heard that Bellevue Hill reservoir was to have a tower. The tower at Bellevue Hill had been added at the request of the military authorities, as a lookout tower and signal relay station (for semaphores). In recent years, the Drummoyne Service Reservoir has been disconnected from the system.
  • National
  • State
  • Local
    Water Supply
  • Local description
    Relates to the planning, development, expansion and provision of water supply.
  • a) Historical
    The Drummoyne Reservoir is one of a group of four water supply service reservoirs which together represent an important technological development in the use of reinforced concrete for reservoirs in NSW. The group of four elevated steel and reinforced concrete reservoirs is the first group of large (over 0.5 ML) water storage reservoirs built above ground level as part of the metropolitan water supply system, allowing gravity reticulation to the highest land areas. This was a major improvement in supply and an important developmental stage in the provision of water supply in Sydney. Drummoyne Reservoir provides evidence of the extent of urban development in its service area at the time of its construction, both by the selection of its locality and its size. Drummoyne Reservoir’s history of usage, leading to its current redundancy within the Water Supply system, is illustrative of the growth of Sydney and the corresponding development of the water supply network over this period. Drummoyne Reservoir provides evidence of the cultural philosophy prevalent at the time of its construction, whereby there was a conscious effort by public authorities to integrate the appearance of mundane, functional structures into the aesthetic context of the community. This is in contrast to the late 20th century trend towards cost-based ‘functionalist’ design for such structures. The design of Drummoyne Reservoir illustrates the Victorian and early twentieth century attitude that the provision of public infrastructure was evidence of cultural and material progress and that the arrival of such structures within a community was a matter of achievement. The boldness of its landmark design qualities and the attention to the aesthetic details of its fabric show the pride and confidence of the designers and their supervisors. The names of these people are displayed upon the relatively elaborate inscription tablet mounted at the entrance to the ornamental Reservoir tower. Drummoyne Reservoir meets the State level of significance for this criterion.
  • b) Association
    The tower of the Drummoyne Reservoir is associated with the activities of Sir Thomas Henley, the most influential figure in the development of the Drummoyne area, a prominent public identity in the city and a member of the Board of Water Supply and Sewerage. This association is redolent with social inferences about money, power and influence in the administration of New South Wales, whilst also recording the enormous contribution that certain individuals make to their communities during their lifetimes.
  • c) Aesthetic
    The Drummoyne Reservoir and tower is a prominent skyline feature and a landmark in its area. It is visible in all directions for a considerable distance. The Drummoyne Reservoir is a simple, functional structure which has been designed with deliberate architectural stylisation. The tower and arched substructure are fine examples of Federation Free Classical architecture, one of the styles in vogue at the time of its construction. The architecture of the reservoir is closely linked to the architecture which characterises the vicinity and the reservoir forms a complementary element in the townscape of Drummoyne. The tower of the Drummoyne Reservoir is a major feature which, by its height and proximity to the reservoir tank, interrupts the bulk and rectangularity of the tank when viewed from almost any direction, but especially from east and west. This effect reduces the visual impact of the tank on the skyline and harmonises the structure with the visual appearance of the built environment in which it is located. Overall, the Drummoyne Reservoir is an aesthetically pleasing structure. It has style and character, good proportions and demonstrates attention to detail both in design and construction.
  • d) Social
    The Drummoyne Reservoir is valued for its historical, technological and aesthetic qualities. This is evidenced by its entry in the National Trust Register and local Council Heritage Schedule.
  • e) Research
    The Drummoyne Reservoir, along with the Penshurst, Bellevue Hill and Ashfield Reservoirs, has potential scientific value in the analysis of the long-term performance of its construction method. Its present redundancy may contribute varied or comparative data in relation to the other three reservoirs, all of which remain in service.
  • f) Rarity
    The Drummoyne Reservoir is one of only four large water supply service reservoirs in the metropolitan system which are elevated and combine steel tank walls with a reinforced concrete floor. The group of four reservoirs which includes Drummoyne Reservoir is the first group of elevated water service reservoirs built in-house by the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board to utilise the Monier concrete reinforcement system. The Drummoyne Reservoir is the only remaining water supply service reservoir with an attached tower in the metropolitan water supply system. It was originally one of only two such arrangements ever built in Sydney. The Drummoyne Reservoir tower is the only known example of an attached tower to a reservoir being erected purely for decorative purposes. Drummoyne Reservoir is the only known example of a water supply service reservoir having a direct and close association with a prominent local business and political identity.
  • g) Representative
    The Drummoyne Reservoir is a representative example of the four elevated service reservoirs built between 1910 and 1914 which utilised a reinforced concrete floor and riveted steel walls. The Drummoyne Reservoir, in its appearance, detailing and the provision of its tower, is representative of a class of historic buildings and structures which demonstrate the care and consideration with which these structures were placed into existing environments at the time of their construction.
  • Integrity assessment
    The water reservoir and attached tower are intact and unaltered - although now disused and no longer part of the water supply system.
  • 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
    Elevated Water Tank and Tower
  • Date listing listed
    01 January 2000
  • List name
    Heritage Act - State Heritage Register
  • Name
    State Heritage Register
  • Reference number
  • Gazette number
  • Gazette page
  • Date listing listed
    15 November 2002
  • Title
    Service Reservoir R38, Drummoyne - Conservation Plan
  • Author
    Stephany, J.
  • Published
  • Title
    Elevated Water Tank and Tower
  • Author
    Collocott J. M.
  • Published
  • Title
    The Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage of Sydney
  • Author
    Aird W. V.
  • Published
  • Title
    Service Reservoir No. R38, Drummoyne; Conservation Plan
  • Author
    Stephany, J
  • Published
  • Item reference number in study
  • Title
    Drummoyne Reservoir - Conservation Analysis
  • Author
    Godden Mackay Logan
  • Published
  • Item reference number in study
  • Title
    Drummoyne Reservoir ( WS0038) Conservation Management Plan
  • Author
    Sydney Water
  • Published
  • Item reference number in study
  • Drummoyne Reservoir''s campanile tower houses a stair to the top of the Reservoir.
    Drummoyne Reservoir''s campanile tower houses a stair to the top of the Reservoir.
    Created by: Tony Brassil
    Creation date: 01 June 1995
  • Drummoyne Reservoir and the Reservoir''s campanile tower.
    Drummoyne Reservoir and the Reservoir''s campanile tower.
    Created by: Tony Brassil
    Creation date: 01 June 1995
  • The physical curtilage plan for Drummoyne Reservoir (WS0038).
    The physical curtilage plan for Drummoyne Reservoir (WS0038).
    Created by: Sydney Water
    Creation date: 29 June 2006
  • Data entry status
  • Entered
    01 December 2000
  • Updated
    03 December 2018