Upper Nepean 125th anniversary
Upper Nepean 125th anniversary
A steam train passes under the Upper Canal aqueduct over the Southern rail line in 1964. The aqueduct is a wrought iron pipe supported on two tall brick piers located within the cutting on either side of the railway line.
This photo show the Upper Valve House at Prospect Reservoir looking different to how it does today, as the brickwork has been painted. The paint was later removed but in doing so the surface of the bricks was damaged.
A maintenance worker identifies a joint in need of repair during a maintenance shutdown of the Upper Canal in 1964. If not repaired, the flow of water under the canal would eventually cause that part of the canal's wall to collapse.
Since its completion in 1888, the Upper Canal has required continuous maintenance. In 1964 the canal close to the inlet with Prospect Reservoir was repaired using plaster and sand cement mortar.
The wide open, grassy grounds of Prospect Reservoir made it a popular family destination in the 1960s.
Prospect Reservoir was a popular picnic destination for Sydneysiders in the 1960s. Facilities provided included picnic tables, barbecues with wood supplied and water from hot water urns.
The Lower Valve House at Prospect Reservoir and the Lower Canal in 1970. This photos shows the Lower Valve house painted. The paint has since been removed. The Lower Canal was later decommissioned after an underground pipeline was built in the 1990s.
Maintaining the walls of the Upper Canal has always been an essential but labour intensive activity. Here a worker in 1962 removes weeds from the canal wall with a handmade tool. Today, sections of the canal are emptied of water so that power tools can be used for maintenance.
For nearly a century, the Upper Canal was maintained by men who lived in isolated cottages along the canal. Even in the 1960s maintenance was still labour intensive, with staff controlling grass beside the canal using lawn mowers. Today, tractor mowers make the job quick and easy.
Workers building the Upper Canal aqueduct over the southern railway line. The temporary pipework of Hudsons' Emergency Scheme can be seen in the background to the left of the picture.
Aqueducts allow the Upper Canal to cross creeks and gullies. These were inverted iron syphons resting on sandstone piers. The 64-kilometre length of the Upper Canal includes 1 kilometre of aqueducts together with 19 kilometres of tunnels and 44 kilometres of open canal.
Built between 1869 and 1888, the Upper Nepean Scheme was a marvellous feat of engineering for its time. Many of the original iron pipes on the Upper Canal remain in use, some lined with plastic sleeves to protect the pipes and keep them waterproof.
A bypass of the Upper Canal at Sugarloaf Drop, thought to be shortly after construction had finished in 1888 as the remnants of the original construction camp can still be seen.
An early panorama of Prospect Reservoir, showing the Upper Valve house located within the reservoir. The reservoir was the centrepiece of the Upper Nepean Scheme, completed in 1888.
Prospect Reservoir showing the dam wall to the right, Lower Valve House and start of the Lower Canal in the centre, and cottages of the maintenance staff in the background. Of these buildings, today only the Lower Valve House remains.
The ingenious Upper Nepean Scheme used weirs to divert water from rivers on the Illawarra Plateau south of Sydney into a 64-kilometre network of tunnels, canals and aqueducts that transported the water by gravity to Prospect Reservoir.
Broughtons Pass in flood in 1911. This is the second weir constructed at Broughtons Pass. The first weir was swept away by a flood in 1898, a decade after the Upper Nepean Scheme was completed in 1888.
The Upper Canal uses no energy other than the earth's gravity to transport water from dams on the Illawarra Plateau south of Sydney to Prospect Reservoir in Sydney's west. The canal drops just 50 metres in elevation over 54 kilometres after the Nepean and Cataract tunnels – just 0.1 percent grade.
A pipe discharges water into a section of the Upper Canal. The year is unknown but it is thought to be an emergency top up because flows were at a reduced level. The pipe is being accessed by some very unsubstantial wood crossings.
The Upper Canal at Sugarloaf Drop, a vertical drop of two and a half metres, after which the open canal continues at the lower level.
A very early photo at Pheasants Nest where the Nepean and Cordeaux rivers meet. As part of the Upper Nepean Scheme, a weir constructed at Pheasants Nest diverted water into a tunnel under the town of Wilton which connects with the Cataract River at Broughtons Pass.
An early photo of the Upper Nepean Scheme at the top of the inlet to the Nepean Tunnel, a 7 kilometre tunnel which diverts water from Pheasants Nest Weir to Broughtons Pass Weir on the Cataract River.