Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Balmain Reservoir

Buried beneath Gladstone Park is a 54m x 32m x 7metre deep man-made "water tank" know as the Balmain Reservoir.
commemoration of the area's early past
Balmain Reservoir under construction in 1913 - you can see the school bell tower in the background
In was built in 1915 by the Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage and houses 11 mega litres of water to supply to the inner west area. It was built on the site once known as "Pigeon Ground" because, in the 1850's, pigeon shooting was a common sport in the area. Gladstone Park, which opened in 1890, had long been an established recreational area before the building of the reservoir. As the outcries of protest poured in about loosing the park, the Water Board buried the reservoir under ground and restored Gladstone Park to its normal state.
On top of the reservoir was built a bandstand, opened and commemorated by Major-General William Holmes (whom the road General Holmes Drive is named after). The remnants of that bandstand can still be seen today in the octagonal brick formation that encloses the park.

The bandstand at the opening in 1918

The bandstand today

In 1965, the Balmain Reservoir was made redundant by the commissioning of the Petersham Reservoir and now remains a backup water supply to the region. The Valve House, located on Booth St earned a National Trust of Australia Heritage Award in 2006 to ensure the site's preservation.

The now disused Valve House in front of Balmain Hospital

source: A Pictorial History of Balmain to Glebe J. Lawrence & C.Warne 1995

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