Sunday, September 30, 2007

Travel: Historic Holroyd - the Boothtown Aqueduct

Our local studies librarian at the council library organised a free coach tour of the historic sites in our municipality - it was really strange sitting up high looking over all the familiar places that I normally buzz past in the car, a lot of the pedestrians stopped to look too, wondering what a tour coach was doing in their quiet little streets.

I'll run the tour over a couple of posts so not to bore the pants off you, this is the Boothtown Aqueduct:
(there are some early historic photos of the aqueduct on the council website here and if you are *really* interested, the information signage that is along the route can be read here

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The Boothtown Aqueduct was completed in 1883 as part of the scheme to run water from the Nepean to Sydney, and was designed to link the canal either side of the gully.
It's 225 metres long with 22 arches.

Despite being a majestic landmark, it failed when in 1892 the parapet walls collapsed under the pressure of the water and crashed into the creek below. The walls were reconstructed and lined with concrete.

Further failings caused the aqueduct to be bypassed in 1907 by the Boothtown Inverted Syphon and the aqueduct was retained for standby use with large concrete plugs blocking the channel.

Boothtown Aqueduct, Greystanes, NSW

The syphon worked on the principal of water pressure, where the pressure of water on the Prospect dam side forced water to reach the same level on the Merrylands side and continue down the canal.

The castle like towers house the sluice gates which controlled the water flow and trash racks prevented the entry of debris.

Boothtown Aqueduct, Greystanes, NSW

Boothtown Aqueduct, Greystanes, NSW

Boothtown Aqueduct, Greystanes, NSW

The canal was decommissioned in 1995 and thanks to the efforts of the Canal Reserve Action Group, the area was taken over by Holroyd Council and converted into a walk/cycle way. (The canal land had been fenced off for over a hundred years, enabling the preservation of native vegetation and wildlife)

Here's our group strolling along the top of the aqueduct
Boothtown Aqueduct, Greystanes, NSW

If you are very energetic you can walk right to Prospect Dam but there are several entrances and exits along the way.

Boothtown Aqueduct, Greystanes, NSW

and all this just a short trolley throw from suburbia
Boothtown Aqueduct, Greystanes, NSW
Boothtown Aqueduct, Greystanes, NSW

4 comments:

sion said...

totally cool, thanks for sharing. We spent a LOT of time on the road when I was a kid & drove past similarly interesting structures all the time, and I was always wracked with curiosity about them. I find viaducts & aqueducts especially fascinating, for some reason. Love the towers.

Lavender said...

Wow, very cool Erica, thanks for posting the great pics and info! I shall put that cycleway on our list of ones to tour this summer.
Good thinking to make it into a post - Cheers!

yewenyi said...

I used to live by. one day I drove past and must have seen it out of the corned of my eye. 'cos I thought, interesting that the romans built an aqueduct in Sydney. after a moments pause, i drove back... a very interesting spot.

Erica said...

thanks for the comments,
sion - I have to go back and explore a bit more, it was hard to have a really good look on a group tour
lavender - I still have to walk any distance on the cycleway (can't ride a bike) maybe if I arrange for my husband to pick me up at the other end
yewenyi - LOL, the Romans! imagining them getting here before Captain Cook and leaving a few ruins around..

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