Hill Street Reservoir

Brief chronology

Open Doors – Tasmanian Heritage Festival
31 May 2009

1804 Settlement at Sullivan’s Cove – supply of fresh water from stream (Hobart Rivulet)
1831 First use of conduits and pipes to convey water from Mount Wellington.
1845 First major reservoir on Hobart Rivulet – ­Peter Degraves
1846 Board of Commissioners – initial steps towards local government
1853 Municipal Council established
1853 Government Reservoir on Rivulet (above Cascades)
1857 Municipal reform – Hobart Town Corporation
1859-61 First stage of mountain pipeline commenced – initially to Wishing Well (Fork Creek) and Fern Tree Bower (Browns River)
1861 Lower Reservoir on Sandy Bay (or Wellington) Rivulet at the Waterworks
1862 First Hill Street reservoir, built to hold 451,000 gallons (2 mega litres) – supplied from the Waterworks, with bridge across Hobart Rivulet at Gore Street
1867-69 Pipeline extended to Long Creek
1871 Failure of Lower Reservoir at the Waterworks
1871 Leaks in Hill Street reservoir – water restrictions from Hill Street (6-9am and 5-7pm daily)
1875 Pipeline extended to The Plains Rivulet at St Crispin’s Well
1880 New pipe to Hill Street
1883 Second Hill Street reservoir (267,000 gallons
– 1.2 mega litres)
1887-88 Construction of Upper Reservoir at the
1893-95 Reconstruction of lower Reservoir at
1901-1904 Pipeline extended to North West Bay River
1909 Forest Road Reservoir (decommissioned late
1912-17 Ridgeway Reservoir
1916 West Hobart tram line opened
1921 Princess (or Princes) Street renamed Cavell
1937-39 Construction of lake Fenton (Mt Field)
1939 Augusta (or Augustus) Terrace renamed
Faraday Street
1961-63 West Derwent System – supply of water pumped from River Derwent (near Hayes) –
Lawitta and Bryn Estyn supply

The current reservoir has a maximum capacity of 3 mega litres, with an operating capacity of 2.25 mega litres. The main circular reservoir is 4.5 metres deep, with an additional 1.2 metres above. It is now generally fed from the twin reservoirs near the Crossroads on the Queen’s Domain (which are approximately 11.6 metres higher above sea level). Part of Hobart’s complex water supply system, the reservoir now serves as a reserve water supply and for fire-fighting back-up.

Further reading:
Crawford, PG and Ryan KA, The History of the Early Water Supply of Hobart: The First 100 Years 1804-1904. Hobart, Institution of Engineers, Australia, 1988.
Godden Mackay Logan, Crescent Fields: A Thematic History of West Hobart. Hobart City Council, 2002.
Lloyd, Bernard, The Water Getters: how Hobart quenched its thirst, Goodwood, Hobart Water, 2008.
Petrow, S and Alexander, A. Growing with Strength: A history of the Hobart City Counci/1846-2000, Hobart City Council, 2008.

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