Early Water Supply Technology in Australia

Nigel Ridgway

Keywords: Water, steam engine, pump

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The supply of water for mining and pastoral stations was vital to the development of the Australian economy. There is very little remaining fabric of the early technology and a study has been made of the stationary equipment designed and manufactured by the early foundries in Adelaide from 1843 who supplied pumps, engines and pump sets to increase the capacity of station stockholdings and productivity of the land in SA and NSW. Whilst wind power was available 1830’s steam technology from England was developed for the Australian environment and purchased by landowners eager to capitalise their properties and improve capacity and profits. These pump sets were operating until the introduction of oil engines in the 1890’s, and were substantial installations in their own right requiring site staff to operate and maintain them, and a supply of spare parts.  There is sufficient archaeology from remote pastoral stations and wells to establish the significance of the engineering heritage, and record this technology which is not published to date.

REFERENCE: Ridgway, N 2007 Early Water Supply Technology in Australia. Fourteenth National Engineering Heritage Conference 2007. Perth, Australia, 18 September – 21 September 2007. The Institution of Engineers Australia: Conference Papers.