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Artarmon's secret oasis

On the corner of the Pacific Hwy and Mowbray Rd, over the timber paling fence, stand two historic Sydney Water reservoirs. The reservoirs are in an enclosed park out of bounds to all but Sydney Water staff and maintenance contractors. A plaque on the corner of the Pacific Hwy and Mowbray Rd says:"Chatswood Reservoirs - Constructed in 1888, they were the first reservoirs erected on the north side of the harbour and are still in use. They are 370 feet above sea level. Each tank holds seven megalitres of water. When built they supplied the whole of the North Shore east of the Lane Cove River including Mosman. Water was carried from the Ryde Pumping Station through a rising main crossing the Lane Cove River via a suspension bridge. A third much larger reservoir was built behind them in 1966, holding 45 megalitres."

On finding the main gate open, I could to wander unhindered into what seemed like a quiet, green oasis in the middle of the traffic. The reservoirs are effective screens against the traffic noise.

The historic reservoirs, in the northern half of the grounds, are on Sydney Water's heritage register. A Sydney Water spokesperson told the Artarmon Gazette, that, although the two reservoirs were heritage items, they were still structurally sound and could be used for backup. "Sydney Water heritage management plan sets out to maintain the integrity of the reservoirs, that includes repainting the steel supports when needed," he said.

The northern half of grounds could make a good pocket park and a building nearby could house a coffee shop but because the site is still operational, only Sydney Water personnel can enjoy this a little oasis off two busy roads.

by Peter Egan

Courtesy of Gazette February 2011
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Historic reservoirs - an oasis amid the traffic





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