Thursday, June 17, 2010


One of the forgotten markers of early Canberra history is provided by a remnant sewer vent. The vent (which looks like a brick smoke stack or chimney) was built in the 1920s for the original sewer line of the new city of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. The new sewer line led from the provisional Parliament House,  through Yarralumla, to Weston Creek where there is a larger vent (post here).

From (here)

"In 1914, even before a decision was made on the original method of treatment,
the Department of Home Affairs had proceeded to design the main outfall sewer westbound from the Canberra Hotel. Along its length of 4.8 km the tunnel was to pass under what is now Stirling Park, the Royal Canberra Golf Club, Lady Denman Drive and Cotter Road. (Brick ventilation shafts from the completed tunnel can be seen today from these roads). The depth of the tunnel varies between 1.5 m and 24 m".

Holing through the main outfall sewer.
Photo — Mark de Plater.

Considerable Hardships were encountered during the construction of the system with few facilities in Canberra in the early days. Accommodation, terrain and circumstances such as hitting 'near surface' limestone caves along the way and the considerable depths that needed to be dug at to maintain the flow of the pipes.

The sewer vent is just an interesting remnant of another time and a functional piece of architecture to be pondered on when walking up the Stirling Park ridge to see the Aboriginal scarred trees of Westridge (post here).

Westlake and Westridge is a really interesting place for a walk.

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