We recently had a literal ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to look inside one of Sydney’s most ornate and historic water reservoirs. Here’s what we found under Centennial Park!
First, the basics. ‘Centennial Park Reservoir No. 1’ is located at the northern edge of Centennial Park, adjacent Oxford Street.
Constructed in 1898 by NSW Department of Public Works, the reservoir came online in 1899 and has remained an active part of Sydney’s water distribution network since. At time of construction, the reservoir was the largest covered water reservoir in Australia.
A second (even larger) reservoir was built adjacent in 1925 (see large rectangular area to the left of Reservoir No. 1 in above photo).
The reservoir has an interesting history, not only acting as an important water repository, but alas featured grass tennis courts at one stage!
Now, to the most recent visit
Every 20 years Sydney Water drains the reservoir for essential maintenance inspections, and in 2012 we had the chance to go underground and walk around the drained reservoir!
A stunning heritage feature
Centennial Park Reservoir No. 1 is a stunning piece of heritage, above and below ground. The wrought iron fence, an above the ground feature of the reservoir, was restored in 2000.
Centennial Park Reservoir No. 1 is another example of the many and varied important roles played by Centennial Parklands.