Sydney's first water source


Busby’s Bore Fountain, Hyde Park.

I took this photo a few years ago on a cold and wet July day. My sons and I were coming into the city to do a spot of shopping at David Jones, but of course, the puddles in the park were calling and we spent some time jumping around before we hit the shops (and headed straight to level one for a hot coffee for me, milkshakes for the boys and scones in the cafe, which is a bit of a tradition for us).

It’s almost hidden now and many Sydneysiders are completely oblivious to both its significance and its location but this unassuming (and perhaps ugly) fountain is actually on the site of Sydney’s original water supply.

Built by convicts to bring clean water in from Lachlan swamp (now known as Centennial Park) in the 1820’s when drinking water availability was in crisis.

The fountain itself is an art installation to commemorate the site, 1962.

You'll locate it near the giant chessboard and the entrance to St James train station. On a wet day like that one was, the greenery tends to hide it even more.

If you have been following along with our adventures for some time you will know that I simply love finds like this. It's yet another extremely important historic site that thousands of people walk past every day without so much as a second thought. If you so stop to read the plaque, you will find the following inscription:“This fountain was provided by the Council of the City of Sydney to commemorate Sydney’s second source of water and its first piped water supply. As the Tank Stream, the original source of water, was dwindling and had become befouled, Governor Darling in 1826, directed the Government Mineral Surveyor and Civil Engineer, John Busby, to undertake the task of increasing the water supply to Sydney. John Busby proposed and supervised the construction of a tunnel from Lachlan Swamps (now Centennial Park) to a position in Hyde Park opposite Stanley Street and near College Street. Work commenced with convict labour at Hyde Park on August 15, 1827. The tunnel was completed in May, 1837, and was approximately 12,000 feet long with an average cross section of 5 feet by 4 feet. It cost 24,000 pounds to construct, and delivered up to 400, 000 gallons daily. Water was carried by pipes, supported on trestles, from the tunnel end to an enclosure near the corner of Elizabeth and Park Streets until 1844, when pipes were laid from the tunnel to various parts of Sydney. The Bore remained Sydney’s sole source of water until 1859. The Fountain was placed in operation by Lord Mayor of Sydney Alderman H.F. Jensen on 26.10.62, J.H. Luscombe Town Clerk, Designer: John Byrom – Architect.”

How to get there

Address: Hyde Park

Opening Hours: Everyday

#History #SecretSydney #Water #Fountain #Park #HydePark #Convicts #CityofSydney

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About Me

A native Sydney girl, who adores her home town. Everything I do, I do with my three boys by my side. It's amazing to discover just how much Sydney has to offer.

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