A project from the National Trust of WA
A self-guided drive trail between the Perth Hills and Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields. Go with the Flow. Follow the water to discover more about the audacious goldfields water supply scheme and Engineer CY O’Connor.
“Future generations, I am quite certain will think of us and bless us for our far seeing patriotism, and it will be said of us, as Isaiah said of old, ‘They made a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert”
No 6 Pump Station was situated at Ghooli on the railway line. Take a walk around to learn more about the rich and full lives of those who lived and worked here – the families as well as the men.
With its tall steel chimney a dominant marker, No 6 Pump Station, situated less than 200 metres off the highway, is one of the more visible of the remote pipeline places. Remnants of the old Pump Station and its ancillary buildings provide a glimpse of a life now past at this still operational pumping site.
What appears to be nothing more than a patch of gravel indicates there were once tennis courts where the pump station adults and children played against each other and against teams from the next pump station up or down the line. Children’s playground equipment was adjacent to the courts, making this the lively centre of the community.
The school was beyond the Pump Station building to the east with the housing allotments to the west. The number of houses varied over the years from the original two engineers’ houses and a single men’s barracks, to a maximum of 10 houses.
No 6 is a good place to consider how the scheme was fuelled. It has a ‘coal bin’ and one of the few remaining weighbridges. The scheme’s boilers were originally designed to be fuelled by coal. Within two years, however, they were being fuelled by wood which was cheaper and more easily obtained.
Coal and, later, 6 foot lengths of firewood were delivered by railway and unloaded from a track running on an elevated timber trestle just outside the boiler room arch. The roof above this structure had to be high enough (5.5 m) to accommodate the train’s funnel. Later wood was delivered by motor vehicle and a weighbridge was constructed in 1949-50 to determine the load for payment.
The water supply scheme’s importance to Western Australia’s mining and agricultural industries is such that during World War II the pump stations and the weir were guarded by various groups including Special Police and the army. No 6 was no exception with people from the nearby town of Southern Cross guarding it.
Click on any map section or place below to discover The Golden Pipeline.