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”
A bridge in Northam’s West End is now unused but in the past it played a significant role in the design of the water supply scheme. Later, it was used by migrants, displaced by WW11, to access the town from where they were housed at was then Northam Army Camp and now is the Northam Detention Centre.
How best to cross the Avon River?
In determining the route of the pipeline from Mundaring to Kalgoorlie, water supply engineers faced many problems. Crossing the Avon River was one. The pipeline was split into two smaller pipes laid in parallel under the bed of the river.
Each of the smaller pipes was fitted with a stop valve on either side of the river. The theory was that if one pipe failed while the river was flowing, it could be isolated and the water supply maintained through the other pipe until the river subsided and repairs could be made. Was it the luck of the Irish that during the winter of 1917 both of the small pipes failed at the same time?
Instead a timber trestle bridge was built to carry the pipeline over the river. This bridge, the Poole Street Bridge, still stands although it no longer carries the pipeline. After the pipes were relaid in the 1930s, the bridge was used as a pedestrian crossing.
Two pipes now cross the Avon on trestles complete with walkways, allowing maintenance access at all times.
Click on any map section or place below to discover The Golden Pipeline.