Golden Pipeline

National Trust of WA

Explore The Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail

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.

Discover The people and the Scheme

“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” – Sir John Forrest

The People Aboriginal People

Aboriginal workers on the Pipeline

While several photographs exist of Aboriginal people working on building the water supply scheme, there is no record of who and how many did so.

Below is a rather poignant letter sent by one of these workers who obviously had to leave his children at a mission so he could go in search of work. This was not uncommon – Jureen Mission between Kellerberrin and Doodlakine had dormitories for the children of parents forced to find work far from the reserve it served.

Sir, I beg to inform you that I have been on the Pipe Trench ever since I left Perth. I am now working in Mr Harris’ gang at the above address. My wife is anxious to know how the children at the Swan Mission are as we have heard nothing of them since we came up here.

Will you kindly see, or write to Mr Garland and let me know if all is well with them. If there is no reason against it could not the children write to us themselves. Did you receive the box of flowers I sent you about 3 months ago. Fred Mead, an Aboriginal worker, in a letter to Henry Prinsep, Chief Protector of Aborigines, 1901

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