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Enoggera Reservoir

The establishment in 1824 of a penal settlement at Redcliffe, by a party of convicts and soldiers, proved to be unsuitable and upon searching for a better location to settle, fresh water was found 15 miles upstream of the Brisbane River, which was to become the City of Brisbane. It is significant that the creek – known as Wheat Creek – rose from behind the Boys’ Grammar School in an area known back then as Yorkes Hollow and flowed along, where the Roma Street Parklands exist today, with marshes and reeds, into an area called the “Horse Pond” where the City Hall stands today, and then into the Brisbane River near Creek Street.

As the population of Brisbane grew, wells were placed away from the creek and around 1838 Andrew Petrie, who was a civilian engineer, installed an earthen dam near Tank Street.

In 1839 the transportation of convicts to Australia ceased, which in 1840 saw many free settlers and squatters moving to Brisbane from the Darling Downs area, greatly adding to the population and usage of the existing water supply. By 1845 the population of Brisbane had reached 812.

In 1859, just prior to our State of Queensland leaving the Colony of New South Wales, the Municipal Council of Brisbane was formed. One of their first actions was to control the sources of supply – including the Tank Dam, Spring Hill and Yorke’s Hollow (now Victoria Park) to erect a tank on the edge of the dam and to license water carriers.

The first years of the 1860s were drought stricken and by 1863 the situation was desperate. Thomas Oldham, an engineer who had a lot to do with Melbourne’s first water scheme, reported the two best options for Brisbane were water by gravitation from Enoggera Creek or Ithaca Creek to Windmill Hill (now Wickham Terrace). The original Euoggera spelling meant ‘running water’ in the local Aboriginal dialect, becoming `Enoggera’ via an early printer’s error.

In April of 1864, Joseph Brady was appointed to the Board and detailed planning commenced for Enoggera Dam. At The Gap during this period, the land where construction was to take place was owned by Moses Adsett who received £2 17/- for fencing and an area jointly owned by the Adsett and Paten families was awarded £150.5/- for the land which was taken to create the Enoggera Dam. The Surveyor General, A. C. Gregory, turned the first sod to get construction under way on 18th August 1864.

The original dam was an earth bank with a puddled clay core and was 65 feet high by 1,100 feet long. Construction started from each end with the 125,000 cub yards of material in the dam being hand dug and the contractor had to use horse and carts to assist with consolidation, as opposed to trucks on rails.

Unseasonal heavy rain in September 1864 caused major flooding which swept away 18,000 cubic yards of fill. Conditions were tough – wages paid were:

Masons – 13 shillings per 8 hour day
Blacksmiths – 11 shillings per 10 hour day
Miners – 10 shillings per 8 hour day
Fitters – 10 shillings per 8 hour day
Labourers – 8 shillings per 10 hour day

 

On Wednesday 25th and Friday 27th January 1865, the newspaper of the day carried the advertisement:

– WANTED –
50 GOOD NAVVIES Wages 7/6° to 8/6° per day. None but good hands need apply.

The dam was completed in March 1866. After completing the installation of the reticulation system, water was finally turned on in Queen Street at the end of August 1866 to serve 94 chains of mains, servicing Queen, George and Edward Streets. The reservoir, being 208 feet above sea level, saw the underground pipes mostly following the creek (which flows down hill).

To save almost two and a half kilometres of piping, from a spot 100 yards downstream from the School Road Bridge, it tunnelled through the hill to emerge where Whitehead Road meets the creek. This is known as “Adsett Tunnel No. 2” taking its name from Moses Adsett who owned the land at the time. Completed at a cost of £65,000 ($130,000) the Enoggera Dam – Reservoir has served the people of Brisbane well.

Sources of Information:
“One Hundred Years of Brisbane’s Water Supply” by G Cossing, B.E. Arnie (Australia)

“Reflections – Memories of The Gap” by R. Speechley

 

  • Aerial view of Enoggera Dam 1946

    Aerial view of Enoggera Dam from the cockpit of a Tiger Moth flown by Don Carnegie in 1946.

    Date: 1946
    Courtesy: Connie Carnegie
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  • Black Swans

    Black Swans were prevalent on the Enoggera reservoir during the 1960s.

    Date: c. 1960s
    Courtesy:
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  • Canoeing on the Dam

    A canoeing experience whilst picnicking at Enoggera Dam pre 1914.

    Date: c. 1914
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Caretaker Memorial Rock

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    Courtesy:
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  • Construction Works

    Construction works on the new Enoggera Dam in the early 1860s.

    Date: 1860s
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Construction Works

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    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Enogerra Dam

    Date:
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Enoggera Dam

    A very early view of Enoggera Dam.

    Date:
    Courtesy: Nancy Fursman
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  • Enoggera Dam 1960s

    View of the Enoggera Dam from Mt. Nebo Road, circa 1960s. The dam wall is centre left of picture.

    Date: 1960s
    Courtesy: Ron Low Photographic Collection
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  • Enoggera Dam 1960s

    View from Mt Nebo Road of Enoggera Dam and grassy slopes below the wall. Filtration beds are also below the wall and Fursmans’ farm is on the hill behind. Circa 1960s.

    Date: c. 1960s
    Courtesy: Ron Low Photographic Collection
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  • Enoggera Dam 1960s

    View of Enoggera Dam, circa 1960s.

    Date: c. 1960s
    Courtesy: Ron Low Photographic Collection
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  • Enoggera Dam 2000

    Historic Enoggera Dam pictured in October 2000 during the Jacaranda Flowering season.

    Date: 2000
    Courtesy: Jeff Hilder
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  • Enoggera Dam Construction

    Building of Enoggera Dam 1864-1866. Note the clay core and the drays without shafts. Tents can be seen amongst the trees in the background.

    Date: c. 1865
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Enoggera Dam Embankment

    View of the Enoggera Dam embankment with filtration beds and Mt. Nebo Road houses pictured upper right. Circa 1983

    Date: C. 1983
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Enoggera Dam in Flood

    Enoggera Dam in flood, circa 1930s.

    Date: c. 1930s
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Enoggera Dam in Flood

    Enoggera Dam in flood, circa 1930s.

    Date: 1930s
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Enoggera Dam in flood 1930s

    Enoggera Dam in flood, circa late 1930s.

    Date: 1930s
    Courtesy: Doug and May Easton
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  • Enoggera Dam Property

    An early view of the Enoggera Dam property.

    Date:
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Enoggera Reservoir 1931

    View of Enoggera Dam in 1931.

    Date: 1931
    Courtesy: John Marshall
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  • Enoggera Reservoir 1945

    Section of the Enoggera Reservoir.

    Date: c. 1945
    Courtesy: Ron and Helen Pointer
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  • Enoggera Reservoir Construction

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    Courtesy:
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  • Enoggera Reservoir Flood 1941

    Jim Bames with his dog “Barney” sitting at his feet – surveys the overflow at the Enoggera Reservoir – Flood – 1941

    Date: 1941
    Courtesy: Barnes Family
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  • Enoggera Reservoir Overflow

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    Courtesy:
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  • Enoggera Reservoir Site

    Standing on the Enoggera Dam site in the early 1860s and looking across the embankment towards what is known in 2002 as Mt Cootha.

    Date: 1860s
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Enoggera Reservoir Spillway

    First Enoggera Dam spillway.

    Date:
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Enoggera Reservoir water filtration system

    Section of the Enoggera Reservoir water filtration system, circa 1945.

    Date:
    Courtesy: Ron and Helen Pointer
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  • Enoggera Waterworks

    Enoggera Waterworks buildings Circa 1870.

    Date: c. 1970
    Courtesy: Nancy Fursman
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  • Enoggera Waterworks

    Three workers at Enoggera Waterworks. Joe Doyle on top of tank, ? McMillam (left) and Christian Nielsen (great grandfather of Jeff Holder). Christian was listed in the 1893 Post Office directory as being in charge of the Waterworks. Photo date unknown.

    Date:
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Filter Beds

    Enoggera Dam filter beds and underground tank. A portion of Bill and Nancy Fursman’s farm is visible in the foreground.

    Date:
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Filter Beds

    Enoggera Dam Filter beds.

    Date:
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Filter Beds

    View across Enoggera Dam filter beds to the Fursman farm. Bill and Nancy's home upper right amongst the trees. Circa 1983.

    Date: c. 1983
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Filtration Beds

    View across Enoggera Dam filtration beds to Mt. Nebo Road. House upper right owned by Dr and Mrs David Lynch in 2001. Photo circa 1983.

    Date: c. 1983
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Hyacinth

    Enoggera Dam covered partially with the pest “Hyacinth”. Circa 1960s.

    Date: c. 1960s
    Courtesy: Ron Low Photographic Collection
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  • Locals Paddling on Reservoir Overflow

    Date:
    Courtesy: Nancy Fursman
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  • Picnic at Enoggera Reservoir

    Sunday picnics at Enoggera reservoir, Brisbane, in the early 1900s were more for-mal than today’s shorts and thongs affairs. The ladies wore frilly dresses and the gents were neatly decked out in smart straw boaters, batwing collars and handsome ties.

    Date: c. 1900s
    Courtesy:
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  • Picnic at Enoggera Reservoir

    Picnic at Enoggera Reservoir, Brisbane

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  • Siphon Tank

    Enoggera Dam Siphon Tank (centre left). Circa before 1912.

    Date: c. 1912
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Spillway in flood

    Early view of the first Enoggera Dam spillway in flood.

    Date:
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Spillway in Flood

    The first Enoggera Dam spillway in flood.

    Date:
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Syphon Tank

    Enoggera Dam syphon tank. Circa before 1912.

    Date: c. 1912
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Thomson family

    The Thomson family, caretakers at the Waterworks 1896–1919.

    Date:
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Toll Gate House

    Toll Gate house, Mt. Nebo Road.

    Date: c. 1945
    Courtesy: Ron and Helen Pointer
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  • Tom Cummins

    Tom Cummins (smoking pipe) with possibly his brothers. Tom was the son in law of Christian and Margaret Nielsen, he married Emily Nielsen.

    Date:
    Courtesy: Bill and Grace Best
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  • View From Mt. Cootha

    Telephoto view #6 of The Gap from Mt. Cootha. Features Enoggera Dam. Circa 1970s.

    Date: 1970s
    Courtesy: Jeff Hilder
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  • View of Enoggera Reservoir 1945

    View of Enoggera Reservoir from opposite the Toll House, Mt. Nebo Road, circa 1945.

    Date: c. 1945
    Courtesy: Ron and Helen Pointer
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  • Water Restrictions Notice

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    Courtesy:
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  • Waterworks Houses

    A view of Enoggera Dam and two of the Waterworks houses, circa 1915.

    Date: c. 1915
    Courtesy: Meta Truscott
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  • Waterworks Road Toll Gate

    John Cuthbert mans the Toll Gate on Waterworks Road, near where Brisbane Forest Park Headquarters now stands. Circa 1931

    Date: c. 1931
    Courtesy: Mrs. Rita Clay (nee Cuthbert)
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  • William Thomson and Family

    William Thomson was caretaker at the Waterworks 1896 – 1919. He is pictured here with his family : From left > John, Donald, William, Isabella (standing), Jenet, Sarah (nee Campbell). Hugh and William Stewart.

    Date:
    Courtesy: The Colin Fanning Collection
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  • Work Boat

    The “work boat” on the Enoggera Dam, circa 1941.

    Date: c. 1941
    Courtesy: Barnes Family
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2018-03-18T09:54:48+00:00