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New plaque gives national recognition to Lake Pump House heritage

By November 14, 2022Heritage, News

A new plaque unveiled at lake Canobolas has given national engineering industry recognition to a little-known example of early 20th Century engineering in Orange.

Engineering Australia has decided to add the Lake Canobolas Pump House to its list of Heritage Markers, designed to highlight key examples of Australia’s engineering heritage.

Members of the Engineering Australia joined Orange Mayor Jason Hamling for a ceremony at the Lake to unveil the latest marker,  one of more than 250 across Australia.

HERITAGE: Orange Mayor Jason Hamling and Engineering Australia’s Deputy Chair of Engineering Heritage, Bill Phippen take a close look at the new heritage marker and the heritage pumps at the Lake Canobolas pump house.

Mayor Jason Hamling said the plaque recognised an important part of the city’s history.

“The pump house is a remarkably intact collection of pump equipment that dates from more than a hundred years ago,” Cr Jason Hamling said.

When it was built in 1915, it became a crucial piece of Orange’s water supply, together with a new dam wall at what was then called Meadow Creek, and later Lake Canobolas.

Among the engineering challenges in 1915 was that this site is downhill from Orange. The problem was how to get huge amounts of water back to town. The solution was a to build a pump house, with pumps strong enough to pump water in a 300 mm water pipe about three kilometres uphill to a new tank on Cargo Road. From there, the water would run downhill to the community of Orange.

The pumping equipment that was used came from England, from Richard Hornsby and Sons in Lincolnshire. It included an engine powered by its own coal-powered gas plant.

The 128- horsepower engine worked two sets of pumps, capable of lifting 88,000 gallons (333,000 litres) of water every hour. A  caretaker was employed by Council to look after the pumping station equipment.

The pump house equipment was used through to 1957. Later, other water sources for Orange were brought online. Spring Creek dam was completed in 1931 and then Suma Park in 1962.

“I’m proud that the quality of what can still be seen at the pump house has been recognised by the placing of this plaque. Historical examples of equipment of this standard are now very rare and I’m delighted the award for this plaque will let this site gain the recognition it deserves,” Cr Hamling said.

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