Rock water catchments, tourism spots listed in West Australia’s Heritage Places

Published on : Friday, April 22, 2016

Rock water catchmentsAn ingenious network of water catchment infrastructure in the Shire of Yilgarn, built during the Western Australian gold rush, has been included in the State Register of Heritage Places.

West Australia Heritage Minister Albert Jacob said the Railway Rock Catchment Dam Group at Bodallin and Yellowdine in the eastern Wheatbelt included several landmarks on the Goldfields railway line which supported the railway work crews during the gold boom.

“This was a time when fortunes were made and the discovery of gold placed the Public Works Department under extreme pressure to provide water resources in the vast, often unhospitable land between Perth and Kalgoorlie,” Jacob said.

The response required ingenuity from some of the Western Australian engineers such as WH Shields, C Jobson and CY O’Connor.

The system created was a myriad of catchment walls and earth dams around granite domes that used the natural contours and waterlines of the inland environment.

“The innovative catchments harnessed the natural landscape to channel and collect water run-off in structures that are still in use today,” the Minister said.

The catchments were built from 1894 to 1897. The water serviced the steam locomotives and supplemented supplies for stock, horses and men during the boom years.

The sites also display remnants of permanent settlements including a rare stone bread oven, providing a window into the lives of the workers and travellers who passed through the area.

“The catchment systems at Yellowdine and Bodallin are popular tourist spots while functionally still serving as active water catchment infrastructure. This is a significant engineering feat considering the age and basic nature of the materials used in their construction.”

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