The Golden Pipeline

As we have driven east from Perth we have been following the Golden Pipeline Trail – and become entranced by the vision, the triumph and the tragedy of this life-changing achievement.

The Golden Pipeline refers to an achievement that pipes water from Perth to Kalgoorlie, a distance of around 560kilometres. Construction of the pipeline began in 1900 and was completed in 1902. O’Connor, the engineer who designed it, was ridiculed for his outrageous, costly idea and committed suicide before the success of his dream was realised.

We picked up the pipeline trail near Meckering and stopped at nearby Cunderdin to view Pump Station No.3.

Pump Station 3 at Cunderdin
Wooden pipe sample

This original pump station is now set up as a museum showing the old steam driven machinery that drew water in from its underground storage and pumped it out though the ‘portholes’ you can see in the building.

Inspecting the works!

The boilers were originally fuelled by coal but when that proved too expensive timber was used – at the massive rate of 8 tons per boiler per day! Wood collecting to keep the boilers going became an off shoot industry in the area 🪵🔥

The chimney that expelled the waste was a striking feature of the building.

I put the phone on selfie mode to capture this shot looking up the chimney!

This Pump Station museum also had a yard full of old farm machinery and vehicles and it was where we experienced the ‘earthquake house’ that replicated the experience of the Meckering earthquake of 1968.

We left the pipeline at this point and picked it up again at Merriden, which featured in a previous blog. The flowering gums are spectacular at the moment and this beauty was in the museum car park.

Along with statice growing wild along the roadside it’s making for a very colourful drive.

2 thoughts on “The Golden Pipeline

  1. Love this story Rosemary. I love that pumphouse too, we must get to Cunderdin to see that! The C Y O’Connor story is extremely sad. He is now swell recognosed here in WA., but so sad that he was hounded to his death. His greatest feats were htis pipeline and the Freemantle Port/Harbour, which was built against the advice of the “experts” at the time. He definely won out in the long run, but too late to be recognised.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was hard not to get involved in the pipeline story as we travelled beside it to Kalgoorlie. Even saw a spot where it had sprung a leak! I never knew the impact the pipeline had in opening up so many farming communities all the way along it. Amazing achievement!


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