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Glenelg Service Reservoir and Bench Mark: Our hidden industrial heritage

Carriageway Park / Tuthangga (Park 17)

Did you know that the history of water supply in the driest state in Australia is hidden in this Park?

photo-icon Bench Mark #10
photo-icon Original wrought iron fence around reservoir
photo-icon London Office and Showroom of Bayliss Jones & Bayliss at 139 Cannon Street
photo-icon Bench Mark 13 originally located on Barnard Street, North Adelaide

The mound covered in earth and trees in this Park is the former reservoir built in 1881 to supply water to Glenelg.

Until the reservoir at Thornden Park opened in 1860, the City's water was carted from the Torrens River. From Thornden Park, water was piped to the Waterworks Depot in the east Park Lands, where only the Valve House now remains in Rundle Park / Kadlitpina. To supply outlying areas. water was later piped to the reservoir in Kangatilla (Park 4) in North Adelaide (opened in 1878), and to this reservoir to supply Glenelg.

The reservoir tank was circular, with brick walls, a concrete floor and a concrete roof supported by 58 iron columns standing on brick bases. The roof was then covered in soil and planted with grass. Two-thirds of the 850,000 gallons (3.2 megalitres) tank was below ground level - equivalent to an Olympic swimming pool.

The reservoir was enclosed by a fence to keep out the cattle which grazed in the Park Lands. The fence was wrought iron, manufactured by the English firm Bayliss Jones & Bayliss.

A section of the original fence remains on the northern side of the nearby croquet club. The reservoir was no longer used after 1928 and the tank was filled with soil in 1982 - but the shape of the tank is still reflected in the size and shape of the mound.

To make sure water and sewer pipes were installed at the correct depth, more than 30 cast iron bench marks were installed at key locations around the city in 1879. The bench marks established heights above the reference point of low water at Port Adelaide, shown on the brass plate fixed on to the marker. The bench marks were made of cast iron with an overall height of 1.2 metres, however most of the bench mark is hidden underground.

The Kaurna name for this Park, Tuthangga, means Grass Place.

City of Adelaide acknowledges the traditional Country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains and pays respect to Elders past and present. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to the Kaurna people living today. We also extend that respect to other Aboriginal Language Groups and other First Nations.

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