|THe SHPC Pump House, located adjacent to the Entertainment Centre, is now a bar and grill.|
|The pump house is wedged in by flyovers and gaudy entertainment venues. This manhole cover is immediately outside the pump house.|
The Sydney Hydraulic Power Company commenced supply of hydraulic power in January 1891. The reticulation system comprised a series of cast iron pipes with control valves outside the customer’s premises. The system covered the area between The Rocks, Woolloomooloo, Pyrmont and Ultimo. It was used to power cranes on the wharves, public and goods lifts in department stores and commercial buildings, orchestra lifts in theatres such as the State Theatre, wool presses, bullion lifts in banks and a variety of machinery such as forges. By 1919, there were 2,369 lifts alone connected.
|Down at the beginning of Kent Street in Millers Point is the old wool Bond store, where a hydraulic powered lift can still be seen on the outside of the building with yet another variation on a manhole cover.|
Over its lifetime, the SHPC had laid some 80 kms of pipe throughout Sydney CBD. However, hydraulic lifts tended to be quite slow in operation and faster electric lifts over time replaced the water powered ones. Hydraulic lifts also had height limitations due to mechanical combinations. The peak period for hydraulic power was in the mid 1930s, with the break-even point being reached in 1965. By 1968 there were no more than 150 customers on the system which ceased operation in 1975.
|The Bond store is adjacent to the Lord Nelson pub. These two manhole covers are in the courtyard that houses the hydraulic lift.|
I am indebted to the NSW Department of Education & Training, and Charles Sturt University for the basic material for this summary.