Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Spit Syphon (2/2)

When Fig Mince drew my attention to this structure in the background of one of my Chinamans Beach photos, I figured it was a government utility of some sort, just by how ugly it was! From memory, I think I googled "utility at The Spit", which brought up a lengthy heritage assessment report prepared by Mosman Council. I went looking for Parrwirri Road, and Bingo! Got its name and its originating State Government utility. Informayion was easy after that. Lots of technical guff to read though.

I lead this second post with a closeup of the structure on the Clontarf foreshore. It is ugly, delapidated, and an eyesore - but it is an essential element in our taken-for-granted way of life.
These two shots from Sydney Water indicate the primitive conditions endured by the workers on both the under-water section (across Middle Harbour), and the tunnels through solid rock. Three men died on the tunnelling between Clontarf and the Manly outfall. The tunnel was 90m below the surface at its greatest depth, and between Manly and Clontarf nearly 163,000 tonnes of rock had been excavated. And this feat of engineering is unheard of. The men who gave their all are not feted, their heroics not sung.
I walked from the valve-house on the Clontarf shoreline, following the pipeline (which is enclosed in a box-like concrete structure) as it cuts throgh the beach reserve, and then disappears into the steep ridge behind Clontarf. In the first shot above, I am at the raer of the valve-house looking in the direction of the ocean, along the length of pipe. In the second shot above, I am standing atop the encased pipe, looking back towards the beach. A century of growth is obvious in the size of the Moreton Bay Figs.
Peering beneath a low-slung fig branch, and across the beach access road, we see the pipes going through another valve-house, and seemingly, like the Pied Piper, throgh the hillside. It is the sort of built-environment element that one can pass by every day of one's life in blissful ignorance, unaware of the service it has performed for well-nigh a century.
I found this image of the Waste Water Treatment facility at Blue Fish Point Manly (North Head) on Flickr. Sydney Water will assure us that the water that comes out of the NSOOS and pours everyday into the Pacific Ocean is 99.99% pure. I take the Mandy Rice defence.
I am indebted to the following for information on the Northern Suburbs Ocean Outfall System (NSOOS):
Manly Daily, "Three died tunnelling sewer from Manly to Clontarf", 2nd August, 2013

Sydney Water, The Spit Syphon, Heritage Item


Joan Elizabeth said...

You not only let your finger do the walking you let your feet do it too. Great stuff, the combo of your research and photos.

William Kendall said...

That is a whole lot of work!

Joe said...

Thanks for research Julie. Environmentally friendly architecture certainly was not a priority when these structures were built.

Jim said...

Very interesting. Did not know it was there.

Julie said...

I am a glutton for punishment, William. Seriously, I try to post about things that interest me ... and sometimes that is not an easy task.