Hydraulic Pumping Station No. 1 (former)
Statement of SignificanceThe former Hydraulic Pumping Station No.1 played a pivotal role in the industrial, commercial and architectural development of Sydney. As the city's first and major public provider of hydraulic power, it has contributed to the urbanization and changing skyline of the city and it has played a significant role in the industrial operations that occurred in Pyrmont and Darling Harbour. The building and its elements have the potential to yield information that contributes to our understanding of the technological aspects of hydraulic power and its use and its effect on the development of the city of Sydney. The former HPS No.1 demonstrates a high degree of technical achievement as it was the first large, multi-purpose hydraulic pumping station in NSW. The building retains many original engineering components that were used to generate hydraulic power and thesecomponents tangibly illustrate this technological achievement. The building has aesthetic significance as the façades are examples of picturesque Italianate elevations used for utilitarian building, a common design element of utilitarian buildings from the late 19th century. The building, however, is one of the last surviving structures of this design in Darling Harbour and is also the principal material evidence of Darling Harbour's industrial history. As well as the buildings' fabric and components, the form of the building and internal spaces contribute to its significance and interpretation of its former use as ahydraulic pumping station. The former HPS No.1 has a strong association with workers and visitors to Sydney, as the station contributed to altering working conditions, working environment and the design of some of the city's buildings. The fabric and form of the former Hydraulic Pumping Station No.1 is of State significance in accordance with the NSW Heritage Branch guidelines.
Hydraulic Power Station
Utilities - Water
Water Pump House/Pumping Station
Construction Years: 1889 - 1891
Physical Description: Three storey Italianate/Baroque facade with rich decorative plaster/stucco elements. Detailing includes matching pairs of pedimented dummy windows with square Corinthian pilasters flanking a central arched window on each storey, also with Corinthian pilasters plus stucco moulding and keystone. The arched windows are repeated on the second storey sides, below a circular vent, also with stucco moulding. The ground storey features stucco quoins which extend on the eastern side to simulate ashlar masonry on the facade on an extension which also features ornate Italianate plasterwork. The facade third story of the accumulator house rests on a corbelled string course and consists of a returning balustrade, punctuated by impressive pillar and stylised pediment which reads in relief 'SYDNEY SUBURBAN HYDRAULIC POWER ESTD COMPANY 1889'. The building still houses two accumulator cylinders. The walls are massive load-bearing brick with a riveted iron girder and timber ceiling. The Engine House behind and adjacent to the accumulator house, supports a huge cast iron water tank on massive load bearing brick walls and a double row of large riveted iron box girders. The facade, like the accumulator house is Italianate with ornate stucco decoration, an arcade of arched windows. The water tank is constructed of large square cast iron plates with raised circular and diagonal strengthening ridges on the interior. Cast inscriptions on two of the plates on the tank read 'J COATES ENGINEER COLLINS STREET MELBOURNE' and 'J ABBOT & CO LD MAKERS GATESHEAD ENGLAND'. The building has been realigned, the entrance is now from the original southern wall and a balcony and verandah have been constructed on it. The interior of the building has been massively renovated with only the walls and ceiling remaining original, there is no demarcation between the original two buildings evident on the interior.
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: Erected in 1889 by the Hydraulic Power Company, the pumping station is of technological significance as the centre for the now abandoned city hydraulic power network. This network was crucial to the dock, warehouse and other commercial development of Sydney. A substantial contributor to the townscape quality of the Haymarket Conservation Area (National Trust), with its substantial and picturesque Italianate facade. At the end of the 19th century, before electric motors were perfected, the principal sources of power for industry and commerce were steam engines, some gas engines and hydraulic pressures. A public system of high pressure hydraulic power was introduced to Sydney in 1891. Before that several privately owned hydraulic systems were operating hoists and lifts.The effect of the introduction of hydraulically powered lifts on the architecture of Sydney was dramatic. Commercial, residential and warehouse buildings could now be constructed up to eight storeys high instead of the usual three of four. Builders were quick to seize on the new technology and use it to meet the mounting commercial pressure for more buildings on less land.The Sydney and Suburban Hydraulic Power Company was established in 1889 and built the pumping station in Pier St which was completed in 1891. By 1926 the Company's operations had expanded and the more efficient electric lifts were being installed and maintained by them in many of Sydney's buildings. The company then became the 'Hydraulic Power Electric and Hydraulic Lifts Ltd.'In 1955 the company, in an attempt to prevent a takeover by the Council of the City of Sydney, split into 'Elevators Pty Ltd' and 'Hydraulic Power Pty Ltd'. These two companies were taken over by Lend Lease Corporation in 1960.The Pier St station was the first and largest pumping station in Sydney. It was sited between the central business district and wool presses of Pyrmont and Ultimo wool stores. It provided water at 800psi in an area bounded by Broadway, the Pyrmont wharves, Circular Quay, and the eastern end of Cowpers Wharf Road.Water for the system was tapped initially from the city water supply. However, as demand for service increased this became too expensive and a dam was constructed on 4ha of land near Mount Rennie, which is now the Moore Park Golf Club. This dam was increased in size from 2.8 million litres to 4.5 million litres and water was pumped by the low pressure Waterloo Pumping Station to the Pier Street Pumping Station reservoir. High pressure water from the Pier Street Station was pumped through 30km of 150mm and 100mm high pressure mains to operate many of the lifts, hoists, cranes, bank doors and wool dumping presses scattered throughout the city.By the 1920s hydraulic pumping sub-stations had been erected at Cowpers Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo and Pyrmont to cope with the increased demand, principally from the wool presses. In 1926 the Waterloo pumping station was converted from steam to electricity and the first change in the Company's name occurred. The demand for power increased steadily to 250 million litres/year. In 1952 the steam plant was replaced by electric pumps to try and meet this demand. The growth of the number of lifts and hoists operated by hydraulic power increased steadily from 1891 to the 1920s when electrically powered lifts became pre-eminent. From the 1920s most new buildings had electric lifts installed as hydraulic lifts were seldom suitable for more than four or five stories and the number of lifts remained relatively static. However, the increased use of hydraulic lifts already in place lead to a steady increase in the amount of water consumed up until the late 1950s.There was a steady decline in the demand for hydraulic services from the commencement of the 1950s building boom. There was also a need to upgrade much of the plant. Consequently the decision was made to cease operations by 1975. The high pressure water supply was discontinued in sections.
Historical significance: The No.1 Hydraulic Pumping Station was the only public hydraulic pumping station to operate in Sydney. The success of this station led to the widespread acceptance and use of hydraulic power in the city. The station was directly associated with the development of many prominent Sydney firms and with the construction of many prominent Sydney buildings. The provision of hydraulic power from this station was an important contributing factor in the operations of the Pyrmont and Darling Harbour wool stores and the wool boom of the 1890s. Hydraulic power allowed greater building heights which in turn altered the Sydney city skyline. The item meets this criterion at a State level for its contribution to the history of Darling Harbour and Sydney.
Aesthetic significance: The No.1 Hydraulic Pumping Station was the first and largest hydraulic pumping station to be built in Sydney. The station represents the arrival of a new technology which had a major impact on the Sydney building industry and operations of stores in Darling Harbour and Pyrmont. It contains the largest extant set of hydraulic accumulators and remnants of the largest cast iron water tank in NSW. The building structure in the engine house shows an unusual small scale application of massive load bearing brick wall and riveted iron girder technology. The accumulator house facade shows, in its picturesque Italianate elevations, an elegant nineteenth century approach to the decoration an industrial and utilitarian building. It is also one of the last standing buildings of this design in the Darling Harbour area. The item meets this criterion at a State level for its aesthetic contributions and technical achievement.
Social significance: The advent of hydraulic power forever altered the conditions and environment of Sydney's office workers. The pumping station is a well known landmark at the southern end of the city. Pier St Pumping Station is today, the last major vestige of a suite of industrial structures in and around Darling Harbour. It is therefore of major social interest as the principal tangible evidence of the Darling Harbour's 170 years of industrial history. The item meets this criterion at a State level for its association with the industrial and working community in Sydney.
Research significance: The history of the site is reasonably well documented, particularly its steam operations. The surviving documents, visible fabric and any potential archaeological remains associated with the operation of the hydraulic pumping station provide an invaluable resource for explaining the use of hydraulic technology in a large multi-purpose station in New South Wales. The item meets this criterion at a State level.
Rare assessment: The No.1 Hydraulic Pumping Station was the first and largest hydraulic pumping station to be built in Sydney and it is the last major vestige of the industrial history of Darling Harbour. It retains original elements associated with the operation of the station including the accumulator tanks and water tank panels that are the only surviving elements of this type of technology and use in NSW. The item meets this criterion at a State level.
Representative assessment: The No.1 Hydraulic Pumping Station is representative of the important role of hydraulic power played in development of the Sydney and industry in Darling Harbour. It was the first and the largest public hydraulic pumping station built in Sydney and one of the last remaining structures in Darling Harbour that reflects the areas historic use for industry and utilities.The item meets this criterion at a State level.
Intact assessment: The building facade, internal walls, roof, hydraulic accumulators and the largest cast iron water tank in Sydney still survive and are sympathetically incorporated to the renovation of the building as a pub.
Physical condition: The exterior of the build is in excellent condition, although the renovation and realignment of the entrance obscures some of the features of the facade. The interior of the building has been renovated but substantial original features remain. The floor of the building has been renewed, a new concrete mezzanine which has no relationship with the original open space has been added and access to the base of the accumulators and the basement has been removed. However there could be significant archaeological potential.
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Developing local, regional and national economies||Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods.|
|Developing local, regional and national economies||Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences.|
|Building settlements, towns and cities||Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|National Trust of Australia Register||Hydraulic Pumping Station||01/07/1979|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||00125||02/04/1999||1546||27|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|