Water Cooling System and Manifold
Statement of SignificanceThe water cooling system and manifold was an integral component of the operating system of the Power Station. The former Ultimo Power Station, (now the Powerhouse Museum) dating from 1899, is historically significant for being the original generating station for the supply of electricity to power the electric tramway network throughout Sydney. It was also one of the largest and most important generating stations in NSW for many years and has associations with the electrification of the suburban railway system and with the general reticulation of electrical power. The station also played a major part in the development of the Ultimo/Pyrmont area.
Nil, Water Police training area until c1990
Water transport system for operation of powerhouse
Utilities - Electricity
Electricity Generator/Power Station - hydro-electric
Construction Years: 1898 - 1901
Physical Description: Underground conduits possibly built of sandstone taking cool water to the Powerhouse from Darling Harbour waters edge and hot water from the Powerhouse to the waters edge. The remains of the engineering equipment/manifold of this cooling system are located in the carpark of the Novotel accessed from Murray Street.
Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: The Water Cooling System and Manifold are an integral component of the power station. In 1893, the first complete electrically powered tramway line opened on the north shore and its success led to the decision to adopt electric power for the tramway system overall. A single large electricity generating station was deemed necessary to provide this power and the first stage of the Ultimo Power Station opened in December, 1899. The first of the all electric tram car sheds, Ultimo Tram Depot, opened at the same time in a tram shed at the south end of the Power Station site (and has been separately nominated). Conversion of the tramlines proceeded rapidly and expansion of the power station followed in stages. It was the first place where turbine driven alternators were tried in Australia, in 1905 and was amongst the largest of any generating stations operating in Australia till the 1940s. In the 1920s, electrification of the suburban railway led to substantial extension and re-equipping of Ultimo and the White Bay Power Station also commenced operations as the second of the New South Wales (NSW) Railway and Tramways Department generating stations. These two worked closely together until the 1950s when all the power generation facilities of the state were brought together under the NSW Electricity Commission, formed to deal with the chronic post war power shortages in NSW. As the interconnected network expanded and new generation power stations were completed and brought on line, Ultimo's old machinery and city location saw its progressive redundancy and it closed in 1964. Allied to this was the closure of the tramway system, in favour of motor buses, which was underway from the 1950s and was complete by 1963. The power station was then stripped and lay dormant until the decision in 1979 to use it as the new location for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (formerly the Technological Museum). As well as its wider importance, the power station was highly significant to Ultimo/Pyrmont. It was a major employer and its function of power generation brought further development to the area. The Police uitised the water cooling system pipelines between the disused power station and Darling Harbour to train the Police Rescue squad in SCUBA.
Historical significance: The former Ultimo Power Station, dating from 1899, is historically significant for being the original generating station for the supply of electricity to power the electric tramway network throughout Sydney. It was also one of the largest and most important generating stations in NSW for many years and has associations with the electrification of the suburban railway system and with the general reticulation of electrical power. The station also played a major part in the development of the Ultimo/Pyrmont area. The water cooling system and manifold was an essential component of the operating system.
Aesthetic significance: The system is underground and is not visible.
Research significance: The system has the potential to provide information on early operating systems of electricity and underground construction of large water cooling systems.
Intact assessment: The system was in good condition c1990 when used as a training area for the Water Police for instruction in restricted area scuba diving.
Physical condition: Requires assessment, however up until c1990 the system was used by the Water Police as a training area for scuba diving in restricted areas, therefore at that date the system was in good condition and substantially intact.
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Building settlements, towns and cities||Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis.|
|Developing local, regional and national economies||Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services.|
|Developing local, regional and national economies||Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Register of the National Estate||100690||27/10/1998|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Management Plan||Register of National Estate||Powerhouse Museum (Stage Two), Ultimo New South Wales|