01.10.2012 34 °C
It’s a public holiday in Western Australia today (Queens Birthday) and not too many businesses open. We did try 2 Caravan parts places trying to get some Vinyl Awning wash for the van but no success. We went for a drive to Mundaring instead and went out to have a look at the weir there.
One of the original steam powered pumps is still here
And in the park is an unusual tree with multiple trunks
In the 1890s prospectors made a dash for gold in Coolgardie seeking fame and fortune. However in the dusty, dry and searing heat another precious commodity proved even more elusive - water!
The area´s population was booming and in 1895 the State´s Engineer-in-Chief of Public Works,CY O´Connor, was asked to work out how to get fresh water to the arid goldfields around Coolgardie.
He decided to build a storage reservoir in the hills near Perth and pump water inland. Some called it madness while time has proved otherwise, it is now considered a unique technological triumph.
The project involved building a 21 Gigalitre storage reservoir at Mundaring and then pumping the water via eight large steam-driven pumping stations through a 557km steel pipeline. But CY O´Connor was never able to enjoy his success as pumping trials began just weeks after his death in 1902.
In January 1903 the Mundaring water flowed into Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. Since then the Weir´s capacity has been increased with the addition of the Lower Helena Weir downstream of the main dam. Water from this smaller dam is pumped back into Mundaring Weir.
O'Connor was subjected to prolonged criticism by members of the press and also many members of the Western Australian Parliament over the scheme. Forrest, always a supporter, had left Western Australian politics to become federal defence minister; defamatory attacks by the press had wounded him. O'Connor committed suicide less than a year before Forrest officially commissioned the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme.
Evans describes how political machinations and individual greed led to many libellous newspaper articles about O'Connor towards the end of the pipeline project. One article in particular in The Sunday Times, 9 February 1902, is thought to have contributed to his death. Accusing O'Connor of corruption, it read, in part:
“...And apart from any distinct charge of corruption this man has exhibited such gross blundering or something worse, in his management of great public works it is no exaggeration to say that he has robbed the taxpayer of this state of many millions of money...This crocodile imposter has been backed up in all his reckless” extravagant juggling with public funds, in all his nefarious machinations behind the scenes by the kindred-souled editor of The West Australian —(Evans 2001:219)
The government conducted an inquiry into the scheme and found no basis for the press accusations of corruption or misdemeanours on the part of O'Connor.
O'Connor took his own life on 10 March 1902 by shooting himself, while riding his horse into the water at a beach south of Fremantle. He took his own life because he was accused of many crimes, such as foolhardiness and waste of public money.
The beach where O'Connor died was named after him and there is also a statue sculpted by Tony Jones, of him in the water there.
The temperature today is quite high again so after lunch we went to Morley shopping centre to walk around and enjoy their air-conditioning. We spent a few hours here and in the end did a little grocery shopping then tried to find our car. This shopping centre is so large and I hadn’t paid enough attention when we came in. It took quite a while to locate our car.
This morning we drove to Butler which is a far north of Perth outer suburb – in fact some call it ‘South Geraldton’. Brother Alan and his wife Brenda live here in a rather large 4 bedroom home. They have sold it and are looking forward to building a new house but downsizing to 2 bedrooms.
We had a very pleasant morning with them before all going to have a look at a nearby beach. Well, the tide was so high there really wasn’t a beach at all.
We then went for lunch together to “Hogs Breath”, the first time we have been to one of these. Lunch was quite good.
After lunch, we said goodbye to Alan and Brenda and drove to Kingsley and the home of our next door neighbour, Steven. We delivered a parcel to him and had more cups of tea.
We drove back to our van after a quite busy day.
We took the car into Midland this morning and had 2 new tyres fitted then took it to have a service done since it was over 1,000 km overdue. Pommy Bob picked us up and we went to have a look at a few old haunts of Bob in his youth. 1st stop was at The Point on the Swan River, well actually at the junction of the Swan and Helena Rivers. This was where he taught himself to swim. There were some rather large geese here.
Both Pommy Bob and Hiroe couldn’t help themselves and had to have a go on the children’s playthings.
From here it was a drive past his old Primary School the on to another swimming area which was much closer to his home – Success Hill which has been refurbished and not too sure for the better.
It was then on through Perth City and up to Kings Park which overlooks the City. Magnificent views and the gardens are full of wildflowers. We Had lunch up there and a good walk around amongst the flowers.
We came across a water feature as well
It started to rain so we drove back to Midland and picked up our car after it’s service and back to the vans.
We went back to Kings Park at Night. The views were amazing with all the lights on in the buildings. No other city in Australia has scenes like this one.