MEMORIES and stories of the Goldfields Pipeline are being sought for a major community-led research project to help preserve the 120-year-old pipeline’s heritage and tourism value.
The ‘Stories in the Pipeline’ project aims to record a history of the public’s interactions with CY O’Connor’s iconic pipeline, which conveys drinking water 566km from Mundaring Weir to the Eastern Goldfields.
The project will span pre-colonial to modern times and, in liaison with Aboriginal consultants, have a strong focus on exploring the role of Aboriginal people in the development of the pipeline, and the impacts on Aboriginal lands, culture and heritage.
Other anticipated story themes include the abolishment of private and market gardens; Muslim cameleers and their transport routes linking with the pipeline; arrival of abattoirs; management of diseases and hygiene; and the contributions of immigrants, among others.
As well as helping identify heritage and tourism-related opportunities, the project will inform where original pipe will be retained for heritage purposes, as old sections are progressively replaced with modern below-ground pipe over the next 70 years.
Responses to the ‘Stories in the Pipeline’ project will be collated via online surveys, interviews, focus groups, school and community outreach, and story collections via written submissions.
Once finalised, the project will inform the preparation of a heritage interpretation strategy and management plan that will be open for public comment, expected by early 2024.
Water Minister Simone McGurk said the project is important to help preserve CY O’Connor’s Goldfields Pipeline heritage value, including prioritising areas of original above-ground pipe for preservation and ways to reuse the old pipe.
“While we rightly want to preserve the pipeline’s rich heritage, it’s also important to acknowledge the pipeline, and ensuing population growth and clearing of land, hugely impacted Aboriginal people and their ways of life.
“By recording these stories, Water Corporation will be able to present a more holistic and accurate legacy of the pipeline and its contribution to WA.
“I encourage everyone with a personal connection to the Goldfields Pipeline to share their stories, memories and photos.”
Stories, memories and photos related to the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org