Program for opening of Hills Water Scheme for Perth and Fremantle, 1925 - (TLF R3698 v1.0.0)
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document icon Program for opening of Hills Water Scheme for Perth and Fremantle, 1925

Program for opening of Hills Water Scheme for Perth and Fremantle, 1925
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library


This is a program commemorating the official opening of the first section of the Hills Water Scheme for Perth and Fremantle, Western Australia, in December 1925. The four-page black-and-white brochure is 12.5 cm x 20 cm.

Educational value

This resource is useful because it:

  • This asset commemorates the opening on 7 December 1925 of the first section of the Hills Water Scheme - the Scheme was constructed to improve the quality and quantity of the water supply to Perth and Fremantle in Western Australia; in May the following year, water from the hills' catchment flowed through pipes to supply the metropolitan area, allowing the bore water supply to be completely shut off, at least for the winter months when rain was plentiful.
  • This asset indicates that WA was undertaking major public works in the construction of a big metropolitan water supply extension scheme in the mid-1920s - the brochure lists the dams that were being built, their average daily discharges and capacities, the length and location of pipelines, the estimated costs and the progress to date of the scheme.
  • This asset provides details about the construction of Churchman's Brook Dam, Wungong Brook Dam, Canning Dam and the network of pipes that was built to carry the water - the combined storage capacity of the dams was 24,200 million gallons (109,106 million litres), and steel pipes with diameters of 16, 30, 36 and 40 inches (40.6, 76.2, 91.4 and 101.6 centimetres) were laid along routes that varied from 1 or 2 miles (about 1.5-3 kilometres) to 16 miles (nearly 26 kilometres) in length.
  • This asset provides a range of statistics about the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage District and Armadale Water District in 1924-25 - for example, the principal sources of supply, their capacities and average daily draws are given, revealing that over 60 per cent of the water supply came from 13 bores, while the remainder was drawn from Victoria Reservoir, Mundaring, Lower Bickley, Bickley Pipe Head Dam and Armadale-Narrogin Brook Pipe Head Dam.
  • This asset shows a view of the hills around Perth and the clothing of men in the 1920s - the drawing on the front of the brochure depicts Churchman's Brook, with a number of men watching water being diverted into pipes at the reservoir.
  • This asset gives an example of an official ceremony to mark a significant event in Western Australia that was attended by a number of important public figures - the program notes the schedule for the opening as: 'INSPECTION OF CHURCHMAN'S BROOK DAM UNDER CONSTRUCTION. OFFICIAL TURNING ON OF WATER BY MINISTER AT VALVE HOUSE SITE AT KELMSCOTT. SPEECHES BY MINISTER FOR WATER SUPPLY SUPPORTED BY HON. THE PREMIER (HON. P. COLLIER, M.L.A.) HON. SIR JAMES MITCHELL, K.C.M.G., M.L.A. HON. W. J. GEORGE C.M.G., M.L.A. HIS WORSHIP THE MAYOR OF PERTH, AND HIS WORSHIP THE MAYOR OF FREMANTLE.'.
  • This asset indicates that Alex McCallum (1877-1935), Minister for Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage in the first Collier Labor government (1934-40), officially opened the first section of the Hills Water Scheme - McCallum had been General Secretary of the WA Labour Federation from 1911 to 1921, before being elected as member of State Parliament for South Fremantle; he served as a Cabinet Minister in the Collier Governments, Deputy Premier and then as Chairman of the Agricultural Bank.
  • This asset shows the unofficial emblem of Western Australia at the time on the front of the brochure: a crest which featured a lion and a unicorn above a black swan and the motto 'Cygnis insignis' (a Latin pun meaning 'Distinguished for swans') - WA's coat of arms had its origins in 1829, when British settlers established the Swan River colony and adopted the black swan and the motto as an emblem; the coat of arms, which now features two kangaroos and a swan and carries no motto, was given official sanction when Queen Elizabeth II (born 1926, Queen from 1952) granted arms to the state in 1969; the black swan was proclaimed as WA's bird emblem in 1973.