Water Tower, Barcaldine

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Brisbane Courier, Saturday 18 December 1920, page 6


Sir, - My attention has been drawn to "Hansard" of the 1st inst., page 429, in which Mr. Bulcock, member for Barcoo, is speaking on the Local Authorities Amendment Bill, says: -"Various things have happened in my electorate concerning municipal affairs, and I can speak with some authority on this matter. In the town of Barcaldine about three years ago it was decided to build a water tower. A good deal of argument had centred around the water supply during this debate. This tower was erected, and it was surmounted by a huge tank of great capacity. It stands there today day a monument to the inefficiency of the representatives on the Barcaldine Shire Council. I might mention that after it was built a fire occurred in the town, and it was proved to be inefficient and has now passed out of commission." I don't know how or where Mr. Bulcock got his authority, but it is inaccurate.

In the first place the tank was erected about ten years ago, has and is proving most efficient, and was the means of confining a fire that occurred about eight years ago to the immediate premises in which the fire originated, and did the same thing again last February. I think I can speak with authority having lived in Barcaldine since its foundation in 1886, was first chairman of its first Divisional Board, and chairman of its Shire Council on several occasions, including six consecutive years 1912-17, when I left the locality. During all those years, I never knew or heard of Mr. Bulcock, who from his position as a member of Parliament, slanders the pioneers of one of the most up-to-date and progressive towns in Queensland.

I am, sir, &c.


Stephens st., South Brisbane, Dec. 17.


After several Barcaldine buildings burned down in the 1890s and early 1900s, a town fire brigade was formed, but inadequate water pressure severely handicapped the brigade's performance. A 45,000 gallon (204,000 litre) tank on a 100 ft (30m) mild steel tower, designed in 1912 by the Government Hydraulic Engineer John Baillie Henderson, was constructed in 1914, with the tank being first filled in November 1914.

The tower is similar in design to those erected in the same era at Goodna and Sandy Gallop (Ipswich) mental asylums, to carry 60,000 gallon (273,000 litre) tanks. The Barcaldine tower is the only one of the three still standing.

The tower was retired from water storage service in 2006 and adapted for use as a communications tower. The conversion involved draining the water tank, removing the roof and installing new walkways and landings to satisfy current standards. The tower now carries an impressive array of radio and television antennae. The Barcaldine water tower survives in its original position, forming the centrepiece of a heritage park of growing tourism significance.

Courtesy of Engineers Australia


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