10 Nov 2022
On Hill Street in West Hobart, a tall fence protects an imposing red-brick and sandstone façade.
Both hide from view a slice of history rarely seen and which raises the curiosity of people as they drive or walk by.
What is behind the wall?
The answer is the Hill Street Reservoir, built in 1862.
On Saturday, TasWater is hosting special tours at the site, offering a glimpse into what lies behind the wall and, such is the curiosity of Hobartians, every tour is fully booked.
As one of Australia’s oldest reservoirs, the site has a fascinating history. The original ‘reservoir’ built on site in 1862 is actually a cistern, which is an underground water supply tank.
These days the cistern houses the pump station which is activated during the peak supply times during summer to provide additional pressure in the network for houses around the hills of Hobart, utilising water from the (slightly) newer reservoir on site which was constructed in 1883.
TasWater maintains the site to ensure it is working effectively to continue to deliver safe, reliable drinking water for Hobart, just as it has for 160 years.
This Saturday’s open day is part of the annual Open House Hobart weekend, with all 45-minute tours at Hill Street Reservoir booked out.
Those attending have been reminded that, while the site is a natural place of curiosity and imagination, it is also an industrial site. All guests have been requested to wear closed-toe sturdy shoes and reminded the site is stair-access only and not suitable for children under 10 years.
Those lucky enough to have booked a tour will learn in-depth about this fascinating industrial-style reservoir and pump station and discover more about where the city’s water comes from.