Professor Khan’s historic walking tour of Sydney

Presented by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)

Event details

Saturday 11 November 2023

10:00am – 4:00pm AEDT


> Professor Stuart Khan FTSE, University of Sydney

FWI-NSW-Khan walking tour-221012

Join Stuart Khan for a historic 10 km walking tour of Sydney. The tour begins at Centennial Park Robertson Road Gates (off Lang Road). From there, you will explore Centennial Park, then follow Oxford Street to Hyde Park. You’ll walk through Hyde Park to Macquarie Street, Bridge Street and finish in the historic Rocks area.

On the way, you’ll learn about Sydney’s first three engineered water supplies, the Tank Stream, the Lachlan Swamps/Busby’s Bore Scheme and the Botany Swamps Scheme. Other notable water-related sites include historic public drinking water fountains and a public water pump (1868) manufactured by P.N. Russell Engineering, Woollahra Reservoir (1880), Centennial Park No.1 Reservoir (1899), Centennial Park No.2 Reservoir (1925), Paddington Reservoir (1864), Crown Street Reservoir (1859) and pumping station (1879), Sydney’s grandest old sewer vent (1857), and a convict-built stormwater drainage system (1840s). Other historical sites include notable statues, buildings, Macquarie Obelisk, an anchor and cannon from the First Fleet flagship, and more.


Time Location Discussion points


Robertson Road Gates, Centennial Park

- Traditional owners and their reliance on water.
- The influence of water availability on colonisation.
- The impact of drought
- The Tank Stream water supply
- The impact of pollution
- Busby's Bore Scheme


Lachlan Swamps

- The Botany Aquifer
- Lachlan Swamps as a water supply
- Current role of Centennial Park Ponds in aquifer recharge, flood mitigation, habitat and other services


Centennial Park three reservoirs + Morning tea

- The Botany Swamps Scheme
- The role of engineer Edward Bell
- The purpose, design and history of the three reservoirs


Upper-Oxford Street

- Architect James Barnet
- Paddington water supply history
- Paddington Reservoir
- Busby's Bore


Taylor Square

- Sydney historical public toilets and sanitation


Crown Street Reservoir + Lunch

- Crown Street Reservoir
- The Botany Swamps Scheme
- Pieno Cafe


Lower Oxford Street

- Sydney's historical drinking water fountains


Hyde Park

- Busby's Bore
- Sydney's historical drinking water fountains
- Historic sewage vent


Macquarie Street

- Architect Francis Greenway
- The Rum Hospital
- Governor's Macqiarie and Bourke


The Conservatorium of Music

- Government stables, house, farm, etc.
- Convict-built roads and drainage


Bridge Street

- Macquarie Place and its artefacts
- The Tank Stream
- Colonial architecture
- First Government House


Circular Quay

- The Tank Stream