Tender Accepted For Kingscote Water Supply

The Commissioner of Public Works (Sir Herbert Hudd) said yesterday that he had accepted the tender of Emmett and Sons Ltd., Woodville, for the construction of three reinforced concrete tanks, each of one million gallons capacity, to be built partially underground in Ewens street, Kingscote West, Kangaroo Island. Water would be pumped from the Cygnet River to these tanks and reticulated to the township of Kingscote. The Minister said that the work of laying the pumping main from the Cygnet River to the tanks would begin this week, and would provide employment for about 30 local men, in addition to departmental specialist workmen, for four or five weeks. Tenders for the pumping machinery would close on Thursday. It was expected that the whole scheme would be completed and in commission by October.

Tender Accepted For Kingscote Water Supply (1938, January 11). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 10.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36402821

After A Century — Water For Kingscote

By F. H. Legg

FOR the first time since it was originally settled, nearly 102 years ago, Kingscote, chief port and "capital" of Kangaroo Island, will be able this year to look forward to the summer without fear of a water shortage.

The new £25,000 pumping and storage scheme is well under way. By August or September it is estimated that the three 1,000,000 gallon reinforced concrete tanks will be completed and stored. Never again will Kingscote be faced with the possibility of having to import water by sea from Adelaide, as was at one time contemplated. 

The history of the township is bound up with this problem of finding fresh water. Although the mainland is within easy reach of the island, only eight miles away at its nearest point. 

Flinders, it will be remembered, found no sign of human life or habitation when he discovered the island in 1802. The great navigator landed on several different parts of the island; but the shortness of his stay was partly caused by the lack of, or difficulty in finding, water. Of Kangaroo Head, near American River, he wrote:— "It is possible that with much time and labor engaged in digging, water might be procured to supply a ship; and I am sorry to say that it was the sole place found by us where the hope of procuring fresh water could be entertained." Baudin, or rather Peron and Preycinet, the two scientists who wrote up the French expedition's experiences after the death of its leader, were even less optimistic. When they visited the island shortly after Flinders had discovered it, the Frenchmen significantly named what, we now know as Hog Bay the 'Anse des Sources,' after a little creek which still runs, and which was the only drinkable water they could find. In fact, although they explored much more extensively than Flinders, the French scientists found Kangaroo Island so waterless that they were driven to describing an extraordinary scene at night when "Kangaroos and emus sought from the ocean that quenching draught which Mother Earth had no doubt refused them!"

WHEN South Australia was founded. 

Nepean Bay (where Kingscote now stands) had been selected as the site for the first settlement — in spite of Flinders and the French. The S.A. Commissioners placed more reliance on the reports of a certain Captain Sutherland, an early deRougement who claimed to have lived in great comfort for nineteen years on Kangaroo Island, which he found "wondrously fertile and with abundant water.'' The first settlers in 1836 sank a small well at Reeves Point, within a few yards of the sea. From it they ob tained a little salty, brackish water. But the supply soon gave out and fresh water had then to be carried by boat a distance of four miles or more to the collection of tents which constituted South Australia's first township. As soon as Colonel Light arrived, a month after the first landing, he saw that, despite the advantages of its harbor and situation. Kingscote was "hopeless." He proceeded with all dispatch to the mainland and the founding of Adelaide. The chief agricultural settlement of this early — and ill-fated — venture was, however, wisely formed by the South Australian Company on the banks of the Cygnet River, five or six miles from the landing-place. And down through the years until the present day the water of the Cygnet River has repeatedly been brought to the relief of Kingscote. 

OLD residents of this town tell stories of past droughts when every avail able cart was pressed into service to carry water daily to the surrounding farms for stock — and often enough for household purposes, too. They speak almost with pride of the occasion when conditions were so bad and the river so low that it was decided to import water by steamer from Adelaide. But fortunately rain came at the psychological moment and the plan never had to be put into operation. 

Today, as during most of its history, there isn't a well in Kingscote that functions. Each individual house possesses its own rainwater tank; and there has been for some time a Government underground catchment tank, stored with water as a reserve in time of need. But you have only to clean your teeth in the hotel bathroom to appreciate the fact that fresh water is valuable in Kingscote. What comes out of the tap is sea water. 

Now, however, within another three months or so, Kingscote will have a reserve of 3,000,000 gallons, which can be augmented at will, at the rate of 6,000 gallons an hour, from the Cygnet River. 

A 25-HORSE-POWER Diesel-engined centrifugal pump has been installed at the river, and a rising main of six-inch pipes laid over the five miles of sloping country which intervenes between the river and a hill which commands the town of Kingscote and the old landing ground where the first South Australians stepped ashore. Since Christmas workmen have been busy on the hill, excavating three huge pits, operating a large concrete-mixing plant, and building the reinforced concrete tanks. Each of the tanks 106 feet in diameter and 26 feet deep, will have a capacity of a million gallons. 

Despite the heavy rains at Easter and afterwards, which turned the whole area into a slippery quagmire, one of the tanks is almost complete; and the foundations of the second have already been finished. By August the tanks will be ready and then, to the spring, when the river water will be at its best, the pump will commence its literally up-hill task. Working one shift only, it is capable of filling the tanks in two months. And from there gravitation will carry the water to Kingscote. Next summer, for the first time, the turning of a tap will accomplish for the modern resident of historic Kingscote what a dusty ten-mile tramp with horse and cart accomplished for his grandparents.

After A Century—Water For Kingscote (1938, May 20). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 28. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74388004 

Kingscote's water supply officially turned on by the Hon. M. McIntosh , Commissioner of Public Works, November 5, 1938, at 4PM.

SLSA [B 29330]


Official Opening By Minister 


A water scheme for Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, was officially opened by the Commissioner of Public Works (Mr. McIntosh) on Saturday. Sir Herbert Hudd, who was largely responsible for the scheme, when he was Commissioner of Public Works, was, with Lady Hudd, an invited guest. In introducing the Minister, the chairmman of the district council (Mr. M. Smith) said that the scheme, which necessitated pumping from the Cygnet River, cost £23,000. Mr. McIntosh said that no progressive and happy community had ever been established without the people being taught to be tree and garden minded, I and the inculcation of such a spirit was possible only where a town had a water scheme. He paid tribute to Sir Herbert Hudd for the interest he had taken in the scheme, and for his foresight in establishment from the loan granted by securing financial assistance for its the Commonwealth Government. "May the scheme be a source of great comfort and pleasure and a stream of life to this town" said Mr. McIntosh, as he turned on the water. 

Sir Herbert Hudd expressed his appreciation of the invitation to be present at the consummation of a scheme that had taken many years to bring to fruition. The scheme would prove an important factor in the development of the agricultural industry on the island and in making it possible to beautify the town and provide the essential interests that would attract tourists in large numbers to what would be recognised as the Isle of Wight of South Australia. 

Settlement Possibilities 

Mr. Smith presided at a banquet held at the Ozone Hotel in the evening. Replying to the toast of "The Government," Mr. McIntosh said that he knew of no greater possibilities for successful land settlement than in the south and south-east of the mainland and on Kangaroo Island, and the development of those areas would be assisted through the recent amendment to the Land Settlement Act, which gave the Government power to clear and put down in pastures up to 300 acres before the allotment of Crown lands was made. 

A toast to Sir Herbert Hudd was proposed by Mr. R. Wheaton, supported by Mr. V. H. P. Cook. The toast of the officers of the Engineering and Water Supply Department who were responsible for the scheme, was proposed by Mr. W. Burgess, and the engineer-in chief (Mr. H. G. M. Angwin) responded. "New-comers to the Island" were toasted at the instance of Mr. V. H. F. Cook, supported by Mr. D. C. Murray. In responding. Mr. Hugh Robinson said that it had been proved that a carrying capacity of two sheep to the acre could be obtained for an outlay of £3 an acre. Government assistance was still required in the direction of experimental work, particularly where pastures were concerned. 

"On the mainland." Mr. Robinson said, "we are forced to destroy the rabbits on our property, but on the island, although they do enormous damage, the shooting of wallabies and kangaroos is not allowed. I have snared 600 of these vermin on my property this year, and I am confident that I am feeding at least 1,500 wallabies at the present time." Mr. Robinson said that it was necessary to fence the fauna reserve, on the south of the island, as early as possible claiming that unless this was done the country would be overrun with vermin as development progressed Mr. D. Davidson supported the remarks of Mr. Robinson.

Country Section (1938, November 7). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 21.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36590375