inHerit Logo

No 1 Pumping Station Museum


Shire of Mundaring

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


Mundaring Weir Rd Mundaring Weir

Location Details

to be included in P8538 Mundaring Weir Precinct assessment

Other Name(s)

CY O'Connor Museum

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1901

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List YES 08 Mar 2016
State Register Registered 04 May 2001 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Register of the National Estate Permanent 21 Mar 1978

Heritage Council
Classified by the National Trust Classified 11 Jun 1973

Heritage Council
Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register Permanent

Heritage Council
Municipal Inventory Adopted 22 Apr 1997 1 - Exceptional significance

1 - Exceptional significance

Rare or outstanding example; essential to the heritage of the locality Expectations: The place should be retained and conserved. Any alterations or extensions should reinforce the significance of the place and be in accordance with a Conservation Plan if one is in place.

Statement of Significance

The O'Connor Museum / No. 1 Pump Station is of very high social, historic, aesthetic and scientific significance, not only for the Shire of Mundaring and the State of Western Australia, but the engineering significance is also of National importance. This statement of significance also needs to be read in conjunction with the Mundaring Weir site no. 55.

The pump station has:
• Social significance for the impact the construction of the Goldfields Water Supply had on the Mundaring community at the time of its construction at the turn of the century, and for the continuing impact on the lifestyle of people out in the Goldfields and agricultural land in between.
• Historic significance for the impact the project had on the development of Western Australia and its associations with prominent people of the time including C. Y. O'Connor and Sir John Forrest.
• Aesthetic significance for its industrial architecture and landmark value.
• Scientific significance for the magnitude of its engineering achievement.

Physical Description

The O'Connor Museum, former No. 1 Pumping Station, is an impressive building once approached but from a distance is diminished by the scale of the valley and the Weir wall behind. At close range the building's industrial Federation Warehouse architectural style and tall brick chimney can be appreciated.

The large pump house has seven structural bays, with a further five bays to the south forming the boiler room. The tall brick walls have internal buttresses which rise to the top of the walls to support steel engineered roof trusses. Each alternate structural bay has a tall nine pane, double hung window for light and cross ventilation. The roof is a monitor style with the upstanding ridge providing high level ventilation for the pump house which originally contained three duplex, steam driven pumps assembled along the length of the building. Only one of these pumps remains as a museum display (previously included many other artifacts and materials explaining the history and engineering of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme). In the boiler room there are three large boilers with steam superheaters. A very large semi-circular arched opening in the east wall, and three high level louvered openings on the western wall provided ventilation for the boilers which were flued out and into a 41.5m high brick chimney stack. The chimney is approximately 4 metres in diameter at the base, with tapering 'garden wall' or 'colonial' (alternating rows of stretcher courses of brick to one header course) brickwork reaching up to a corbelled brick capping approximately 2 metres in diameter at the top.

From the outside, other than the dominating chimney, the large pump house and boiler room walls are relatively plain, flat red brick punctuated only by the occasional window or arched opening. There are three large sections of pipe penetrating the external walls.


The No 1 Pumping Station was similar in construction to the seven others located at intervals along the 525 km pipeline built from the Helena Reservoir and Mundaring Weir (Site 55), to the Eastern Goldfields. Built in 1901, the pumping station was constructed of brick, with a corrugated iron roof. Tenders for the pumping machinery for the water supply scheme were called in April 1899, and in March 1900, the contract was let to James Simpson and Company of London. In common with the No 2 Pumping Station (Site 57), and those at Cunderdin and Merredin, the No 1 contained three horizontal, six cylinder, triple expansion, surface condensing, pumping engines of the Worthington duplex direct acting type.

The engines and pumps basically rested on granite bed-rock, supported by brick piers resting on a concrete floor. The pumping ends were bolted to the bed-rock, and the cylinder ends moved freely on expansion rollers. The lower floors of the engine rooms were concrete rendered with cement mortar, and the upper or working floors were jarrah, resting in steel joists. The floors on the boiler rooms were concrete. Although first designed to be coal fired, the boilers, made in Scotland by Babcock and Wilcox, were converted to be wood fired. The monthly firewood requirement for the No 1 pump was 265 cords (392 tonnes) of 6 ft long x 7inch wide, straight, solid, dry jarrah. From 1902, to 1926, 3,750 acres (1,518 ha) was cut to supply the No 1 Pump. The enormous draught required to keep the boilers working efficiently was provided by the 130 ft high chimney stack.

The pumping station was located 650 feet downstream from the Weir. In contrast to all other stations, where water was drawn from a reservoir, the water for the No 1 was drawn from a 4 foot diameter stand pipe. The pumps then lifted the water 415 ft through one and a half miles of pipe to discharge into the 15 foot deep, 468, 000 gallon capacity concrete receiving tank at the No 2 station. The total cost of the 8 pumping stations and their machinery was £ 436,000, or nearly 25% of the scheme’s total cost of £2,660,000.

Following the completion of the Weir wall, pumping began from the No 1 pump on 13th April 1902. It was a further 8 months until the main was charged as far as Coolgardie. On 22nd January 1903, the machinery at the No 1 Pumping Station was turned on by Lady Forrest. The men who operated the equipment lived near the Weir and their children attended the Mundaring Weir school (Site 58). As a result of their efforts, including that of the Engineer in charge of the No 1 Pump, Mr A Eggleton, a Hall and Mechanics Institute was opened in 1908 (Site 51). Their houses and some social activity centred around the nearby Goldfields Weir Hotel (Site 50), and any requirements from Mundaring or further afield was delivered by horse and dray or on the Mundaring Weir branch of the Eastern Railway.

In 1954, as part of an upgrade to the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme which began in 1951, with the raising of the Weir wall, both the No 1 and 2 steam powered stations were replaced by one electric station. The No 1 Pumping Station became derelict from inactivity. In 1961, the Western Australian Tourist Development Authority undertook the conversion of the building to a museum celebrating the impact on the state of the Water Supply Scheme, the discovery of gold, and the contribution by the State’s Engineer-in-Chief, Charles Yelverton O’Connor. Although two engines were removed, the original Worthington-Simpson engine A was cleaned and restored as part of the display.

2016 update: In January 1998 the Water Corporation of WA and the National Trust of Australia (WA) reached an agreement whereby all heritage aspects of the former Goldfields Water Supply Scheme would be managed by the National Trust. This agreement included the transfer of a number of decommissioned assets of the original scheme to the National Trust for conservation and interpretation. Consequently No 1’s time as the O’Connor Museum came to an end in April 2000. Renamed No. 1 Pump, No. 1 Pumping Station was redeveloped as a public recreational and educational venue detailing the history of the scheme. According to best practice heritage guidelines, intrusive elements were removed to reveal features and its original function as a pumping station. Conservation works were also undertaken and it reopened in 2003.
No. 1 Pump Station is the start of a Heritage Drive Trail that follows the journey of a drop of water from Mundaring Weir to its destination in Kalgoorlie, via the sites of the seven other original steam pumping stations. It is also the starting point for walking trails in the Mundaring Weir precinct.

No. 1 Pump Station is now a popular venue for weekday school excursions and National Trust volunteers open it for the public on weekends for limited hours.

Note: see also Site No. 55 - Mundaring Weir


very high - although two of the three pumps have been removed in conversion to a museum building

Other Keywords

Recommendation/Conservation Strategy
The O'Connor Museum / No. 1 Pump Station requires the highest level of protection and warrants permanent Entry onto the State Register of Heritage Places and the owners provided with the maximum encouragement to conserve the significance of the place. The Pump Station is already classified by the National Trust, and the Australian Heritage Commission as well as having been declared a National Historic Engineering Landmark as part of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme. All necessary steps must be taken to continue to conserve the place as a National heritage site.

2016 update: The place has been included on the National Heritage List (23/06/2011) as part of the ‘Goldfields Water Supply Scheme’, Place ID 106007. Apart from the 1987 Institution of Engineers Australia award (National Historic Engineering Landmark); the No. 1 Pump Station was also recognised by the International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Award presented in October 2009. Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Snow River Scheme are the only other two in Australia.

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
7352 Conservation plan for Goldfields Water Supply Scheme. Volume II, place A : No. 1 Pumping Station Mundaring. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1999
1608 Conservation and interpretation plan for No.1 Pumping Station Mundaring. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1996
6452 Mundaring Weir Precinct masterplan : final master plan report. Heritage Study {Other} 2002

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use EDUCATIONAL Museum
Original Use GOVERNMENTAL Pumping Station

Architectural Styles


Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall BRICK Common Brick

Historic Themes

General Specific
OCCUPATIONS Technology & technological change
OUTSIDE INFLUENCES Water, power, major t'port routes
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Workers {incl. Aboriginal, convict}
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Resource exploitation & depletion

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

10 Feb 2017


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.