Bickley Reservoir/Dam


City of Gosnells

Place Number



Hardinge Rd Orange Grove

Location Details

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1921

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
(no listings)

Statement of Significance

Bickley Reservoir, built in 1921, provided an important water source for a number of years before Churchmans Brook was activated. Since its construction it has been a destination for social gatherings for picnics and camping. The pipe track is significant as the remnants of the connection between the reservoir and the water supply to the city.

Physical Description

The Bickley Brook Reservoir has a concrete wall 191 metres wide and 13 metres high. It impounds a reservoir of approximately 106,000 cubic metres capacity.


Bickley Brook Reservoir was built in 1920-21 as a stopgap measure to alleviate the ongoing issue of an adequate water supply for Perth. It supplemented the water supply to the city via the Bickley Pipe Track. The Pipe Track was located along what is now Hardinge Road, Maddington Road and Bickley Road, through Orange Grove, Maddington, Kenwick and Beckenham. Throughout the early 1920s, the water mains were gradually laid from the Pipe Track to the residential areas in East Cannington, Maddington, and Kenwick. Up to that time, people relied on rainwater tanks and wells for their domestic water and on the river and creeks for irrigation for the orchards, vineyards and market gardens. The Victoria Reservoir, built in 1891, was inadequate by 1898, but the government was unable for many years to reach a decision on where to build a large new dam. The presence of E.coli in the water from the Bickley Reservoir led to the decision to resume all land in the catchment area. Bickley Reservoir was taken out of service in 1936, when the Canning Dam was put into service, and the water was used for irrigation until 1944. The area was then set aside for recreational purposes and Bickley Recreation Camp was established During WWI, many conscripts were unable to meet the standards of fitness and health required by the armed forces so in the latter half of the 1930s, unrest in Europe and the rise of Fascist powers and their prominent youth movements caused the Commonwealth nations to look at measures to address this issue in the event of another war. The National Fitness Council was established in 1938 with the aim of promoting physical fitness, especially among the young. A Camps and Hostels Committee was formed in 1942 and the first State Youth Camp was established at Bickley in 1945. The initial work was done by committee members and volunteer workers and included cleaning up the site, laying paths and erecting buildings, including a lecture hut, kitchen, store and shower block. Accommodation was in tents at first and later in bungalows. The camp was opened by the Minister for Education and Social Services, John Tonkin. A number of community groups were involved in the place - Scouts, Girl Guides, YMCA, YWCA, many church groups, the Junior Red Cross, Rural Youth Movement, Gould League and Football Clubs. More buildings were erected and in the mid 1960s, the old school from Carilla, near Pickering Brook, was transferred to the site. A 50m swimming pool was created in the reservoir, jetties were built by two local men, George White (grandson of Jabez White) and Bill Webster, and an amphitheatre and several memorials added. Commemorative stones, seats etc were built by Hans Jenal. The Gould League have contributed enormously to the understanding of the area by laying trails. Facilities have been constantly improved for the greater enjoyment and appreciation of the beautiful setting and the flora and fauna. In 1978 the Reservoir was drained and cleaned to make it safe for swimming. Fifty years of use were celebrated in 1995. Over the years activities held at the camp have included among other things swimming camps, social functions, water polo, athletic groups, Scout and Guide groups, youth drama and art groups. A manager resides on the site. In 1993 Bickley Pump Station was constructed to pump water through to the new Victoria Dam Reservoir during the wetter months, and a recreation area (Hardinge Park) was established below the catchment area. This meant the return of the Bickley Reservoir to at least partial use to supplement Perth's water supply and with that came concerns for the health of the catchment area. Plans were announced by the WA Water Authority together with the Gosnells City Council, to upgrade facilities at Bickley Reservoir below the upstream area, thereby reducing pollution problems. Work included rehabilitating degraded areas and constructing new recreation facilities such as tables and benches, walk trails, a car park, playground and toilets. City of Gosnells’ duties included rehabilitation and landscaping, lawn mowing, weed control and reticulation. The new area was named Hardinge Park after T. H. Hardinge, whose land higher up the valley had been resumed for the water supply in 1920. The road to the area was named after him many years ago. T. H. Hardinge died in 1929 but his daughter attended the opening of the Park. The Hardinge Park facilities are now well used by local people and visitors to the area. Access to the Reservoir and catchment are now controlled in an effort to reduce pollution. Permission can be obtained to enter the fenced area or access is available via the Recreation Camp. There are carefully planned sign posted bridle paths in the catchment area, while the nearby Mason and Bird Heritage Trail also attracts visitors to the area.


Integrity: High Degree Authenticity: High Degree




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
JSH Le Page;"Building a State: The Story of the Public Works Department of Western Australia 1829-1985".

Place Type

Other Built Type


Epoch General Specific
Original Use Transport\Communications Water: Other
Original Use GOVERNMENTAL Reservoir or Dam

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall CONCRETE Reinforced Concrete

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Community services & utilities

Creation Date

02 Jul 1999

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

01 Jan 2017


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