Water

Water Resource of the Bon Accord Mine

During the operation of the Burra Mine the townships relied on the water pumped from the mine that kept the Burra creek flowing. When the Burra Mine closed in 1877 this water was no longer available.

In 1878 a 4 inch main was laid from the Aberdeen Waterworks (Bon Accord Mine) down Morehead Street to a public trough and standpipe. Five private residences in Aberdeen were also connected.

The first Burra Pumping Station for the supply of water to the Township of Kooringa was constructed on the Bon Accord Mine site in 1884. It was run by the Burra Corporation until pumping operations ceased there in 1908. The pumping machinery was then shifted to its present site, over the Engine Shaft, where it continued operating until 1966. Pumping from this site ceased when Burra was supplied with water from the Morgan-Whyalla Pipeline.

Image courtesy of the Ian Auhl Collection
The village pump, stand-pipe and horse trough, 1914.

A 300 foot bore was put down in the centre of Market Square in 1879 and water rose to within 18 feet of the surface. The cool water from the bore was in great demand on a hot summer's night.

Ian Auhl goes on to say:

In the year 1879, shortly after the stoppage of the Burra Mine, residents were much concerned about the needs of a water supply for the town, and several schemes were discussed, including the extension of the Aberdeen supply, which was at the time fed from the railway station.
Eventually, however, an artisan supply was thought of and meetings were called and the question threshed out from all sources. At last it was decided to make an effort to secure a supply by boring, and the centre of the Market Square was the place selected.
Public subscriptions were asked for and came in splendidly, and towards the middle of the year 1879 a contract was let to Messrs. Francis, Clark & Son of Adelaide to put down a bore.
The work was started under the supervision of the Town Council. An expert at the Business (named Jolly) was in charge. Work continued under difficulties for some time, until a depth of 200 feet was attained, when on account of the sharp dip in the solid hard limestone rock, the bore hole "ran" away and the tools became jammed, and notwithstanding all the efforts put forth eventually broke away and could not be moved.
The contractors applied to the council for permission to try a new site, but this was not done, and at a council meeting held on March 14, 1881, after nearly two year's work, it was reported by the mayor that it had been mutually agreed between the contractor and himself on behalf of the town that it was undesirable to proceed.
It was at that meeting resolved that the work be atopped, and at a depth of 222 feet the geat was removed.
The water which proved good for domestic purposes rose to within 18 feet of the surface. A test was made with a powerful pump, but the supply could not be reduced below this level, and in December of the same year (1881) the pump and troughs were erected by Messrs. Francis, Clark & Son and have proved a boon to the town and district ever since, and proves as great a benefit today as ever it was.

Burra Record

XXXXV, 28, 11 July 1923, page 3

Burra Town Council

Messrs T. Woollacott and J.E. Pearce were granted permission to erect the power house for the Burra Electric Supply Co. Water will be laid on from the town supply to the water trough in Market Square, as the pump is hard to work.

The Morgan-Whyalla Pipeline

Irrigation pipes being carried by train

Laying water pipe in Mallee country

Pipeline construction, Morgan

Painting the pipeline

The above photographs are courtesy of the State Library of South Australia

Whyalla was established in the early 1900s as a base for iron ore mining.

The Morgan Whyalla Pipeline was constructed between 1940-1944 by the then South Australian Premier, Thomas Playford from his ambition to industrialise the Mid North during World War 2. The pipe diameter varies from 750 mm at Morgan to 525 mm at Whyalla and is predominantly above ground on concrete supports. The pipeline had a capacity of 9550 megalitres per year and was pumped through four pumping stations over a distance of 379 kilometres.

Extensions to the original pipeline were subsequently made from Port August to Woomera, with branches to Iron Knob, Jamestown, Peterborough and numerous other country towns and farming areas.

In 1962 a duplicate pipeline was constructed, running side by side with the original pipeline until near the Baroota reservoir where the second line veers across Spencer Gulf, submarine to Whyalla.

Every year the two pipelines can carry 66,000 megalitres of water from Morgan, where it has been pumped through a treatment plant from the River Murray.