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Pipeline could earn heritage title

THE Golden Pipeline Project has the potential to earn World Heritage Listing, according to the National Trust of Australia (WA).

A century after its creation, the pipeline now has similar legendary historical status in WA to its designer, CY O’Connor.

A National Trust spokesman said the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme ranked alongside the Snowy Mountains Scheme, Fremantle Harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge as one of Australia’s most important engineering projects.

The scheme is commemorated in a $15 million community-based heritage project that honours the skill of the original undertaking and conserves the scheme from Mundaring Weir to Kalgoorlie.

The ten to twelve year project coincides with two major WA historical milestones: 2003 marks the centenary of water being turned on at Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie and the commemoration of a centenary since Federation will occur in 2001.

The project will be structured in two stages consistent with these celebrations.

Most elements of the scheme such as pumping stations and reservoirs still survive and heritage experts say they can be faithfully restored, giving communities assets and focal points for tourism such as museums or art galleries.

The theory is tourist drives featuring elements of the Golden Pipeline Heritage Project will encourage travellers to explore the surrounding area more widely, bringing greater benefits to local towns and businesses.

The National Trust is hopeful the project will encourage the development and upgrading of local facilities.

More than ten local authorities along the route have signed a memorandum of understanding in support of the project.

Developments planned or under consideration include a major walk and motor trail, expansion of the CY O’Connor Museum at the No.1 Pumping Station in Mundaring, displays interpreting the Aboriginal and natural heritage along the pipeline route, highway rest areas with maps, stories and information and interactive multimedia at various sites, including radio and television broadcasts.

At present, replacement of the roof at the No.3 Pumping Station at Cunderdin is nearing completion.

The treatment and removal of asbestos has commenced at No.2 and will soon begin at No.7.

Asbestos survey work to No.1 steam pumping station site at Mundaring, No.3 Cunderdin site and No.4 Merredin site will be undertaken in the second quarter of this year.

Under a Celebration of the Centenary of Federation $1 million grant, conservation work will commence along the length of the pipeline on ‘urgent or immediate work’ early next year.

Funds will be spent on conservation items ranging from repairs of porticos to complete roof replacement.

In December, Minister for Resources Colin Barnett said the government would commit a further $6.9 million over three years to the project commencing from the date of sale of AlintaGas.

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