Dungog Historical Museum has a section of the original wooden pipeline between Chichester Dam and Dungog. Well, as near to original as you can get.
Many years after the pipeline was replaced, a 1.5 metre section was reassembled using the original materials – specially curved wood staves strapped together with individually tightened metal hoops. In any event, the 14.4 kilometre pipeline, with a diameter large enough for a man to crawl through, was an unusual feat necessitated by a shortage of steel due to WW1. Ironically, some of the water from the dam eventually found its way to the BHP steelworks in Newcastle.
When the pipeline was dismantled and replaced with steel, the metal straps were sold for use in concrete formwork and the wooden staves sent to Sydney for use in flooring. So the story goes, some of the timber was even used for highly polished dance floors in Sydney clubs.
While the wooden pipeline served its purpose, one shortcoming (depending on which way you look at it) was that, when farmers and graziers along its route were short of water, all they had to do was drill a hole in it and, presumably, attach a hose.
The Dungog Historical Museum is located at 105 Dowling St, Dungog. Open Wednesdays 10am to 12.30pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm. For more details visit https://www.facebook.com/dungogmuseum/
This article and image first appeared in the editorial of the July 2012 issue of our newsletter, Artsbark.