Bluestone Reservoir Complex

Brookfield Road, Timaru

  • Bluestone Reservoir Complex.
    Copyright: Bruce Comfort. Taken By: Bruce Comfort.
  • Bluestone Reservoir Complex. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection.
  • Bluestone Reservoir Complex. Image courtesy of Google Earth 2012.
    Copyright: Google Earth. Date: 18/12/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7266 Date Entered 25th August 1995

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Timaru District

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

lots 3 & 4 DP 23185 part rural sec 6859, 8258, & 9076 Blk X Arowhenua SD

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of

registration.

Social/Historical:

The Timaru reservoir is a relatively intact example of a late Victorian town reservoir system.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of

registration.

Aesthetic:

The [1870s] reservoir has the appearance of both massive size and quality masonry construction. The regular courses of basalt blocks are remarkably true.

Architectural:

In terms of design, the Timaru reservoir exemplifies the quality of civil engineering in colonial times where major projects such as this were constructed without the benefit of modern technology.

Archaeological:

As the reservoir was built in [1874-5] it has archaeological significance.

Technological:

This reservoir is an example of 19th century methods for constructing a town water supply including stone walled reservoirs, [open water races], and cast iron filtration equipment.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of

registration.

The following comments are made in relation to the criteria identified under S.23(2) of the Historic Places Act 1993.

a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

The provision of a reliable water supply was important to the development of colonial New Zealand towns. This was especially so on the eastern seaboard of the South Island where seasonal droughts restricted water supplies and increased fire dangers in towns and cities such as Oamaru, Timaru, Ashburton and Christchurch.

b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

The provision of safe, reliable supplies of water was crucial to the development of colonial New Zealand towns. An 1864 Dunedin Sanitation Commission pointed out that "the absence of any reliable supply of pure water led 'frequently to the use of polluted streams and wells' causing scarlet fever, typhoid, diphtheria, infantile dysentery, and diarrhoea." (Olssen, 1984:82) Timaru was not as crowded as Dunedin, but the same concerns probably would have prevailed.

c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history:

The reservoir demonstrates how such dams were constructed and the storage capacity needs of the people at the time.

g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

The Timaru reservoir consists of two structures, being the bluestone walled [1874-5] reservoir and the [1910-12] reservoir which is constructed of concrete. Also included in the area are the brick walls, water races and screens houses.

The reservoir complex is noted particularly for its rectangular and polygonal plan, and the method of construction involving 50% excavation and 50% earth embankment with dry stone walling using local stone in the case of the 1874 reservoir. The stone was well dressed, squared [and carefully fitted]. The construction of the reservoir appears to be of a very high quality.

Conclusion:

The Bluestone Reservoir, Timaru, is recommended for registration as a Category II as a place of historical and cultural heritage significance and value. The provision of a town water supply in colonial days was an important industrial undertaking for towns such as Timaru. [The] reservoir therefore has historical and technological significance. The [1870s] structure, in particular, has aesthetic appeal due to the quality of its bluestone walls.

Linksopen/close

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1874 - 1875

Modification
1910 - 1912
Extension of upper walls of original reservoir

Original Construction
1910 - 1912
Construction of second reservoir

Public NZAA Number

J39/52

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Southern region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.