10 Mar Here in History by Better Laver
In 1897 and again in 1913, Boyne and Calliope Rivers had been
considered by council as a source of Gladstone’s water, but nothing had
become of this. Tondoon Dam had been the site of Gladstone’s water
supply since 1914. Better water supply was discussed in 1939 but with
the war years being thrust upon the community it again fell on deaf ears.
It wasn’t until 1941 that the Boyne River was gazetted to arrange for a
scheme. By the end of 1941 Gladstone had a water crisis on its hands
when the town water was declared unfit for human consumption. Council
was obliged to borrow pumps to pump water from Police Creek into
storage tanks. With the war emergency requirements needing their full
attention, the water problem was again put off. The council was finally
convinced to draw their water from the Boyne River and the funds for the
Boyne Water Scheme were granted in 1943. Some land was resumed
along the Boyne River in 1944 for a water treatment works, pump houses,
living quarters and a reservoir on the top of Golegumma Hill. There was
no storage dam on this system, and it only involved the building of a
causeway at the crossing in the river on Pike’s property. The name of this
venture was Pike’s Crossing Causeway. The main achievement was the
piping of water from this station to the reservoirs in Gladstone. Although
most of the work was completed by 1945, the council was still having
trouble waiting for pipes to be delivered.
Ironically, a flood in the Boyne River in 1947 damaged the pumping
plant so it was out of action again. This water system provided
satisfactory water to Gladstone until the 1960’s when the boom in the
harbour town put further demands on the council. In 1966 the first stage
of the Awoonga Dam was established and in 1970 a second stage
became a reality.
By Betty Laver
Photo from Alan Williamson – Water supply tank at Boyne River.