Thursday 22 March 2018

Photographing Sydney’s Water History – Talk by Jeanette Komli and Phil Bennett

This presentation will illustrate what is held in the Sydney Water / WaterNSW Historical Research Archive collection and will highlight how it tells the story of Sydney’s water supply from the Upper Nepean Scheme to Warragamba Dam. The basis of this collection is the many photographs taken by the Water Board’s Photography Section from 1893 until 1991. These photographs mainly document the construction of the many Sydney Water and WaterNSW assets but they also capture much of Sydney Water’s social history, the evolution of health and safety management, the emergence of new technologies and the constant water saving messaging.

Against most modern trends, this collection has survived intact and it is now one of the last remaining that is still held and managed by a large utility in NSW.

Jeanette Komli, Archivist of this significant collection since 2014. She was previously Sydney Water’s Librarian and her background includes corporate, government and educational libraries.

Phil Bennett, Sydney Water’s in-house heritage adviser who has helped rehouse the collection in the former Ryde Boiler House. Phil specialises in built and industrial heritage and his background includes working for the West Australian National Trust on the conservation of the Mundaring to Kalgoorlie water supply scheme.

Venue: History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Time: 5.30 for 6 pm
Cost: includes light refreshments on arrival; RAHS and ASHET members $10, others $12
Bookings: phone RAHS on (02) 9247 8001 or email

Photo: the opening of Ryde Water Pumping Station No2. Negative A1163 courtesy Sydney Water / WaterNSW Historical Research Archive.

Sydney's water history