Built by the Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) between 1893 and 1897, the Spotswood Pumping Station was a key part of Melbourne’s first centralised sewerage system.
Melbourne’s first centralised sewerage system
The purpose of the Pumping Station was to raise raw sewage collected through a network of underground sewers from the Melbourne CBD and surrounding inner suburbs and pump it up to the start of the Main Outfall Sewer at Brooklyn, from where it flowed under gravity to the Western Treatment Plant at Werribee.
History of the Pumping Station
Construction of the Pumping Station began in March 1894 with the excavation of a large 25 metre deep hole, much of which was blasted out of solid basalt. The twelve oval-shaped pump wells were formed from unreinforced concrete thick enough to carry the weight of the buildings and heavy machinery. The original equipment consisted of four large pumping engines powered by steam from coal-fired boilers.
By 1914, ten steam engines were in operation at Spotswood. The first electric powered pumps were installed in 1921, and by 1925 most of the daily flows were pumped by electricity. The rapid growth of Melbourne after the Second World War meant that by the 1960s, the Spotswood Pumping Station’s capacity had been exceeded. Corrosion of the iron and steel rising mains from Spotswood to the outfall sewer led to a decision to build a new pumping station at Brooklyn.
End of an era
The Spotswood Pumping Station ceased operation in September 1965 replaced by the Brooklyn Pumping Station located at Millers Road, Brooklyn.
Source: Melbourne Sewerage Heritage Study commissioned by Melbourne Water in 2012 and authored by Gary Vines, Biosis.