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Barker, G, F.
A Water Supply Scheme and Politics of the 1830s
Eleventh National Conference on Engineering Heritage: Federation Engineering a Nation; Proceedings
Institution of Engineers, Australia, Barton, Australian Capital Territory, 2001, pp. 19-26

The plan to supply the town of Launceston, in the fledging colony of Van Diemen's Land, with drinking water from the South Esk River near Evandale was a major undertaking with significant engineering challenges and political influences. The project commenced in 1836 and involved the construction of a tunnel and 22 kilometres of open formed canal. A former military engineer supervised the work and convicts were used as the labour force. The project was abandoned in 1837, following a lack of political will to continue to provide funding. However, the scheme is remarkable because of the engineering skills and foresight used to design and construct a project in isolation from England at a time when the study of hydraulics was in its infancy. If completed the scheme would still meet Launceston's water needs as well as servicing a rural region that continues to suffer severe droughts. The issue of political involvement and frustration of engineering projects unfortunately is still present today. The pristine remains of the two tunnels and part of the canal have been uncovered in the last decade and are now being preserved because of the historical aspects and place specific heritage conservation.

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