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Published August 23rd 2016
A near forgotten piece of South Australian history
At a time when water supply in country towns was a huge issue, innovative thinking became the order of the day. And what better innovation than gravity, that age old discovery of Sir Isaac Newton himself. So the people of Kapunda in the 1870's did exactly that with the installation of a reservoir, turncock, pipe and some spillways in order to provide a constant supply of water to their growing town. Today, a modern supply of water supports the town of Kapunda, but thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers, the town's water supply history is remembered at a local place known simply as The Pines.
Taylor's Run Reservoir was built in the late 1870's and supplied water to Kapunda until mains water came online in 1957. The Reservoir is built on the side of the hill and featured a water tower, a turncock house, various workmen's huts, the Waterworks Caretaker's Cottage and a spillway that resembled something similar to Bundaleer Channel.
Overflowing Reservoir and Water Tank - Steve Hudson
For a few years, the large site was barren and devoid of much natural life until the (then) Forestry Board decided that a pine plantation would not only look good, but would provide shelter for the water from wind and evaporation. By the mid 1880's, the land was near covered in pine trees, with lives expected of circa 50 years.
The natural beauty of the site was not lost on the environment and the water workers who looked to create a site of interest for locals. A tennis court, BBQ facilities, toilets and picnic facilities were added, and The Pines Reserve became a destination for many a picnic, town function and wedding, and was enjoyed by locals for many years.
During the 1920's the pine trees had matured, and harvesting commenced. Lifestyles of locals also began to change and The Pines was starting to lose its attraction. By 1931, when all bar two rows of trees were harvested, the grounds were starting to fall into some disrepair, a process that continued in earnest once an alternative supply of water was found.
60 years on, and a group of volunteers have been back out to The Pines Reserve, and have created two short walking trails through the reserve, which is now covered in spectacular gum trees and echidna burrows. The reservoir and water tank are still in place, and the Turncock House has been beautifully restored to what it looked like 100 years ago. The Caretakers Cottage is now a private residence and sits on the side of the hill overlooking the reserve.
The Pines at Kapunda is located about 7km west of Kapunda on the Tarlee Road and alongside SA's iconic Mawson Trail. Facilities are limited on site to a few picnic tables, and a number of log chairs spread throughout the length of the 2km walks. Echidna burrows are plentiful throughout the walking trail, so be careful where you step.
Well Steve,this article and photos are top notch.Was aware of the name,but nothing much else.Never found the time to visit,although have been to Kapunda numerous times.Turncock house is a little gem and the surroundings are beautiful.Next time I am up that way,must include it on my lsit of places to visit.