Historical information

This program belonged to Dr James Kerr.
Conceived by Engineer-in-Chief C.Y. O’Connor and completed in 1903, the Coolgardie Goldfields Water Supply Scheme comprised a reservoir on the Helena River, eight steam-driven pumping stations and 566 kilometres of steel pipeline supplying 23,000 kilolitres of water daily to the arid goldfields of Western Australia.
The project was officially opened by Sir John and Lady Forrest in January 1903.
"Great pomp and ceremony heralded the arrival of water and the opening of the Scheme. Clean, fresh water could now be easily obtained in some of Australia's harshest country. However, this victory came at a great cost. The stress of the bold project was too much for O’Connor, who, after enduring endless criticism, took his life on 10 March 1902, before the Scheme was completed." - Western Australian Museum



The Coolgardie Goldfields Water Supply Scheme was an ambitious engineering feat because at the time water had never been lifted so high nor pumped so far (about 560 km). The Scheme, which pumps water from the better-watered coastal area, operates to this day. This item is associated with an historic event in the history of opening up arid areas of Australia to settlement.
The item is associated with Dr James Kerr, the first doctor to settle in Orbost.

Physical description

A souvenir program from the opening of the works of the Coolgardie Water Supply. It has a maroon cover with gold print. Details include the date and place.