Historical information

This water standpipe is believed to be the only one of its kind in working order. It was originally located in Warrnambool, on the hillside at the corner of Mickle Crescent and Banyan Street, providing water for the Chinese Market Gardens below, on the flats. It was removed from this location on May 2nd, 1979, with the intention to relocate it at the new Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum & Village.

The standpipe lay in storage for years until the Warrnambool Company, Chemblast, offered to restore it for use as a working display. The display was officially opened on March 31, 2014. The water from the adjacent lake is drawn out with a hand operated water pump, and goes up into the standpipe, where flows through the canvas hose and into the top of the Furphy Farm Water Cart. The display is a visual acknowledgement of the years served by Flagstaff Hill volunteer and Friends of Flagstaff Hill Chairperson, Bob Crossman.

Warrnambool’s early settlers had no water supply prior to the mid-1850s. They relied on rain water tanks, domestic wells and springs. The town experienced a huge, destructive fire in William Bateman Jnr. & Co.’s large produce store in November 1856, which highlighted the need for both a fire brigade and a good supply of water. In 1863 a volunteer fire brigade was established. In August 1880 the town celebrated the installation of its first water standpipe on the corner of Liebig and Timor streets. The water was pumped from springs at Cannon Hill through the connected pipeline to the standpipe, then distributed to households via horse and cart. Each of the licenced cart drivers were compelled by Council regulations to keep their carts full from sunset to sunrise, ready to cart water to outbreaks of fire. They received a fee for this service. In 1893 the town installed a water supply, sourced from the Merri River, stored in a reservoir basin and tower in north Liebig Street, and distributed throughout the town in a system of pipes. By late 1939 a reticulated supply was installed, with the water piped in under the Otway Scheme.

Standpipes are still used in modern times in rural and remote areas for homes, farms, stock, agriculture and firefighting. Many commercial or government owned standpipes are metered, charging a fee for the quantities of water supplied.

This water standpipe was made by Langlands Foundry Co. Limited, Melbourne, which was establish in 1842. It was Melbourne’s first foundry and iron shipbuilder, and one of the largest employers in Victoria at the time. Langlands was known for its high quality workmanship and wide range of goods for mining, engineering, marine, railway and other industrial uses. The company made the first cast bell, the first lamp posts in the colony, and the boiler for the first Australian train. In the 1860s it produced cast iron pipes for the Board of Works, which laid the pipes for Melbourne’s first reticulated water supply. The firm was bought by Austral Otis Co. in 1897.


This water standpipe is significant historically as it is believed to be the only one of its type in working condition.
The standpipe is significant for being manufactured by early colonial firm Langlands Foundry of Melbourne, which was known for high quality, cast iron products. The firm made the boiler for the first Australian train, assembled the first Australian paddle steamer and made the first Australian cast bell and lamp posts. Langlands was one of the largest employers in Victoria at the time.
The standpipe is significant historically as it represents the evolution of water supply services in Australia.

Physical description

Standpipe; vertical cast iron water pipe, painted crimson, fixed in position, tapering inward from the round base to the rectangular joint near the finial on top. A hexagonal pipe extends at right angles from the joint, with an outlet fitting and flow-controlling wheel on the end. A length of canvas hose hangs from the outlet fitting. Inscriptions are on one face of the joint. The standpipe was made by Langlands Foundry Company of Melbourne.

Inscriptions & markings