Annandale NSW Australia -33.8814; 151.1707

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White's Creek Johnston's Creek Federal Park Wetlands Whites Creek Wetlands Rozelle Bay Harbour Park Bays Precinct Annandale Water Cycle World Wetlands Day Water Efficient Gardening

Water Cycle in Annandale

Annandale is an old part of Sydney, though it was developed relatively late. After the timber and clay was exhausted, the land was farmed for about 60 years before it was subdivided for residential development.

"The Whites Creek Johnstons Creek Sewer Aqueduct built in 1895 was the first reinforced concrete structure to be built in Australia" - A brief History of Concrete in Australia (PDF)

"from the under secretary for works stating that the minister for works intended to proceed with the construction of the storm water channels immediately and that he proposed deputation on the subject was altogether unnecessary...Minutes Annandale Borough, December 10th 1894

Water arrives in Annandale as Rainfall, Runoff (from neighbouring suburbs) and through the Water Supply.

Water flows out of Annandale via the Sewage system to a treatment plant. Rain water drains into the harbour via storm water drains and Johnston and Whites creeks.

As an inner city suburb - most of Annandale is covered by non-porous surfaces - bitumen roads, building and paving. This means that instead of being absorbed, into the soil, and made available to plants, in gardens, it runs off into the Johnston Creek and Whites Creek.

Kerb Blister with water channelWater Sensitive Design in Annandale Streets.

Water sensitive structures were installed in Taylor Street South in 2012. The swales trap water, allowing it time to soak into the ground and plants are now thriving in the Street.

In late 2013, modified kerb blisters were installed at the intersection of Piper and Annandale Streets. These kerb blisters were modified to trap water running along the gutter. Sedges and Dianellas were planted in the blisters.

More about Street Plants at Vegetation on Streets, Traffic Islands and Curb Blisters.


Along its way to the creeks, the water collects surface pollutants from the pavements, roads, parks and gardens. The Federal Park and Whites Creek wetlands have been constructed to filter out some of the nutrients and debris, before the water enters the harbour.

Pollutants that are picked up along the way often include:

Federal Park Wetlands with Viaduct in background

Federal Park Wetlands, December 2008

Source: Water Quality (LMC)

In dry weather, overflows of sewage can occur for many reasons. For instance, when there is a blockage in a sewerage pipe caused by tree roots or other material, or if a pump fails at a pumping station. At treatment plants, bypasses may result from a power failure.

In wet weather, stormwater flows into the sewerage system and may exceed the system's capacity and result in overflows from our pipe network and/or the diversion (bypassing) of one or more process units at the treatment plant. These events are recognised within the Environment Protection Licences set by Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW). - Sewage overflows (Sydney Water)

Why do we need Soft (Permeable or Porous) surfaces in Annandale?

Some Rain and Runnoff may be absorbed into the ground, this is augmented by people watering their gardens. Water that has seeped into the ground is then transpired by trees and other plants. Some of the water is filtered through the soil and eventually ends up in Whites Creek, Johnstons Creek, and the Harbour. Water also evaporates from hard and soft surfaces.

Just as drinking water can be filtered to remove impurities, the soil particles filters rainwater percolating through soil on its way to surface waters and to groundwater aquifers - permeable pavement( )

Without Soft (porous/permeable) surfaces, water cannot enter the ground. This means the water level drops and it takes a lot of hand watering to improve the water level. Clay soils are common in Annandale. When clay dries out and shrinks, it can cause cracks in buildings. Engineering solutions include, rehydrating the soil.

Cracking in buildings is common in NSW and particularly in the Strathfield Municipality. Most of Strathfield Municipality is built upon reactive clay soil. During periods of drought, clay soil 'shrinks' when it dries out and buildings supported by these soil types tend to settle unevenly when the shrinkage occurs, leading to cracking in brickwork particularly around window and door openings. However, after periods of rain, dry clay soil can 'swell'. Swelling of soil can also cause cracking and lifting or heaving of buildings. The 'shrink' and 'swell' cycles can also cause cracks to open and close without significant extra damage. - Strathfield Council

In cities and suburban areas, millions of square feet of concrete, asphalt, roofs, and other impermeable surfaces create enormous quantities of runoff which can overwhelm natural drainages, over saturate the areas where water does collect, and divert water away from groundwater reservoirs. - Sustainability Indicators - Permeable Surfaces (City of Minneapolis)

Flooding on 14 June 2007

Collins and Trafalgar Streets intersection after heavy rain on 14th June 2007.

How Permeable Surfaces work

The plinth will be a low (190mm) rectangular shaped platform encompassing the space originally planted with turf. The new paving on the plinth will be permeable to allow air and moisture to the trees, whilst creating a durable, flexible and low maintenance platform which will ensure the future health of the trees while allowing easy access through the central courtyard. The paving will be a grey "ecolock" type paving, which was used for the forecourt of the Homebush Olympic stadium. - Macquarie University Central Courtyard Upgrade Project

[Leichhardt Municipal] Council is committed to improving stormwater management in the Municipality to keep our waterways clean and maintain a healthy environment. The objective of Council's Stormwater Management Strategy is to ensure that stormwater is managed in a manner that conserves and enhances the ecological, environmental, social and economic values within the storm water catchments. -Drainage Code (LMC)



... one cause was the sewer running between Annandale and tho Glebe emptying itself into the bay between the Glebe and Annandale wharfs, and which to all appearances was never cleaned out
So bad was the Stench that people had refused to patronise the society's excursions starting from the Glebe Point Wharf Correspondence that had passed between Alderman Williamson aud the Health Board on the subject was also read Alderman Williamson had been endeavouring to get the Health Board to take action, and had written several letters pointing out that not only were people compelled to shut their windows, but the men employed on the ferry boats had been made ill through the had odour... The Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday 8 March 1899 Page 5

Connect of Annandale homes to the Sewer

The inspector imported that up to the present there remained 850 houses ia the borough to be connected with the sewerage system. - The Sydney Morning Herald Thursday 30 August 1900 Page 6

"Nov 25th, 1895 ... present the mayor in the chair & the full council. ...from the water supply and sewerage drainage department stating hat they would supply the council with a plan of the sewerage system in Annandale as soon as same was completed..- Annandale Borough Council Minutes

.. the suburban railway, which will be tunnelled under a short distance on the Sydney side of the Stanmore railway station The locality of Percival Road, Annandale Estate will then be traversed, and crossing under the Parramatta road, Albion, Ferns and Mayes streets, the sewer will terminate at Collins street in Annandale. With inlets to this main sewer will be constructed three branches or submains. The routes taken by these are as follows -1 Leaving tho main sewer near the Parramatta-road and running under that thoroughfare to near tho Missendon Road, whence it is deflected towards the Old Parramatta-road, which the sewer follows to its termination near the Orphan School Creek* 2 A sewer discharging into branch no 1, and running along Nelson-street as far as Booth street Leaving the main sewer near the suburban rail- way lino this branch drai - The Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 19 January 1895 Page 5

Booth Street Waterhole

The City Coroner held an inquest at Newtown yesterday on the body of a boy named Denis M'Carthy, who on Sunday last was drowned in waterhole just off Booth-street, Annandale. Deceased was 12 years ...The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 23 December 1890 (Page 3)

Lively proceedings at annandale an excited gathering aldermen. The proceedings of the annandale council last evening were of the liveliest description. The ratepayers overcrowded the chamber, evidently in anticipation that some developments werel likely to ensure respoecting matters that have received anumated attention throughout the borough for several weeks past. Matters looked ominous when Alderman chohen proposed a motion that the amount to the credit of the lighting rate fund be placed to a separate account at the bank, and be operated upon only for lighting purposes. He emphasized th necessity of the objects of the motion, and corss firing was indulged in by several of the aldermen. After further trouble was in store when same aldermen moved.... That in view of the published statements of Alderman Ridge as to Alderman Cohen not being instrumental in securing the filling up of the waterhole off Booth-Street a committee be appointed for the purpose of furnishing a report to this council dealing with Aldeman Cohen's labours in respoect of the said waterhole." The Mayor preemptorily rule the motion out of order...The Mayor practically had no control of the meeting, foer though strongly calling upon the aldermen to maintain the dignity of the council it was all to no purpose. The ratepayers cheered the respective speakers with whom they were in sympathy...The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 16 August 1898 (Page 6)

That in view of the near approach of the summer season and the unsanitary condition of the Borough, the Council wait upon the Government with a view to immediate steps being taken to have the Booth Street Waterhole filled up without further delay. The member for annandale to be asked to arrange the date and time.- Annandale Borough Council Minutes July 20th 1896

Whites Creek aqueduct by Joel TarlingReferences and Further Reading