Aerial view of Fremantle Harbour,
probably O'Connor's greatest personal triumph
Goldfields Pipeline, perhaps the world's longest water main
Plays & Musicals
This Water's Gold
* Available 2009-2010 *
The story of
achieving the impossible, a pipe-line to send water to the
Premier Sir John
Forrest backed the engineer, Charles OíConnnor, in his
insistence against fierce opposition the pipe could be
First he had to persuade the Premier it was possible.
OíConnor: If water
can be pumped uphill over a short distance, why canít it be
pumped uphill over a
series of distances? In stages from tank
to tank, and station to station. If you walk up a big hill,
you do it in easy stages, so why not the same
principle? Thatís what I will prove to you.
Forrest: You have
persuaded me. But it will be an uphill battle to persuade
many others you have the
expertise to get water running uphill. Given that people
doubt whether I can build a railway uphill to
Coolgardie, what will they say to this? You build the pipe,
Charles, and I will convince the parliament and
the public. Where would the engineer be without the
politician? Or at least an engineer like you who
spends on a grand scale?
(The pipe, which
proved the salvation of the goldfields was built, but the
stress was so great that Charles OíConner himself became a
sacrifice to it in that he committed suicide).