230 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill
Saturday : 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Pre-booked guided tours only

Prior to 1866, Brisbane did not have a reliable and safe water supply. In the convict era, an earth dam was built over Wheat Creek in the area where Roma and Little Roma Streets now run. Here, water was pumped through a series of linked hollow hardwood logs that formed a pipeline. A convict operated treadmill pumped this water to the soldiers’ barracks (situated near the corner of George and Queen Streets) and then on to the commandant’s house on William Street.

By 1859 a large tank had been constructed beside the dam, on what is now known appropriately as Tank Street. This was the only public source of water for the town and was often contaminated and unsafe. The inadequate supply system was remedied in 1866 with the construction of Queensland’s first major dam at Enoggera. This dam was the first reticulated gravity water supply system in the state. However, this system did not allow for the higher areas, like Wickham Terrace and Spring Hill, to be supplied.

In 1871, in an effort to improve the supply of water to the city, the first service reservoir was built on Spring Hill, with the water coming from the Enoggera Dam. The reservoir was filled for 10 hours every night to allow it to be able to supply water to the city during the following day. Within a few years, the small service reservoir was no longer capable of meeting the demand for water, and a second, larger reservoir was built in 1882.

In 1904-05 a series of timber roof structures were added to the reservoirs in an attempt to ensure the water supply was clean and algae free. The reservoirs continued to provide water supply to the Brisbane area well into the 1960s.

Tour Information

Frequency of Guided Tours: 8x Pre-booked 60 minute guided tours of Spring Hill historical precinct, including access to sections of Spring Hill Reservoirs and Windmill. Access to Reservoirs and Windmill involves some stairs. No wheelchair access. Some stairs and slopes during tour. Wear enclosed, comfortable walking shoes, wear sun protection and bring a water bottle.

Tour Tips

Register at the building on arrival, Wear enclosed, comfortable walking shoes, wear sun protection and bring a water bottle. Some stairs and slopes through tour. Plenty of time for rests between walking sections. Access to Windmill and Reservoirs not suitable for wheelchairs.

Dress Requirements

Enclosed shoes

Wheelchair access


Is Heritage listed


Builder - Henry Holmes
1871 and 1882