Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Tank Stream

The fresh water course which supplied the fledgling colony, emptying into Sydney Cove. It was named for three storage tanks which were constructed in the sandstone beside the stream during a drought in 1790. By 1828 the stream had been polluted to such an extent that it could no longer be used as a source of water and was diverted into a sewer, and by the 1870s it had been completely covered. The Tank Stream still flows in a covered storm water drain.

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The Tank Stream

CC BY-SA 2.0

The Tank Stream, Australia's first water supply, was a series of tanks cut into the sandstone along the sides of a freshwater stream in Sydney Cove. Although abandoned as a water source by 1826, the technology of the Tank Stream and its name were shaped by the experience of British officers in India.