Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer

4

The Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission of NSW... [Lawson Siphons]

2006.0027.0011

The Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission of NSW... [Lawson Siphons]

Object information

Description

The Siphons were built between 1939 and 1955 and they were one of the facilities operated by the government-owned NSW Murray Irrigation Area and Districts until 1995, when the organisation was privatised and ownership passed to Murray Irrigation Limited.

Physical description

Rectangular metal sign with a coloured illustration of the Mulwala [irrigation] Canal passing over an 'Escape Structure' and into the 'Edward River Siphon Inlet Structure'. The canal then passes into pipes under the Edward River and Aljoe's Creek, as indicated by dotted lines. "THE / WATER CONSERVATION AND IRRIGATION COMMISSION / OF N.S.W", is printed in black below the illustration. There are headings, in red, to details about the canal, but the headings are barely visible because they have faded. In order from top to bottom, they are; "PURPOSE OF WORKS"; "DETAILS OF WORKS"; "EDWARD SIPHON"; "ALJOE'S SIPHON"; "Specifications"; and "Escape". The paint is chipped and faded.

Statement of significance

The Irrigation (Deniliquin and Tatura) Collection consists of a range of objects relating to the practice of irrigation in the areas of Deniliquin (NSW) and Tatura (Vic).

Australia is the driest inhabited continent. In the face of this environment, Australia has developed agricultural production through utilising limited water resources via irrigation and other schemes. Irrigation accounts for 25-30 per cent of Australia's gross value of agricultural output. The collection objects are all from the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), and the MDB accounts for 71.1 per cent of Australia's irrigated crops and pastures. About 74 per cent of all water used in Australia is for irrigation. The collection illustrates a number of significant aspects of the irrigation industry and the distribution and use of water in irrigation areas. It also reflects changes that have occurred and are continuing to occur in an industry which represents a major slice of Australian agriculture and food production. Some of the processes and activities represented by the objects are now redundant or obsolete, and the objects help to capture a significant time period in Australia's irrigation history which has now passed. Water is one of the biggest issues facing Australia, and problems like salinity (which irrigation has in part contributed to) are major concerns. How to sustain agricultural production based on irrigation is a challenge for Australians.

Object information

Back to top