Town history unearthed

AN intriguing insight into the very early days of Kerang was unearthed during work on the Victoria Street shopping centre redevelopment. 

Plumber Mick Hastie was preparing to install a new water main along the western side of the street when he literally dug up a piece of the town's history.

Plumber Mick Hastie was preparing to install a new water main along the western side of the street when he literally dug up a piece of the town's history.

Plumber Mick Hastie was preparing to install a new water main along the western side of the street when he literally dug up a piece of the town's history. 

He had come across the town's very first system of water pipes, which would have been supplied by the former water tower adjacent to the library. 

The pipes are of a fascinating design, constructed of tongue-and-groove lining boards crafted into a cylindrical shape, wound with wire and coated with bitumen to make them waterproof. 

Mr Hastie said he believed the pipes would have functioned exceptionally well, being subject only to pressure created by the elevation of the water tower. 

"We do find them from time to time around the town but we didn't know we would find one in this location," he said.

"As a plumber it's very interesting to come across this kind of thing." 

Mr Hastie said the Kerang Museum kept a section of pipe in its collection, although many of the better preserved pipes have been re-purposed long ago. 

"In the old days they used to take the timber out and make walls for the sheds; my uncle has a shed wall made out of them," he said. 

"The PVC water main we've installed is the fifth water main on this side of the street, including timber, concrete, cast iron and fibro."

Local historian Julie Smith said the pipes could be more than 150 years old, dating back to the very beginnings of Kerang. 

Mrs Smith recalled the late Ollie Jane telling her that when it became obvious the town would expand beyond Patchell's store and hotel, the authorities laid down a system of wooden box stormwater drains over the area they estimated the town would cover. 

"At the same time as doing this, they removed a huge amount of soil from behind the hospital where the quarry is now and carried it down to build the area up on which the township was to be built," she said. 

"It's so important that we don't forget about the way they did things, because they were so clever and used so much initiative."

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop