Canning Stock Route Well 18 refurbishment

Submitted: Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 09:47
ThreadID: 132532 Views:3159 Replies:12 FollowUps:15
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I’m just back from the refurbishment of Canning Stock Route Well 18. All work is now complete and the well is delivering excellent water.

There were 22 Track Care WA members present and some 19 Traditional Owners who were returning to country and were also carrying out a systematic pattern of controlled burns in an effort to reduce the potentially serious impact of potential wild fires over the summer months.

The logistics of such a refurbishment project are enormous and the work was carried out over three days without a hitch.

On behalf of all CSR travellers well done TCWA.

For more info https://www.facebook.com/groups/canningstockroute/


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Reply By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 10:12

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 10:12
G'day Phil, Mark told us about the trip at last night's meeting, good results we heard and including your unscheduled little trip.

Sounded like the excavator really helped and saved a lot of time and manual labour.

cheers

Dunc
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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 15:54

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 15:54
Hi Dunc,
Everything went okay.

The digger was brilliant without it we would have taken about two more days to complete the refurb work and there would have been more grunt and more risk of injury.

Ellenby Tree Farms - thankyou so much for loaning your digger and driver.
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 10:15

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 10:15
Phil,

To you and all involved...well done....Sorry no pun intended.

The wife and I and a good mate and his wife travelled the CSR north to south about 20 years ago.
A couple of the wells had some refurbishment done but waaaay too long ago for me to remember which ones.
Must see if we can dig out the video and stills the wife took on the trip one day.

Unfortunately cancer claimed my mate a couple of years ago.

Cheers
Pop
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Reply By: Rainman WA - Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 11:19

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 11:19
Looks a little different to the well 18 I remember
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Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 12:16

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 12:16
Thanks Rainman.
Was trying to remember what it was like. Would have to trawl through too many photos!
Cheers
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Reply By: Hoyks - Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 13:57

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 13:57
Outstanding effort those to all those involved.
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Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 14:19

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 14:19
Well done! - and thanks to all involved, in the obviously substantial effort.

Phil, those new well walls made of plastic look good, and are obviously more durable than the original wooden ones.

I wasn't even aware that this style of plastic sleeper was available. I must get out more!

Are the jarrah top sleepers treated at all? I'm surprised that jarrah was chosen, knowing its cost, and due to its durability in the North being short.

Have any tests been carried out to determine the output of the well?
No doubt some of the wells along the CSR have a lot less reserve in the aquifer than others.

My Dad was a water-boring contractor for the W.A. Boring Co from 1934 to 1937 from the Upper and Eastern Murchison region, down to the Northern section of the W.A. wheatbelt.
He never sank wells - that in itself is a real art and a craft. He merely sank bores with an old Southern Cross cable-percussion rig, and installed windmills and tanks.

He often spoke of the huge variety in the water quality he encountered in the new bores.
One time, he sank a bore and all 3 blokes in the camp sampled the water.

It tasted of reasonably satisfactory quality, if highly mineralised - but when they all woke up the following morning, all the blokes were blind! - their eyelids were glued shut by some chemical/mineral in the bore water!

He said it was truly frightening, they couldn't get their eyelids unglued, it was too painful to attempt it.
He said it was 3 days before they recovered fully from the frightening experience - and they never did find out what it was in the water that had such a terrible effect!

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 16:17

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 16:17
Hi Ron
I had not seen plastic sleepers before this job either - yes they are more durable than wood termite wise.

When approval was sought from Traditional Owners to refurb the well - approval was given as long as plastic wasn't used for well decking. So timber it was. Not sure why jarrah in particular.

When W18 was refurbished by Canning in 1931 he recorded the water was excellent, the well being 16 feet deep, with 1,275 gallons storage and a supply of 48,000 gallons per day - so it was a good well for the drovers.

Before digging this well Canning's men sank a bore at this site to prove there was water and of good quality. They had put one down NE and only some 2.5 miles away and it was salt.

Eyes glued shut - what a scary result - glad they recovered.

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 17:07

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 17:07
Interesting. I'm surprised that Jarrah was chosen, Wandoo would have been a better choice for long-term durability.

48,000 gallons is 218,208 litres a day! 9000 litres an hour! That's a darn good supply of water and shows a sizeable aquifer.

It would be rather unusual for a bore to produce salt water in that region. It's common closer to the coast and in the wheatbelt, which is notorious for salt water in every second bore.

Dad always said there was oceans of water in the interior, and a lot at shallow depths.
However, he found that heavy mineralisation was much more common than salt in the bores he sunk.

I'm not sure how many bores he had to abandon, but I don't think it was too many.
He was very good at finding water in new country and often advised numerous people where they could find good water on their properties.

He ranged well out past Lake Nabberu, which he said was a beautiful, large, deep lake in the mid-1930's. I think the big cyclonic rains of March 1934 through the Murchison might have filled it.

He said he watched amazed at a billabong somewhere around Doolgunna, as the tribal Aboriginals made a raft out of paperbark, put a piccaninny on the raft, and then pushed the raft out onto the lake - at the same time as they spread out abreast in a line behind the raft, beating and slapping the water.

As they slapped the water, fish jumped out of the lake by the dozen - and the picanninnys job was to grab or smack the fish down, so they landed on the raft!

Dad said within a short time, the raft had a sizeable catch on board, and the Abo's retired to a good fish feed!

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 13:51

Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 13:51
Actually not too surprised. Well 18 isn't that far from Lake Dissapointment and the Savoury Creek basin.
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 23:36

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 23:36
Well done & thanks for posting of this important activity. Can I please encourage you to check that the update & photos are added to Places if not already. Thanks
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Reply By: Member - Talawana - Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 23:46

Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 23:46
Thank you Phil and Team I have loved following your posts on Facebook.
It looks fantastic and thank you again for your dedication in keeping our history alive.
Cheers
Talawana
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Friday, May 27, 2016 at 19:35

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 19:35
how do we find the facebook page please?
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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Friday, May 27, 2016 at 19:41

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 19:41
For the CSR facebook page go to Here
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, May 27, 2016 at 07:51

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 07:51
Well done Phil and team, it is a credit to you.



Cheers



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Reply By: Member - Ups and Downs - Friday, May 27, 2016 at 08:47

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 08:47
Phil,

What was done with the original timber?

Paul
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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Friday, May 27, 2016 at 09:35

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 09:35
Hi Paul
All timber was termite damaged, some fell apart as we tried to remove it. That closer to the water fared better termite wise but was still damaged.

It was burned as firewood or taken right away from the well so as not to provide 'termite tucker'.

What I did notice was that most of the old sleepers were jarrah a few were heavy as and probably wandoo - made no difference to the termites though just a variation in diet to them.

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Follow Up By: Member - Ups and Downs - Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 08:07

Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 08:07
Thanks Phil,

A pity about the deterioration. They could have been made into nice mementos.
Good job though, and very satisfying I'm sure.

Paul
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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 08:15

Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 08:15
Agreed they were just too far gone - some were only the outer surface giving the appearance of a good sleeper - but inside almost nothing.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, May 27, 2016 at 09:04

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 09:04
Have been following your posts on Facebook, Phil. Good job by all, especially Mr X. Cavator!

Read where this well is only 16' deep? Did you line it with new sleepers right to the water line? At that depth, would have been one of Canning's easier tasks.

Planning a N-S trip in late July/August, hope we get down that far.

Thanks to all at Trackcare,
Bob

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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Friday, May 27, 2016 at 19:47

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 19:47
We relined to all but one layer of the previous timbers. If we had gone one more we would have had a lower well surround increasing risk of inundation should very heavy rains fall.

Fortunately that row of sleepers was in excellent condition becasue it was below the water line.

below the sleepers it was sold calcrete and very very hard - Cannings men with their simple tools would have had a devil of a time getting thru it. They did had explosives - I'm not sure if they were used here

.


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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 02:59

Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 02:59
You left the last row of sleepers, was that because you didn't have enough new ones to replace that layer?

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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 11:39

Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 11:39
Great work and congratulations to al involved. I was fortunate to spend some time last year with the WA Track Care people, a great bunch and can't wait to be back over in the west in the not too distant future.

I think I need to retire from work, too much fun happening elsewhere!

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 09:22

Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 09:22
Hi Phil, why CSR Well 18 when there are others nearby in far worse condition? Pix in Places of CSR Well 16 or CSR Well 19 show the result of years of neglect. You had the excavator which would have been ideal to fix them up. Well 18 had a few more years in it as it was only refurbished in 1999. Though the termites had certainly taken their toll. Hope the frogs will return.
How was the desert flora? It was beautiful for us on our 2013 trip due to a cyclone which had dumped plenty of rain in March that year. Cheers, Warrie
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Follow Up By: Gaynor - Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 02:13

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 02:13
I echo your sentiments Warrie. I am really happy that Well 18 has been restored just not sure why others are ignored into oblivion whilst wells like Well 12 are restored regularly despite having good access to water. Some gaps between water are almost 200km.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 16:58

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 16:58
Suspect there's a number of reasons.....

Firstly, some of the wells were barely adequate water quality in the first place and aren't suitable for restoration

Secondly, there is a heritage / historical concern for retaining some of the wells 'as is' for posterity. It was never the intention to restore or replace all of them
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Follow Up By: Gaynor - Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 17:55

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 17:55
Can't agree with your assumptions Scott :-)

Restored Well 3 has got the worst quality water of all the restorations, but that one is maintained. Even I won't drink from it if the creek has water as an alternative.

Well 36 I drink from often without treating. It has fantastic water, near the surface, but is not restored. I don't understand this one at all. Soon it will cave in and that good water source will be lost.

Well 27 is now lost. In 2013 it had water. In 2015 it was partly filled in and dry, like so many of the northern wells.

Well 42 has fantastic water one foot from the surface. The whip pole has now collapsed and there is almost nothing left to reflect history.

Well 30 has great water 3m from the surface. But has been left to fill in, with only a few scatted bits of metal to remember its history by.

Well 16 has great water that just needs to be drawn more often to clear the stale smell. But the sides of that well are so unstable that drawing water from it is dangerous. Very soon that water source will be gone too.

All of Canning's wells had water. The problem was they could not be relied on to supply enough for 800 cattle. Tourists will have just plenty.

I asked Phil once why more southern wells were restored leaving such big gaps of neglect in the north and he said (if I remember correctly) that it was logistical. The further away from Perth the more costly, timely and whatever else.
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