The Tatura Water Tower is the earliest surviving example of a reinforced concrete tower of its type in Victoria. It was designed by Sir John Monash and built by the Reinforced Concrete and Monier Pipe Construction Co. Pty Ltd.
In May 1911 tenders were called for the design and costing for a concrete standpipe (as constructed previously by Monash at Wunghnu and Katamatite). Two days from the deadline, Monash submitted a design for a reinforced concrete tower and tank; the design yet untested in Australia. Upon receipt of the tender, the chief engineer of the time, A. E. Castles, asked for more detail. However, unwilling to let others in on his ideas, Monash simply replied that the matter was “cumbersome” and went directly to the State Rivers for approval himself. The design was approved and work commenced in early 1912 for the sum of £1,559 (roughly $200,000 in today’s money).
The Tatura Water Tower is 27.7 metres (93 feet) high with a tank capacity of 363,688 litres (80,000 gallons). It originally had an electric light at the top of the gauge board to ascertain the depth of water during the night. Its construction trebled Tatura’s water pressure compared to the original cast iron tower which can be seen, still standing but non-operational, at 5 Kerferd St. This necessitated the laying of larger mains. The tower was formally opened on Wednesday 24 April 1912 by Councillor James W. Wilson and his wife, who had the honour of turning on the water, with a banquet held after in celebration.
Many similar towers were constructed by the Reinforced Concrete and Monier Pipe Construction Co. across Australia. Remaining fully operational, the Tatura Water Tower is of historic, technological, and local significance - a tangible link to the community’s water supply history,
In 2012, a century after its construction we, identified that rendering on the tank had weakened significantly over time. This created hazards for staff and pedestrians and had the potential to impact the long-term supply of safe drinking water to Tatura residents and industries.
Detailed inspections were performed to address the problem and restore the tower to original design integrity. Works were then carried out to maintain water supply, and to conserve an iconic piece of Tatura’s heritage. The restoration was awarded best ‘Conservation of a Heritage Place’ at the Greater Shepparton City Council Cultural Heritage Awards in 2017.
In 2021, a mural was painted by artist Cam Scale to honour the significant civil contribution of Sir John Monash. It was unveiled on Sunday 27 June 2021 by the Hon. Mark Gepp, Member for Northern Victoria, and Michael Bennett of the Monash family. The mural features a portrait of Sir John Monash, and a waterfall of poppies, recognising the region’s significant Anzac legacy.
The mural project was a long-term vision brought to life by Robert Mathieson of the Tatura RSL, with support from the Tatura Rotary Club, Victorian Government and the local community. It’s hoped the artwork will see the tower included on the Silo Art Trail and boost tourism to region.