No. 4 flume, one of five that are in place between the Goulburn Weir and Murchison along the Stuart Murray Canal (SMC), has been exposed from its normal under-water location when the canal was drained to facilitate maintenance works by Goulburn Murray Water (GMW). A flume is similar to an aqua-duct or bridge over a drainage depression or creek as part of the canal, carrying water across that natural waterway.
Jarrod O’Brien, Project Office from GMW, supplied some historical detail. “The timber flume was constructed around 1890 and was operational for around 25 years. The existing pipe (subway) structure comprises of approximately 140m of 900mm diameter cast in situ reinforced concrete pipe, which was originally constructed in 1915. This section was built so as to facilitate the decommissioning of an existing timber flume, which until then had been used to carry flows in the canal over a sizeable natural drainage depression. To remedy erosion damage surrounding the downstream headwall, another 25m of 900mm diameter rubber ring jointed (RRJ), reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) was added in the mid 1980’s.
Over the last 35 years, the concrete in the subway has become increasingly degraded. Structural cracks have resulted in leaks, and the integrity of the concrete after a century of use has been questionable for some time. The replacement works currently underway today are being completed to address these issues.”
It may be a very long time before No. 4 flume is again exposed and so fully visible.
Murchison is the site of the first public funded irrigation system in Victoria and the original pump site is still in existence beside the Goulburn River. Further historical detail and photos of the flume in the SMC are a great addition to our irrigation story which is a significant part of Murchison’s varied history.