Mandurah has not always had water “on tap”. Early settlers shared a well and carted water for their uses. As the settlement grew and people became more prosperous, they sank their own wells. At first, water would have been drawn by a bucket (probably made from a kerosene tin) on a rope. Some people may have had the money to buy a small hand pump. At the same time, rain water would have been collected, mainly in barrels, from run-offs from shed or house roofs.
By the beginning of WWII, windmills had made an impact. As a child on my first visit to Mandurah, I can remember being fascinated by all the windmills. Houses had overhead tanks to store the water and on a windy day, water was piped into houses. What a boon that must have been for the housewife - no more carting water on washdays!
When we first built our house, in 1959, the first thing was to dig a well – boy what a job that was!! Mandurah is built on limestone and it took some time getting through the stone. At the same time, as soon as the gutters went on the house, a water tank was positioned to collect the rainwater runoff from the roof, for drinking water. Today, nearly 50 years later, the well and rainwater tanks are still in use – the well waters the garden and the rain water makes the perfect morning cup of tea!
Ruth Watson – Volunteer and long term resident.