Busby’s Bore Commemorative Cairn

Did you know that there’s a tunnel that runs under the city from Centennial Park all the way to the CBD?

Our last post was on Lachlan Swamp on which Centennial Park was built and which provided Sydney much of its fresh water between 1837 and 1859. As part of John Busby’s proposal for Lachlan Swamp to be used as a water source in 1824, he suggested water could be transported via an underground tunnel.

The tunnel commenced construction in 1827 under Busby’s direction. The majority of the tunnel had to be calved through solid rock. Given most of the work was carried out by largely unskilled convict labour it took a lot longer than expected. It’s also reported that Busby’s reluctance to personally enter the tunnel also contributed to the delays (he sounds like he was a bit of a snob!). Finally, after 10 years, Busby’s Bore was completed at a length of 3.6kms and a width of 1.2 to 1.8 metres wide.

This photo shows the Busby’s Bore Commemorative Cairn and marks the location of the bore. It was erected in 1988.

These days the tunnel remains under the control of Sydney Water and as recent as 2004 a proposal was made to reactivate the bore to supply water to Sydney’s parks and gardens.


I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.

“The People’s Park: Centennial Park – A History” book by Paul Ashton, Kate Blackmore and Armanda Scorrano

Busbys Bore Commomorative Cairn

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