Point Peron K Battery
Well / Artesian Bore
An artesian well brings groundwater to the surface without any pumping mechanism, due to the pressure it is under within a body of rock or sediment, which is called an aquifer. The difference between artesian groundwater and other types of groundwater lies in how it gets to the surface.
The Artesian Bore appeared to be a key asset when the land was transferred amongst other assets to the Department of Social Services on February 7, 1946. Due to the Navy or Army no longer having any foreseeable requirement for the bore's retention, reinstating it was seen as a responsibility that lay with the Department of Social Services, the State Minister for Education and the National Fitness Council.
The flow of water in the bore was believed to have ceased due to a collapse of the bore casing, with the only option to restoring the water supply was by putting down a second bore alongside the existing one. If the Army were to require use of the bore at a later date, then the water supply would be readily established or rectified, particularly as the water was available at a very shallow depth.
The Army Camp was transferred without financial adjustment to the Department of Social Services but they didn't end up using it, as they'd found an alternative location elsewhere. The site was then leased to the State Minister for Education (John Tonkin) to use as a camp for the National Fitness Council for a period of 21 years at a rental cost of £1 per year. Today this would be the equivalent of approximately $3,508 per year.
The federal government passed the National Fitness Act 1941 "to improve the fitness of the youth of Australia and better prepare them for roles in the armed services and industry." This led to the creation of state-based national fitness councils, specifically focusing on children and youth by providing playgrounds, youth clubs, school camps, as well as developing physical education in schools.
Although the bore was located on leased land, it wasn't transferred to the state in the Sales Advice Note, particularly as it was used for the purposes of the War for Defence. Hence why it appears the military services were negating any form of responsibility.
When Engineers from the State Water Supply Department attended the artesian bore to establish the cause of the flow's stoppage, it was at this stage they'd come to the conclusion that the issue was likely a result in the breakdown of the casement or from the accumulation of gravel and sand. To further test the bore, they would require transporting considerable equipment at a fairly heavy expenditure, something no one was really keen to take financial responsibility for. It was argued the bore was on Commonwealth property, hence the responsibility lied with them. The State Department refused to assist any further and if Commonwealth assistance wasn't made available, it was suggested that perhaps the bore could be handed over to the State Water Supply Department.
Documents available from the National Archives of Australia end there, with the resulting conclusion unknown.
01 - October 2022