If you’ve ever travelled towards Park Ridge on the Mt Lindsay Highway, chances are you’ve seen the iconic Wineglass Water Tower rising above the houses over Hillcrest.
Built in 1984, the water tower stands over 30m tall, and sports a large bowl that gives the tower its iconic shape.
That bowl weighs 400 tonnes and holds a million litres of water, making it a vital part of Logan West’s water supply.
In 1983, an expanding population called for a new water tower to be built in Logan West, in an area that was then part of Browns Plains.
In fact, the tower predates Hillcrest, which was officially gazetted as a new suburb in 1987.
Tenders for the construction Wineglass Water Tower were put forward in November 1983. The project included a pumping station and truck mains, and cost over $500 000.
Bernard Reiser was the Principal Plumbing Inspector during the construction phase. According to Mr. Reiser, the tower was constructed on site, using a slip-form method.
The stem of the tower was erected by a continuous pouring of concrete over five days. Cement trucks came 24 hours a day to service the pour, which could not be halted due to the risk of cracks forming in the concrete.
Mr. Reiser writes about the construction process that week.
Excerpt from Logan: creating a city 25 years celebration by Mary Howell
We went up to the height of where the bowl joins the stem. There was a block out there of reo and polystyrene to keep the work going because it had to continue like that to the top. When it got to that height I bailed out, because there were only the re bars and polystyrene holding it together. I wasn’t too keen to stay up there! They pre-cast the bowl at the bottom of the tower in one piece and then it was jacked up to where the block out was. Then they took out the polystyrene and welded the re and formed boxing around it and poured that section.
Another Logan City Council Plumber, Peter George, oversaw the construction with Mr. Reiser. He offers his own experience of that week.
It was cold as anything outside, but inside the formwork it was warm because of the heat coming off the concrete as it was curing.
When they were pouring it, all the workers had their gear on the ground. The workers were right up on top. These kids came through and started rifling through all their stuff and by the time they got down off the formwork and got down the ladders, the kids had shot though with all their stuff!
The councillor of the day, Kate Kidston, climbed up the centre and onto the roof to inspect the tower.
In 2003 lights were installed on the tower, the idea of then councillor Lynne Clarke. The tower’s unmistakable glow in the evening skyline has made it an iconic tourist landmark in Logan West.
‘The beauty of it is you could see it from all over. If you saw the lights you knew that you were heading in the right direction,’ says Ms. Clarke.
Ms. Clarke, along with CityWorks director Peter Way, observed the lights on the night they were installed.
‘We went out there and had a look at it and when they finally got it all set up they gave me a choice of three colours, green, red, or blue.’
After testing the colours, Ms. Clarke chose blue as it represented the services of Logan. Later on, different landmarks were lit up in blue, including bridges and golf courses around Logan, all stemming from the blue of the Wineglass Tower.
‘The whole idea for it was to be the backdrop for a very good tourist hub. I thought it was absolutely stunning, and it put Logan West on the map which was something I wanted to do.’
Lighting was operated from Melbourne in the early days, before being handed over to community services.
Ms. Clarke was also responsible for the park below the Wineglass Tower, the start of a project to turn the area into a central hub for Logan West that never eventuated.
There were rumours at the time that a former mine was once situated on the site. Workers digging out the waterfall heard about the mine and searched for rare gems during the digging process, but with no success. These rumours were never confirmed.
While originally completely washed in blue, nowadays the tower changes colour to reflect important awareness weeks, events, and council light-shows.
Water towers such as The Wineglass are used to store water during peak periods, taking the pressure (quite literally) off regular pipe systems and pumping stations.
During peak times such as 6AM when people rise for work, water towers act as a buffer to the pipes and stations that pump water to households and businesses.
The Wineglass Tower is particular important as it services the uneven height of Hillcrest and adjoining suburbs, ensuring water pressure remains consistent throughout.
Credit must go to Lynne Clarke, Mr. Peter George (photos), Mary Howells (excerpts), and Logan Central Library for providing valuable information for this article.