Organisation

AGY-1931 | Sydney City and Suburban Sewage and Health Board

NSW State Archives Collection
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Full description

The Sydney City and Suburban Sewage and Health Board was appointed by the Colonial Secretary on 12 April 1875 to inquire into and report as to the best means of disposing of the sewage of the city of Sydney and it's suburbs, as well as of protecting the health of the inhabitants.(1) On 28 April 1875 additional instructions were issued in response to concern regarding an unusual amount of sickness and an unusual number of deaths over recent months, alleged to have been caused by the unclean state of the city, and by the pollution of the waters of the harbour by sewers and drains. The Board was instructed to advise on immediate and temporary measures to prevent or mitigate this, with consideration of permanent measures by the Government to follow.(2)

When the services of the Board were terminated on 12 May 1877 (3), it had presented twelve detailed progress reports and committee reports to the Legislative Assembly as well as having collected a monumental quantity of evidence on the matters investigated. The Board's activities had included the examination of all aspects of sewage collection and disposal, inquiries into the crowded state of dwellings and areas of the City and suburbs with respect to public health, nuisances in connection with the Glebe Island Abattoirs, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company premises, Shea's Creek, pollution of Port Jackson, investigation of cases of scarlet fever, water in the Botany watershed and Busby's Bore. It was instrumental in the framing of the Water Pollution Prevention Act, 1875 (39 Vic No 7), the Nuisances Prevention Act, 1875 (39 Vic No 14), the Sydney Sewerage Amendment Act, 1876 (40 Vic No 13), the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Act, 1880 (43 Vic No 32), and new regulations for the management of Glebe Island Abattoirs.(4)

The Board laid the foundation for the establishment of the Board of Water Supply and Sewerage (later the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board), and the City of Sydney Improvement Board.(5)

FOOTNOTES
1.Report of the Sydney and Suburban Sewage and Health Board, in Votes and Proceedings 1875, Vol 4, p.331
2.ibid, p.333
3.NSW Government Blue Book 1877, p.42
4.Concise Guide to the State Archives of NSW, Fiche No 21, p.41, from Reports of the Sydney and Suburban Sewage and Health Board, in Votes and Proceedings 1876-77, Vol 3, p.695-788
5.Concise Guide to the State Archives of NSW, Fiche No 21, p.41

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