We will do an exploration of the work and projects undertaken by engineer CY O’Connor, principally the impact of his great works following the discovery of new wealth (for some but not all) in the eastern goldfields, and the establishment of the cities of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie, where great hardship affected the early explorers. During this period O’Connor developed a special relationship with Premier John Forrest.
The pipeline is perhaps O’Connor’s flagship project, but he achieved much more for Western Australia in his 10 years in this state. We will also touch on his untimely fate and the frustrations of the Royal Commission into his Goldfields pipeline project.
We will discuss some of the myths surrounding O’Connor, and the enduring legacies left behind by a brilliant but sometimes troubled man.

This is the story of Western Australia’s first golden years of development, and the period when the state came of age in the 1890s and early 1900s.

Bill was born on the pipeline at No 7 Pumping Station, Gilgai, and lived his early life and schooling as a pipeline kid. His father worked his entire life on three of the O’Connor built steam pumping stations, firstly as a fireman, and later a greaser. He retired as a banker in 2002, and amongst other things became a volunteer tour guide with the National Trust, specifically looking after visitors to the Trust’s steam powered No 1 Pumping Station at Mundaring Weir.

(Photo Credit: National Trust WA)


Bill Cutler
12.30pm-2pm           $15 (member) / $20 (non-member)
Friday, 2 Mar

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