Spotswood Pumping Station

Architect: Christian Kussmaul 1897

City of Hobsons Bay | H06

Building Description

Discover the smelly side of Melbourne in the beautiful Spotwood pumping station. Built in the 1890’s, this gorgeous old building was the heart of the Melbourne sewage scheme, pumping all of Melbourne’s smelly stuff out to the treatment works in Werribee. This building played a vital role in overcoming this city’s early public health and sanitation problems for almost 70 years until its capacity was exceeded in the 1960’s. Not only does this building boast magnificent French classical revival style architecture, but it was an ambitious exercise in engineering that supplied the force to move millions of gallons of the city’s sewage each day. The original equipment consisted of four large pumping engines powered by steam from coal-fired boilers. By 1914, ten steam engines were in operation at Spotswood before moving to electric powered pumps in the 1920’s. Much of this equipment is still on display inside. The building was also used in a number of films and shows, including the iconic 1979 Mad Max film, and in a music video for Tina Arena. The site is listed on the Victoria Heritage Register.

What's On

Learn about the site history on guided tours, or try our self-guided activity. Pre-book a specialist tour from Senior Curator Matthew Churchward, including a performance by members of the Orbweavers with their song “Spotswood” paying homage to the site. 12.30PM, running for 60 minutes, booking required.


Enter through Scienceworks, 2 Booker Street, Spotswood, 3015, Spotswood VIC

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