Wodonga’s water tower has been the focal point of the town since it was built. It is a meeting place for young and old, and also the landmark for directions to anywhere else in town.
Before the water tower was built the town of Wodonga got its water supplied by the railways, but this was not always reliable, with residents complaining that the water would be turned off several times a day, especially during hotter months, and the quality of the water left a lot to be desired.
In 1899 the Waterworks Trust commissioned a dam on House Creek but within a month of being in operation it was considered a failure, with silt not settling in the ponds and being washed into the outlet pipe.
On February 14th, 1923, a referendum was conducted. Ratepayers were asked to vote Yes or No to a proposed scheme of a water tower, with the water to be pumped from the Murray River. The estimated cost was £17,880, the annual water rates would recoup £1864, so the loan would be wiped out in 55 years. The “Yes” vote was almost unanimous.
The plan was for the water tower to supply the town with 90,000 gallons and the Railway department with 40,000 gallons per day.
December 1924 saw the official opening, with many dignitaries including Mr. Henry Beardmore, M.L.A. who was quoted as saying “For many years it had been the custom for travellers, horse-buyers and others to go to Albury for accommodation rather than stay at Wodonga during the summer months, owing to the water shortage.”
In the early 1940’s it was decided to move the pumping station from the Murray River to Wodonga Creek. The pipes had been running along the bridges, and vibrations had caused leakage along the way. Wodonga Creek pumping would eliminate four bridges and consequent loss of water.
By 1953 water consumption was up to 350,000 gallons per day in winter.
The water tower was decommissioned in 1959 when water started pumping from the new reservoir on Huon Hill which is where the main storage is today.