Artwork Description

Into the head of the cove, on which our establishment is fixed, runs a small stream of fresh water, which serves to divide the adjacent country to a little distance, in the direction of north and south.

– Captain Watkin Tench, of the Marines, January 1788.

Tankstream – Into the head of the cove… marks the course of the Tank Stream, Sydney’s first water supply, with five key sites through the city. The stream commenced in marshes near Pitt Street Mall, extending to Alfred Street and finally flowing into the Harbour at Circular Quay. This artwork celebrates the stream’s importance in the founding of the city and its continued survival under the city streets.

The location of Sydney was chosen by Governor Phillip because of the Tank Stream, and it remained the city’s only water supply until the 1850’s. This work aims to make people aware of the presence and historical importance of the Tank Stream in the development of Sydney.

The artwork is located in five separate sites from Pitt Street Mall to Alfred Street creating a diagram mapping the course of the stream. Set into the pavement, above the existing subterranean stream, are coloured glass modules overlapping and angled away from stainless steel lines. The angles represent the flow of the Tank Stream in relation to the direction of Pitt Street – comparing the natural and man-made conduits of energy in the city. At the final site on Alfred Street the rods splay to represent the delta as the stream flows into Sydney Cove

The movement of the subterranean stream is alluded to by the glass rods which are lit from below. They ripple blue light at night, creating a sense of flow beneath the surface.

The title of the work is taken Watkin Tench’s historical text and the steel rods are etched the longer quotation. Watkin Tench, Captain of the Marines of the First Settlers at Port Jackson, wrote in his diary about the selection of Sydney Cove as the site for the first settlement. He recorded the presence of water at this site, his vision of grandeur of the settlement, the geographical description of the Sydney valley and the rise and flow of the stream

Artist

Lynne Roberts-Goodwin lives and works in Sydney. She studied at the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales, gaining a postgraduate Master of Fine Art Degree from Manchester University, Medlock Fine Arts Centre in 1980. RobertsGoodwin’s photographic work is grounded in a deep concern for nature and humanity.

SYDNEY SCULPTURE WALK PLAQUE

Tankstream – Into the head of the cove… / Lynne Roberts–Goodwin / The Tankstream artwork in five separate locations from Pitt Street Mall to Alfred / Street marks the existence of the historic Tank Stream bubbling below the city / streets. The subterranean movement of a fine stream of fresh spring water is / conveyed through the rippling blue light and accompanying text. / Captain Watkin Tench, Captain of the Marines of the First Settlers at Port Jackson, / wrote in his diary about the selection of Sydney Cove as the site for the first / settlement. He recorded the presence of water at this site, his vision of grandeur of / the settlement, the geographical description of the Sydney valley and the rise and / flow of the stream. / Tankstream celebrates the memory of the original stream which started in marshes / where Pitt Street Mall is now situated, its importance in the founding of the city and / its continued survival under the city streets, finally flowing into the harbour at Circular / Quay. / Installed: June 1999

Inscriptions

‘Into the head of the cove, on which our establishment is fixed, runs a small stream of fresh water, / which serves to divide the adjacent country to a little distance, in the direction of north and south.’ / Captain Watkin Tench, of the Marines, January 1788.

Sydney Sculpture Walk

The Sydney Sculpture Walk was a major City of Sydney initiative for the 2000 Olympics and the 2001 Centenary of Federation, curated by Sally Coucaud.

Ten artworks were commissioned from leading Australian and international artists to form a circuit through the city from the Domain and Royal Botanic Gardens, through East Circular Quay and the city streets to Martin Place.

Each artwork was site-specific, addressing the historical and cultural aspects of its location and contributing to an appreciation and understanding of the city’s environment, history and character.

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