The Tank Stream Tours: May 2017 ballot

The ballot for the May 2017 tours of The Tank Stream is now closed. The next tours will take place as part of our Sydney Open weekend in November. To receive information about these tours and Sydney Open please subscribe to our monthly eNews

When Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in Sydney he was searching for a place to develop the new colony and chose Circular Quay in part due to the freshwater stream running through it, which had been used by the Gadigal people for thousands of years. The small village of Sydney relied on water from this stream as its main water source for the next 40 years.

By 1826 people had stopped using The Tank Stream as a drinking water source, and over time it had become a sewer that flowed into the harbour. Later it was covered with sandstone blocks and the city built up over and around it. 

This tour, available only twice a year, takes you through 60 metres of this state heritage-listed tunnel built by convicts and stonemasons.

Admission on the tour is by ballot registration only. Winners of the ballot have the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets for their tour.

Gen $35 | Conc/Members $30 | Maximum two tickets per winning entry.

In partnership with Sydney Water.


Yvonne Kaiser-Glass is Sydney Water's archaeologist. She provides strategic advice and assistance on a wide range of Sydney Water projects that involve excavation in areas of Aboriginal cultural heritage sensitivity (known or potential) and/or non-Aboriginal archaeological potential.

Louise Roberts is the Education and Community Partnerships Officer responsible for tour program and educational resource development. With a background in History and Geography teaching Louise has managed the development of the improved tours and resources for the Tank Stream.

For further information on the history of The Tank Stream, visit Sydney Water.


The Tank Stream is part of an active stormwater drain, which means we must take some special safety precautions. Sydney Water will look after your safety by monitoring weather, air quality and water flow in the tunnel. The following terms and conditions apply to the tours of The Tank Stream:

  • The Tank Stream is a confined space. It is not suitable for those with serious health issues, limited mobility or uncomfortable in confined spaces. You must be able to climb a ladder and spend extended periods squatting or stooping.

  • Before entering The Tank Stream you must attend a safety induction and confirm you are fit and capable of participating in the tour and you release Sydney Water from its liability for any loss or injury you might suffer and you accept liability for any damage or injury you may cause while on the tours.

  • You must be over the age of 12 to enter The Tank Stream and under supervision of a responsible adult if under the age of 18.

  • Tours may be cancelled on the day of the event or 24 hours prior if rain occurs or is forecast or toxic gas levels become dangerous. Sydney Water will notify you if this is the case.

  • Long pants and long sleeves must be worn. Sydney Water will provide other protective equipment that must be worn on the tour.

  • No toilet facilities are available. The closest public amenities are at Wynyard Station.

  • Cameras are permitted on the tour. However, no responsibility will be taken for the damage of personal items on the tour. The tunnel can be damp and wet.

  • Maximum two people per ballot.

  • Successful applicants will be notified by phone/email.

  • Meeting point to be advised at time of booking.


Tours may be cancelled on the day of the event or 24 hours prior if rain occurs or is forecast or toxic gas levels become dangerous. If this occurs participants will be contacted by Sydney Living Museums (SLM) via email or telephone. The event page on the SLM website will also be updated prior to the event day if cancellations occur.

Tour dates - Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 May 2017

Sydney CBD

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