When English settlers arrived in Australia and started forming a developed community, they needed a fresh and reliable water supply. The city of Sydney was formed around this water course, which was later altered to include storage tanks carved in sandstone rock, which helped preserve water in the drought of 1790. This is how the water course came to be named ‘Tank Stream Fountain'.
Botany Bay was the original preferred location for a new settlement, however no fresh water could be located there. Sydney Harbour, and Tank Stream Fountain, was chosen as the new location for the colony. The water course provided fresh water to the new Australians for many years, until the city became too big and the water was inadequate. It was also spoiled with rubbish and disease. The large and unusable swampland was exchanged for water from Busby's Bore in 1830.
Tank Stream Fountain was drained in 1850, and was progressively covered for the city of Sydney to be developed over. Today, Tank Stream Fountain is only a storm water drain, however history enthusiasts understand the historical importance of this simple construction.
In five locations, around the city, glass modules rippling with blue light have been inserted into the pavement, as tourist attractions to mark the course of Tank Stream Fountain.
Many visual artists have created canvas paintings and sculpture works that are dedicated to the history and importance of the Tank Stream Fountain. The artists, include Stephen Walker who created a sculpture which was in 1981, donated to Sydney City by the publishing company John Fairfax and Sons Ltd.
This historical artwork is now located in Herald Square at Circular Quay and can be visited by the public. It features a cascading fountain and bronze animals and allows children to physically play and explore the work. This artwork was listed as a dedication ‘to all the children who have played around the Tank Stream' and connects children of today, with the early settlers' children of the 1700's.