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Spotswood, Australia

Spotswood Pumping Station

A youth-centric science center hides an industrial triumph. 

When it was constructed, Australia’s Spotswood Pumping Station served the sewage disposal needs of the greater Melbourne area, but now the complex is preserved behind a children’s museum. 

The pumping station was built in the late 1890s and decommissioned in 1960. In 1914 the pumps were powered by ten gigantic stationary steam engines.  Today five steam engines remain. As of 2001 one of them had been restored and was operating on compressed air and the staff was in the process of restoring the second one.

The up-front museum, ScienceWorks, is a hands-on science museum built at the site of a former sewage pumping station that served the city of Melbourne.  The museum is housed in a modern building at the front of the site and the pumping station itself comprises a complex of several large brick buildings behind it.