longexposure September 27th, 2013
It’s hard not to wonder how this structure came to be the way it is. Parts are obvious – it was a creek, it was extended to serve further drainage, and so on. But how did it come to have small children’s footprints in the concrete floor?
There are two major branches to this system: one was the original creek fed from the waterholes, and the other, much longer, less-meandering extent is the more-obviously purpose-built stormwater drain. As a curious aside, when the waterholes were to be drained, an entirely different system was engineered, a deep tunnel bored directly to the river itself. Maybe the creek just wasn’t deep or capacious enough back then, and perhaps the enclosed construction came much later.
But yes, footprints! In what seems to be a newer part of the drain (and I’ll use the term ‘new’ loosely, seeing the construction is the sort that shows up in other nearby systems at least a century old) there are footprints in the floor. It’s easy to picture kids wandering through the excavation and construction after the workers have gone home, but, was it covered at the time? Still open? In an age of efficient prefabricated segments, they don’t build drains that way anymore.
It all just reminds that as our built environment develops and becomes more sophisticated we nonetheless still have the same basic problems to solve as we always have, and we still resolve them the same way. And, clearly, infrastructure has always been used as a playground :)