Hydraulic Henderson of the Outback

History Out There

P1150727 (2)After two years of drilling, it happened, the township was on the map. Blasting seventy feet above the Australian Outback shot a glorious 84°C jet of piping hot water. First there was London, then Paris, and the next day in 1898, came Thargomindah. The tiny town, today with a population of 206, was the third in the world to have hydroelectric street lighting.

John Baillie Henderson was responsible for that bore. He was Queensland’s first Government Hydraulic Engineer and was considered to be the “greatest authority of the day on artesian water supplies”. He definitely earned his title Hydraulic Henderson.

Still in Thargomindah, fast forward five generations. Young Geoff Pike, not long out of his plumbing apprenticeship, is fixing domestic toilets. There’s not a lot of domestic toilets in the Outback. So just like his great-great-great-grandfather Hydraulic Henderson, Geoff began dreaming of greater things.

He took his sole trader plumbing business and…

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