The Res

'The Res' is a 19th century underground drinking water reservoir built on the high ground of Tyrrell Street in Newcastle East.

Built in 1882, The Res held the first ever drinking water for the people of Newcastle, which was pumped from Walka Water Works near Maitland. The Res continued to serve Newcastle until 50 years ago when it was drained and closed. Until now.

The Res is open for tours and participants will be selected by ballot.

Tour groups will explore The Res, marveling at its colonial architecture and rusted pipes that sit as they were laid so many years ago. Our guide will give an insight into the construction of The Res and the original Walka Water Scheme, the first in the Hunter to deliver fresh water straight to people's homes.

You'll also see historical photos and hear tales of what life was like in Newcastle in the late 1800s.

Please note:

  • The Res is a dark underground space only accessible by stairs and therefore may not be suitable for those with claustrophobia or mobility issues.
  • The Res is also a damp space where water drips and trickles from the roof, so be prepared to get a little bit wet.
  • Tours run for around 30 minutes on weekdays and are conducted by a ballot several times a year.

Register for the ballot here

Terms and Conditions

  • Tours may be cancelled in case of forecast rain on the day or 24 hours prior or if there are any health and safety risks.
  • Successful entrants to the ballot will need to arrive 15 minutes before their tour start time. Latecomers may be refused entry as safety induction during introduction is essential.
  • The Res is not suitable for those with serious health issues, limited mobility, sight or uncomfortable in confined spaces or with stairs.
  • Enclosed footwear with a rubber sole must be worn.
  • No toilet facilities are available.
  • Participants must sign an agreement that they understand the risks of undertaking the tour and are fit and capable of performing all the required activities.
  • Participants under 18 will need to have a guardian present to sign the agreement on their behalf and remain on site throughout the tour. The supervising adult can can be a teacher.
  • Minimum age of 9 years old for visitors.
  • Cameras are permitted on the tour however no responsibility will be taken for the damage of personal items on the tour. The Res can be damp and wet, especially after recent rain.
  • Successful applicants will be notified 2 weeks prior to the tour.
  • Alternative tour times will not be considered for those who cancel with less than 2 days notice.

Helpful Information