C. Y. O`ConnorPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Joy Lefroy, National Trust of Australia (WA) / Father Ted Doncaster

The sculpture commemorates C. Y. O’Connor, who shot himself at the beach on 10 March 1902.  It consists of a bronze statue 30 metres off the beach in the ocean. The statue is of a man sitting astride an unsaddled horse. It is fixed to the sea floor and supported by a steel pylon sunk six metres into the seabed.

Charles Yelverton O'Connor CMG (11 January 1843 – 10 March 1902) was an Irish engineer who is best known for his work in Australia, especially the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme.

A succession of gold rushes in the Yilgarn region near Southern Cross in 1887, at Coolgardie in 1892, and at Kalgoorlie in 1893 caused a population explosion in the barren and dry desert centre of Western Australia, exemplified by towns like Cunderdin and Merredin. On 16 July 1896, John Forrest introduced to Western Australian Parliament a bill to authorise the raising of a loan of £2.5 million to construct the scheme: the pipeline would pump 23,000 cubic metres of water per day to the Goldfields from a dam on the Helena River near Mundaring Weir in Perth, pumped in eight successive stages through 560 kilometres of 760 millimetre pipe to the Mount Charlotte Reservoir in Kalgoorlie. The water is then reticulated to various mining centres in the Goldfields.

O'Connor was subjected to prolonged criticism by members of the press and also many members of the Western Australian Parliament over the scheme.  Forrest, always a supporter, had left Western Australian politics to become federal defence minister; defamatory attacks by the press had wounded him. O'Connor committed suicide less than a year before Forrest officially commissioned the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme.


Address:Robb Road , C. Y. O`Connor Beach, North Coogee, 6163
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.090278
Long: 115.755278
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - State
Artist:Tony Jones


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 4th October, 1999
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au