Rutherglen tower will be a real bottler

RUTHERGLEN’S much-loved “wine bottle” water tower is being transformed into an historical tourist destination.

Long abandoned as a water tower, it will undergo safety upgrades in the coming weeks.

Owners North East Water will donate the 1900 structure to the Indigo Council once the work is completed.

The tower was Rutherglen’s main water source until the 1960s, after which wine growers turned the top into the shape of a wine bottle using wire mesh.

Friends of the Rutherglen Wine Bottle committee member Cooper Gabriel said the group was formed two years ago after the council voted against taking the asset on.

She said members were concerned it would be declared dangerous and torn down.

“The community hadn’t conveyed how important it was to them,” Ms Gabriel said.

“It’s an icon because so many things have happened around it — people have been proposed to there.

“And it’s the first thing everyone sees on arrival to Rutherglen.”

The architect said the committee then came up with a plan to use the tower as a tourist drawcard, an idea the council found favourable.

North East Water acting executive planning and infrastructure manager Simon Edwards said the safety works would involve both internal and external improvements to ensure structural integrity well into the future.

“Long-term it’s got the ability to become unsafe,” he said.

“We’re happy to be part of the project to give it a long life.”

The works include the demolition of an internal wooden staircase infested by termites and the removal of an external ladder and other external items such as pipes.

The upper tank will be clad in corrugated steel, the same oxide red colour as the rest of the brick tower.

Ms Gabriel said the site would be landscaped to include seating and shade.

Sculptures would be erected around the tower, with Arts Rutherglen already commissioning the first piece.

“It’s a place people can come and sit and have a market, have a wedding — it has a lot of potential for event activity,” Ms Gabriel aid.

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