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Thanks! I did some digging since placing my comment, and I found this post to be very enlightening:http://rayshobby.net/understanding-24vac-sprinkler...The tl;dr is basically: yes it works, but under DC the coil can heat up much more vs AC (due to reactance) thus possibly reducing the lifespan of the solenoid. But my guess is that since we're only powering the solenoid momentarily (as opposed to holding it open as you would a sprinkler system), it shouldn't be a problem.
In regards to supplying power to the sprinkler valve, as you say pretty much all the valves I can find locally in Aus for a reasonable price is AC powered. Will they work if I supply DC power?
HOW TO: Wire a DPDT rocker switch for reversing polarity
Stuff Your Boneless Chicken
Removing the Bones From A Chicken