The original dam was built in 1903 to supply water to the Goldfields via a long pipeline, quite an ambitious plan at the time. (The pipeline was designed by CY O’Connor, the Government Engineer-in-Chief. Sadly O’Connor took his own life only a few weeks before the pipeline started operation; he did this by riding his horse straight into the sea). JL worked on the raising of the dam wall around 1950, in order to increase the capacity of the dam. He and all the labourers lived in a camp in Nissen huts on site during the week. They were a motley bunch, including new migrants who were contracted to work on such manual projects as a condition of being allowed to come to Australia. Whatever their background, they had to do this work, in one case a Polish concert pianist! They were mainly engaged in producing huge concrete blocks to raise the height of the dam.
JL sat in a chair and reminisced about those days whilst I went for a walk. The Water Corp had closed off the walk across the dam wall, why? So to get to the other side, it was necessary to drop down into the valley and up steep steps on the other side. This must be extremely annoying to those on the Bibbulmun Track who are carrying lots of gear.
|This is our lunch spot, looking towards the dam wall|
|Looking at the dam wall from a lower level|
|Bibbulmun sign at the bottom|
|Valve house, dated 1903: a beautiful piece of industrial architecture|
|Pump house, originally steam powered, pumping the water to Kalgoorlie|
|C.Y. O'Connor lake|
|Wattles in flower everywhere|
|Water level at 50% capacity|