Building Danjera Dam

WORKS: Danjera Dam under construction around 50 years ago. It has been a popular camping spot, that will be closed in December. Picture: Shoalhaven Historical Society

WORKS: Danjera Dam under construction around 50 years ago. It has been a popular camping spot, that will be closed in December. Picture: Shoalhaven Historical Society

Danjera Dam has been a popular camping spot for decades, and though the dam will continue to operate, it will no longer be open to campers as of December 4, refer to the article on page 10 for details. So, this week’s history piece looks to the beginnings of Danjera Dam.

Works started 50 years ago in November, 1967.

Earthworks were carried out by Birdsall and White who had two 30 yard scrapers, two Mack trucks and three bulldozers as well as a number of other items.

Fred Grimes of Bomaderry was the foreman, Jack Abernethy of Nowra and Larry Bell of Bomaderry were drillers.

The company prided itself on employing Aboriginals in full time work.

There were many Aboriginal workers employed including the leading hand, concreter, truck driver and a number of labourers.

By March 1968, earthworks had been carried out on the creek bed and a coffer dam had been constructed to divert water around the foundation excavations for the main dam.

Water was carried round the work in two sections of 36 inch pipe connected by an open channel.

On the actual site of the main wall of the dam, excavations had gone down to the rock bed to locate the fault zone.

With completion in sight in 1970, council asked the Snowy Mountains Authority to investigate the possibility of constructing a weir across the Shoalhaven river.

The Danjera Dam was officially opened by the Shire President Cr John Hatton on April 15, 1972 at a ceremony at the picnic ground beside the lake formed by the dam in the presence of members of parliament and civic guests, almost a century after the goldfield opened there.

Following the ceremony and the fixing of two plaques on the dam wall and the adjacent rocks, a BBQ luncheon was held on the banks of the dam.

Rainbow trout fingerlings were released into the dam to stock it for anglers.

Following the opening the shire engineer forecast the need for a second dam to fill the shire need as growth continued.

Meanwhile the National Parks and Wildlife Service secured 64,000 acres in the Yalwal district in 1972. 

Over recent years, Shoalhaven City Council improved facilities.

Two camping and picnic grounds with toilets and BBQ amenities were established.

With new and improved facilities, many accessed this beautiful and tranquil area that offers and unspoilt wilderness in which to relax and rejuvenate among pristine bush and abundant wildlife.

The area is a great place to explore with numerous tracks including the trek from Yalwal to the beautiful Tianjara Falls. 

High on the nearby sandstone escarpment can be found Mountain Rocks where early residents carved their names and dotted around the area are a number of mining rocks from the golden era.