Take a stroll around the historic Wellington Dam, situated in the Wellington National Park near Collie, and imagine what life was like for the people who lent their hands to its construction during the Great Depression.
The building of the dam in 1932 was part of a drive to fund public works to provide jobs for thousands of people desperate for work in the 1930s. A dam on the Collie River was proposed as a way to extend the South West irrigation network and to encourage further expansion in agriculture.
More than a hundred workers, many with wives and children, made their way to live in a tiny settlement of tents pitched in a forest clearing (now the cafe and surrounding car parks). Their labour is seen today in the wall of the dam, which measures 366 metres across, 34 metres high and stores about 186 million kilolitres of water when full.
When the dam overflows it creates a spectacular lace curtain effect – a must-see if you have the opportunity.
Also of interest is the now disused power station down the river. This was the first such power facility built by the State Government and was one of only two operational hydro power stations in Western Australia.
The Wellington National Park, with its magnificent towering jarrah and marri forests, is a place of beauty and sets the scene for relaxing camping retreats for the whole family at Potters Gorge and Honeymoon Pool.
The dam kiosk is open for refreshments, and can be contacted on 9734 7521, or visit www.kioskatthedam.com.au .