Niagara Dam

Few sights in the Goldfieds typifies the unbridled ambition of the Goldrush era than Niagra Dam. Prospectors drawn to the desert by their thirst for gold were all too often defeated by a thirst for water. The importance of a permanent water source, to quench the rapidly growing population as much as the equally demanding steam trains that brought them in, was great enough to inspire an engineering feat that, looking at it today, is difficult to believe was accomplished in 1897.

Construction materials were transported overland from Coolgardie by Afghan camel trains. This arduous trek was shortened later when the rail line extended to Menzies. A namesake town was established soon after construction began, intending to service the planned Leonora-Coolgardie rail line and surrounding goldmines, but by the time of completion the gold had run out and town was in abrupt decline. After the dams completion in May 1897, the discovery of abundant underground water at Koolkynie made Niagara Dam all but irrelevant. With the decline of Niagara township and the dams less impressive than expected capacity, the dam was ultimately never utilised and it quickly faded to a historical oddity.

Today it’s popular camping spot and welcome chance to get wet in a region where salt lakes predominate.

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