Preservation of century-old James Dam confirmed following its addition to State Register for Heritage Places

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Tom ShanahanGreat Southern Herald
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James Dam in Lake Grace
Camera IconJames Dam in Lake Grace

Basking in the sun in one of the driest shires in the Wheatbelt, WA’s first experimental roaded catchment dam has been recognised for its historical and scientific significance.

The Shire of Lake Grace has welcomed the announcement that its 107-year-old old James Dam has been added to the State Register of Heritage Places.

Built in 1914, the dam was part of a State Government program to provide adequate water supply to regions of the Wheatbelt that were not in the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme.

The dam received several upgrades in 1949, including the wave-like roaded catchment, which is a sloped area with a corrugated surface that collects rainwater and channels water into a dam.

The roaded catchment is considered one of the greatest advances in water technology for WA.

The square dam with a concrete inlet chute helped in the development of new technologies for efficient water collection and storage.

Water Minister Dave Kelly said while the dam was no longer operational, its inclusion in the State Register would “ensure the protection” of its heritage values.

Agricultural Region MLC Shelley Payne said the dam was significant not only for its historic and scientific impacts, but also its social benefits to the region.

“The dam is representative of the grit and determination of our rural farming communities like Lake Grace and became a place to gather and recreate,” she said.

Also included in the heritage listing is the neighbouring cricket pitch and sheep dipper.

Shire of Lake Grace chief executive officer Alan George said the dam had been a great meeting place in the town’s early days.

“We are actively preserving a lot of the dams in our shire, but this is one of the more important ones because of it being the first experimental roadbed catchment dam in the area — plus the history with the adjacent sheep dipper as well,” he said.

James Dam in Lake Grace
Camera IconJames Dam in Lake Grace

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