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History of the Gladstone Area Waterboard
22 Sep 2013
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Before Awoonga Dam was built, water was sourced from various locations:

1843 – Auckland Creek

1856 – Happy Valley Creek

1897 – Railway Dam Across Happy Valley Creek

1915 – Tondoon Creek Dam

1945 – Boyne River – Pike’s Crossing Causeway

1966 – Boyne River – Awoonga Weir Stage 1

1970 – Boyne River – Awoonga Weir Stage 2


1985 – Awoonga Dam Stage 1

Gladstone City’s water supply has a history dating back to Gladstone’s first year of settlement in 1843. The first supply of fresh water was a puddle hole on the top side of Auckland Creek. This supply was replaced in 1856 by the sinking of a hole in Happy Valley Creek where a wall was placed across the front of it. In 1865 another hole was sunk adjacent to the first and these two holes were the water supply until 1898.

Upon completion of the railway line to Gladstone in 1897, the railway department built a dam in the top end of Happy Valley. The original dam was washed away in the first flood in 1898, but it was repaired and water was piped from it to Gladstone where it was collected by bucket for household use. Eventually, because of increasing demand, the dam became inadequate and a new dam was built on Tondoon Creek which now forms part of the Tondoon Botanic Gardens.

The Tondoon Dam was washed away in 1916 and was subsequently repaired. This dam supplied water to Gladstone until 1945 when the Gladstone Town Council constructed a supply from the Boyne River. A pump station was constructed upstream of the Pike’s Crossing causeway and water was pumped to Gladstone through a 300mm cast iron pipeline.

With the advent of QAL in the mid 60’s, the demand for water increased enormously. In 1966 it was necessary to construct the first stage of a concrete weir at the present site, with a pumping station and a 700mm steel rising main (pipeline) between the weir and Gladstone. Further works included a 16 megalitre storage reservoir and the construction of a water treatment plant in Gladstone.

More demand for water necessitated that the first stage weir be raised in 1970, and a second raising, to its maximum possible height, was necessary in 1977.

Calliope Shire’s water supply developed similarly, either from underground or basic supplies. Gradually however, most urban developments within the Shire were connected to the Boyne River system. Boyne Island and Tannum Sands townships were connected in 1969 approx, Calliope township in late 1982 and Mt Larcom in early 1983.

The concept of the Gladstone Area Water Board emerged from recommendations made to the State Government from the Co-ordinator General’s Department and the Gladstone Area Co-ordination Committee.

As a result of a submission to Cabinet on this matter by the Honourable Premier Mr J Bjelke-Petersen dated 19 May 1972, Cabinet in Decision Number 17040 dated 23 May 1972, decided that approval be granted to the principle of forming a Water Authority as a Project Board under the State and Regional Planning and Development, Public Works Organisation and Environmental Control Act 1971, to implement, operate and manage the envisaged water supply augmentation program.

Gladstone Area Water Board was duly created as a Project Board by Order in Council dated August 16, 1973 and was vested with certain powers, functions and duties as provided by Order in Council dated December 20, 1973 and amending Order in Council dated August 1, 1974.

Additional assets and liability from the two local authorities was provided to the Board.

Awoonga Dam was built immediately downstream of the old weir which is now submerged in Lake Awoonga.

The Premier, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen officially commissioned the Stage 1 Awoonga High Dam on Friday 22 March 1985.


Comments (2)
John Hager Sat, 28 May 2016 6:27pm

Good share

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