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Concrete In Australia : September 2013
14 Concrete in Australia Vol 39 No 3 NEWS Ord River Dam gets Heritage Marker e concrete Ord River Diversion Dam in Western Australia has been awarded an Engineering Heritage Marker by Engineering Heritage Australia. e marker was accepted by the Water Corporation at a ceremony celebrating the dam s 50th anniversary held at Swim Beach, near Kununurra, in July. e award followed the preparation of a detailed nomination by Engineering Heritage WA. Water Corporation chief executive Sue Murphy said the Engineering Heritage Marker was a tting tribute to such a vital piece of water infrastructure. "Receiving the Heritage Marker was the perfect way to celebrate the dam s 50 years of operation and to recognise the importance of water in the development of Western Australia," she said. "When damming the Ord River was rst conceived it was a huge undertaking, with decades of investigations and planning nally culminating in a £5,000,000 pound grant from the Commonwealth government in 1959. "In today s terms, that is an investment of $140 million, so it was an achievement well ahead of its time and one that paved the way for successful agriculture in the region. " e dam s construction was considered a signi cant technical achievement, given the remoteness of the site, basic communications and di cult seasonal climatic conditions with sudden river o w s ." e Ord River Irrigation Project was o cially opened on 20 July 1963 by then prime minister Sir Robert Menzies. e opening marked the start of a new era in agriculture in Western Australia s far north. e dam was designed by the state s Public Works Department. e project design team was led by John Lewis who attended the ceremony along with a number of former engineering sta associated with the design and construction supervision. Also present were engineering representatives of the main construction contractor Christiani Nielsen Clough. This article first appeared in Engineers Australia magazine, August 2013. • • • • •