Monday, July 12, 2010


This film below shows the historical and cultural values of the Cotter Dam precinct. It follows the development of Canberra's water supply from it's beginnings as a low dam in 1912, with water constantly cascading, to the raising of the walls in the 1948 and right through to it's current transformation.

The dam was a showpiece for visitors to the National Capital and an important social venue for the population of an emerging inland city. To my memory our families picnicked, swam, and barbecued and as we became adults the Cotter Tavern became an occasional haunt. The Cotter Tavern unfortunately burnt down as a firestorm swept through the area during the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

Before the video here is a clipping from the Sydney Morning Herald in which Prime Minister Billy Hughes (1862-1952)(bio) is quoted expounding the virtues of the area whilst inspecting the dam in 1922. He saw a big future...

The Sydney Morning Herald - 9 March 1922

National Library of Australia (here)

And the video from the ACTEW corporation:

"Reflections in The Cotter"


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  1. Thanks Dave, a good video, I enjoyed watching. The area around the lake looks dry, I am surprised they have not done some planting. It could be a lovely looking area but looks too sparce at present.

  2. Yes I agree Le Loup, the area used to be beautiful. The area used to be covered in pine (radiata) forests but sadly after the 2003 Canberra bushfires not much remains. A drive through the nearby Brindabella Mountains shows the devastation of the firestorm. The fire jumped the Murrumbidgee at the cotter continued on and destroyed 400 homes with several losses of life. I think the ACT Government might be reluctant to re-plant...

  3. Love the movie Dave, brought back lots of memories of my childhood; family picnics at the Cotter and Casuarina and other nearby river spots; the terror of almost drowning, the joy of a lazy afternoon in the sun,innocent child hood days all kids deserve to have! (without the near drowning incident of course) ; ) Thanks!

  4. The Cotter was important for my family too Lynn. I have to admit though my fondest memories were the 1980's cotter Pub. Those were the day's...


History lost through lack of funding

  The following ABC article laments the possible loss of many historical audio visual records that are waiting for digitising into modern fo...