Burrinjuck Dam Site (Greater) | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Burrinjuck Dam Site (Greater)

Item details

Name of item: Burrinjuck Dam Site (Greater)
Other name/s: Burrinjuck Dam Site, Barren Jack Barrenjack
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Utilities - Water
Category: Water Supply Reservoir/ Dam
Location: Lat: -34.9879279664 Long: 148.6322923950
Primary address: , Burrinjuck, NSW 2582
Parish: Childowla
County: Harden
Local govt. area: Yass Valley
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Onerwal


An area of some 500 sq. miles, centred on Burrinjuck Dam and Lake.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 BurrinjuckYass ValleyChildowlaHardenPrimary Address
Burrinjuck roadBurrinjuckYass Valley  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
State WatersState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Burrinjuck Dam site is significant for its natural and cultural resources. It is the site of the first irrigation water storage in NSW. It contains many rare species of native flora and fauna, as well as many structures an artifacts (both above and under water) associated with the construction of the Burrinjuck Dam. The site contains European archaeological sites, and probably Aboriginal sites. (DLWC S170 Register)
Date significance updated: 23 Mar 01
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Physical description: The greater Burrinjuck Dam site is about 60km by road from Yass in southern NSW, and covers an area of some 500sq. Miles. The site contains many rare species of flora and fauna. Apart from the Burrinjuck Dam and related structures, the site also contains many structures and artefacts, both above a nd under water, which are associated with the early construction phases of Burrinjuck Dam. These include railway remnants, Lake de Burgh locomotive water supply dam, Barren Jack Water Supply Dam, the children's graveyard, the quarry site, the Office and Conference Centre, a number of staff cottages, a church, etc. (See separate inventory sheets for Burrinjuck Dam, Barren Jack Water Supply Dam, Office & Conference Centre, various staff cottages, and some of the artefacts.) (DLWC S170 Register)

The children's graveyard site is accessible through dense shrubs. The site is identified by wire fencing although the cutrilage is unclear. The ground within the fence is generally clear of shrubs and have clumps of daffodils planted at various spots. The daffodils are said to mark the spots of burial. Outside the fencing, the grounds contain evidence of stone terraces.

The curtilage for the Greater Burrinjuck Dam Site includes Burrinjuck Village, the visual catchment of the burrinjuck village precinct and the visual catchment of the Dam Wall and its environs. (DLWC May 2003 - Description updated Jan 2013)
Further information: Preparation of a Conservation Management Plan and a detailed archaeological study incorporating the whole site are highly recommended. (DLWC S170 Register)


Historical notes: The word "Burrinjuck" is a corruption of the Aboriginal word "Booren Yiack" which is the name of the precipitous mountain overlooking the dam site. Initially translated to "Barren Jack", the name was changed c.1910 to "Burrinjuck" as the Government considered the new name to be more in keeping for the promotion of the new Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area development and to encourage new immigrants to take up settlement there. Burrinjuck City, a temporary township, was established to house workers during the construction of Burrinjuck Dam. Later, the buildings on river flats, the original access road to the town and works, old sand haulage railway, etc. were inundated by the rising storage of the dam.
Presently, many of the early structures and artefacts still remain on the Burrinjuck Dam site, both above and under water. Some of the structures that remain above water include some staff cottages, a church owned by Church of England, the children's graveyard site (early burial ground of some workers' children), Lake de Burgh dam (owned by State Rail?), the Barren Jack Water Supply Dam, etc.
The site also contains many rare species of native flora and fauna. (DLWC S170 Register)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis (none)-

Recommended management:

Retain, conserve and maintain in accordance with the Burra Charter. (DLWC S170 Register)

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementGreater Burrinjuck Dam Precinct CMP CMP received for review by Heritage Council 23 October 2003  
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0095902 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Land & Water Conservation Section 170 Register199550068Heritage Group: State Projects  No

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5012042
File number: H00/00368; S95/00332 [S170]

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