Hume Dam | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Hume Dam

Item details

Name of item: Hume Dam
Other name/s: Hume Lake, Hume Pondage
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Utilities - Water
Category: Weir
Primary address: Accessed off Murray Street, Lake Hume Village. Murray Valley, on the Murray River, Albury, NSW 2640
Local govt. area: Albury City
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Accessed off Murray Street, Lake Hume Village. Murray Valley, on the Murray RiverAlburyAlbury City  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Dam is of state heritage significance for its historic, associative, aesthetic, social and research
values.
Hume Dam is of state historic significance for its role in the management and conservation of water
within the Murray basin. It reflects the collaborative efforts of three states (NSW, VIC and SA) and the
Commonwealth government which culminated in the development of the Hume dam and 13 other
locks and weirs along the lower Murray. The Dam construction was one of the great engineering
projects of the period and was one of the greatest water conservation projects in the British Empire.
The Hume Dam is also of significance at a state level for its association with prominent engineers E. M
De Burgh, J. S Detheridge and G. Stewart and government works departments in Victoria and NSW.
The design of the Hume was planned by De Burgh and Detheridge and constructed by the Public
Works Department (NSW) and the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission of Victoria. The PWD
was also responsible for subsequent upgrades. Hume is also associated with explorers Hamilton
Hume and William Hovell.
Hume Dam is of state aesthetic (technical) significance for its innovative design and construction, its
scale and landmark qualities. When completed, it was the second largest dam in the world; it included
an early use of an energy dissipator and responded to the site topography in its design, incorporating
earthen embankments. The dam is the only concrete gravity dam of the period to feature earthen
embankments. The design and engineering of the dam on the whole has significantly improved the management and flows of the Murray River system and the dam and pondage has had a significant
impact on the aesthetic of the rural landscape.
The dam is also of significance at a state level as a representative example of a concrete gravity dam
in a picturesque setting and scale, demonstrating a high level of integrity as working infrastructure
despite modifications.
Hume Dam has social significance at the state level for its contribution to the regulation of the Murray
River which has contributed to the development and potential for development along the Murray. The
Hume also has social significance at the local level for its contribution to the community?s identity as a
long term source of employment in the valley and as a recreational resource and for local tourism.
Hume Dam is of state significance for its research values. The former construction villages (dating to
the initial construction phase (1919-1936)) present a significant archaeological resource (although
disturbed). Remains of the village are of state significance for their association with the construction of
the Dam and remnants of these typically temporary villages are considered rare. The dam, in situ
operational equipment and movable heritage items as well as associated archival materials also
provide scientific environmental and engineering data over an extended period and constitute an
holistic historical record of the dam.
The area may also include places and items of Aboriginal cultural significance, as the area has been
used by local Aboriginal clans who camped in areas along the Murray, which provided access to water
and food.
Staff cottages 1 and 4 contribute to the setting of the dam and are of historical, aesthetic and
representative significance at a local level as surviving infrastructure from the significant construction
phases associated with the dam. Cottages 1 and 4 are of significance at a local level as representative
cottage dwellings of the post war and inter-war periods respectively, built to a characteristic
government pattern book design.
Cottage 4 represents the earliest phase of departmental development for housing at the Hume Dam
and is the only site building surviving from the original inter-war construction period (circa 1921) still in
the ownership of State Water.
The Nissen huts have local aesthetic and historic significance as an example of traditional military
designed infrastructure that has been adapted and reused at the site and demonstrating reflecting the
significant 1950s upgrade. The buildings are also of significance as surplus military structures
associated with the Second World War. They have a moderate to high level of integrity.
Date significance updated: 15 Jan 14
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: E. M De Burgh, J. S Detheridge
Builder/Maker: PWD(NSW) and the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission of Victoria
Construction years: 1919-1936
Physical description: The Hume dam consists of a concrete gravity section in addition to 4 earthen embankments, 2 of
which have a concrete core wall. Hume is 51m high, with a crest of 2,625m, which includes the main
structure (1,615m) and auxiliary embankments (1,010m). The storage capacity is 3,038,000ML with a
surface area of more than 20,000 hectares and a maximum water depth of 40m.
The concrete section is approx 340m long and includes the outlet section and a spillway section which
is approximately 220m long (with 29 vertical lift gates) and wing walls at its northern and southern
ends referred to as the northern and southern training walls. Embankments 1 (south) and 4 (north)
which adjoin the concrete dam each feature a centrally located vertical reinforced concrete core wall
with earthen shoulders. Embankments 2 and 3, located on the lake of the dam on the Victorian side of
the river, are conventional earthfill construction and were constructed later as part of the 1950s
expansion works.
Outlets Section:
The outlets section is 86.6m long, with a concrete roadway running along the crest of the dam and
across the spillway. The outlet section includes four irrigation outlets (FDC valves), and three hydro
outlets, two of which are connected to the hydroelectric power station, with the third being disused.
The outlets release water downstream through the dam wall from the storage. Concrete trash racks
protect both the irrigation and hydro outlets.
Within the dam wall, there is a seepage and inspection gallery at the base of the dam which connects
into the spillway section. The gallery is constructed in concrete with an arched roof form and houses
various monitoring equipment tracking movement of the dam structure and monitoring seepage and
drainage. A second gallery, referred to as the winch gallery is located beneath the dam crest within the
outlet section only. The winch gallery houses operating equipment for the emergency closure gates
and the main electrical switchboard.
Downstream of the outlets section is a concrete-walled stilling pool 55m long, and 89m wide, with a
partition wall separating the 28m wide section downstream of the irrigation outlets. Sitting within the
stilling pool at the toe of the dam adjacent to the northern training wall, is the hydroelectric power
station, constructed circa 1956 in a post war industrial brutalist style. The original inter-war power
house is also retained adjacent to the northern training wall.
Spillway Section:
The spillway section serves to take excess water downstream away from the dam and features an
ogee crest, to dissipate the velocity of water in flow. The spillway is 219.4m long, with a crest level of
RL 184.76m. It is constructed with 9 gravity blocks with contraction joints at 25m intervals in the lower
sections and joints at half that spacing in the higher sections above the gallery roof. It has 29 vertical
lift gates, each 6.1m wide by 7.9m high, separated by piers 1.5m wide. A reinforced concrete road
bridge crosses the spillway. There is a seepage and inspection gallery at the base of the dam, which
connects to the gallery in the outlet section and to the southern training wall and blister gallery in
Embankment 1. A dissipater structure downstream of the toe in this section provides a stilling pool
24.3m long and further serves to calm water from the dam spillway and reduce potential erosion
downstream.
The 1961 enlargement of the dam included the construction of the reinforced concrete hoist bridge
supporting the lifting equipment for the 29 spillway gates. These gates increase the amount of water
able to be impounded by the dam.
Southern Training Wall (STW)
The southern training wall (STW) is a concrete gravity structure which retains the fill of Embankment 1,
and acts as a training wall for spillway flows. On the downstream side, it contains an inspection gallery
which provides the exit point for seepage from the concrete dam and the blister gallery in
Embankment 1
Northern Training Wall:
Similar to the STW, the northern training wall (NTW) is a concrete gravity structure spanning the
upstream and downstream face of the dam and retaining the fill of Embankment 4.
Earthen Embankments 1, 2, 3 and 4
Embankment 1 is a 1,166m long earth dam with a maximum height of 39m. The embankment is
broken into two sections; the northern section adjoins the spillway and is referred to as Embankment
1a, and the southeastern section which is known as embankment 1b. The embankment is constructed
with a lightly reinforced concrete core wall 0.6m thick at the crest and 1.8m thick at the base founded
on solid rock. A reinforced concrete semi-circular drainage and inspection gallery (known as the blister
gallery) runs along the core wall within embankment 1a and a drainage pipe continues from the bend
within embankment 1b.
Embankment 2 is an homogeneous earthen embankment constructed in the 1950s 1km south/
upstream of Embankment 1b. The embankment is 550m long and the crest 7.2m wide.
Embankment 3 is a zoned earthfill embankment constructed in the 1950s, with rockfill wave protection
on the upstream batter. The embankment is constructed in a saddle approx. 1km south of
Embankment 2. It is 460m long.
Embankment 4 is 131m long and is similar in design to Embankment 1a, but does not have a blister
gallery or downstream berms. Its core wall slots into the NTW with a somewhat similar detail to the
southern junction.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The structure is required to be maintained to a standard generally that associated with ANCOLD
guidelines, and regulated by NSW Dam Safety Committee. The structure is subject to an intensive
surveillance regime and incorporates high levels of telemetry and instrumentation monitoring all
aspects of the structures performance. Maintenance occurs within this framework and is documented
and controlled with the assistance of a computer based maintenance management system.
Current maintenance status is within acceptable limits and remedial works underway are addressing
identified deficiencies.
Modifications and dates: Modifications were carried out during 1950-1961 to enlarge the reservoir to its present capacity of
3,038,000Ml which enabled it to accommodate additional water from the Snowy Mountains Scheme
Between 1981 and 1987 works were undertaken to extend the drainage of the dam's foundation to
relieve uplift pressures and to install a new post-tensioning cable system, which would be restressable.
Outlet valves were also upgraded and the 1920s Larner Johnson valves were replaced.
Further corrective works to the dam in the 1995-2003 program included construction of stabilising
berms along the downstream slope of the embankment (1) and further post tensioning of the southern
training wall to resist loadings imposed by the new berms. The original northern and osuthern training
walls were also strengthened to cope with earthquake loadings, which involved construction of new
reinforced concrete head blocks to accommodate horizontal and vertical post-tensioned anchors.
Hume Dam is currently undergoing upgrade works to improve the structure?s capacity to withstand
extreme flood and earthquake events and bring it into line with contemporary best practice. Proposed
works include the installation of an improved filter and drainage system on the junction between the
concrete spillway and southern embankment; construction of a concrete buttress on the southern
training wall and possible spillway modifications to improve the capacity of the dam to manage extreme floods. Works began in March 2010, with construction expected to take 3-5 years.
Current use: Water Conservation, Supply & Stock, Irrigation, Hydro power, recreation
Former use: Water Conservation, Supply & Stock, Irrigation, Hydro power, recreation

History

Historical notes: The design and construction of the dam involved the cooperation and joint involvement of NSW and
Victoria, with the original design prepared by E M De Burgh, Chief Engineer of Public Works, NSW
and J S Detheridge, Commissioner State Rivers and Water Supply Commission of Victoria. During
construction of the dam, the work force was to be accommodated in two separate townships either
side of the Murray with the Department of Public Works (NSW) being responsible for the northern
concrete dam section and the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission of Victoria being
responsible for the southern earth dam.
The Commission approved preliminary plans of the dam on 25 April 1919 and construction began on
28 November the same year. The construction site was initially referred to as „the Mitta Mitta Dam
site', but in February 1920 the River Murray Commission (RMC) adopted the name „Hume Reservoir'
to honour Hamilton Hume.
The dam was built with a cyclopean construction technique which relied on large granite “plums” being
inserted into the concrete. Designs were amended in the mid 1920s and again in 1930, when the
impact of economic depression began to affect the Hume Dam works. The proposed hydro power
works and construction works were put on hold.
The dam was completed after 17 years and was officially opened on the 28th November 1936 by the
Governor General Lord Gowrie. When completed, Hume Dam was the biggest dam in the southern
hemisphere and among the largest in the world. The Hume was one of the most significant examples
of this type of dam built, though the cost of construction was expensive (5.3 million) and its type was
not used as much in later years. On completion, the dam's catchment measured 6,000 square miles
and it held 2,000,000 acre-feet of water storage. The concrete wall was 1042.5 feet long. The earth
bank within NSW measured 430.5 feet in length and that in Victoria 3,827 feet long, making a total
length of 5,300 feet.
The completed dam incorporated a concrete gravity dam spillway section (710 feet long) with piers
above the crest carrying the roadway and able to support 29 moveable gates (proposed to be installed
with a projected future increase to the storage). The remainder of the concrete construction was a
sluice with a road on top, with seven needle valves, of which three were then used for the hydroelectric
station and stony sluice gates.
Modifications were carried out during 1950-1961 to enlarge the reservoir to its present capacity of
3,038,000Ml which enabled it to accommodate additional water from the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
As with the original construction phase, the upgrade required further infrastructure, including a
construction office (set up in NSW) responsible for the raising of the spillway, and re-establishing a
construction township, which included a number of pre-fabricated cottages and barracks buildings. In
1951 the township included 30 cottages, 6 barracks units, and the construction office as well as a number of workshop buildings Housing included prefabricated cottages, likely built by the Department
of Public Works. Works to the dam and associated infrastructure were carried out by NSW on behalf
of NSW and Victoria.
The dam works involved both enlargement and stabilizing works, including the addition of 29 spillway
gates, and grouting and drainage works to control uplift pressures under the concrete dam as no
provision was made in the original design for uplift pressure. The spillway crest and piers were
modified (raised to RL 607), and works were undertaken to anchor the dam to foundations with post
tensioning cables to resist the increased loading resulting from the elevated water level in the storage.
Uplift pressure measuring apparatus were also installed which required further drilling.
The earthen embankment number 1 on the Victorian side was again modified, with works including
placement of new stone and in 1954 construction of subsidiary Victorian embankments (saddle dams)
Nos 2 and 3 was completed. The height of the embankments was later raised in association with the
increased dam storage
The upgrade works also included the construction of the 50 megawatt hydro-electric power station
which commenced operation on 30 July 1957.
Between 1981 and 1987 works were undertaken to extend the drainage of the dam's foundation to
relieve uplift pressures and to install a new post-tensioning cable system, which would be restressable.
Outlet valves were also upgraded.
Further corrective works to the dam in the 1995-2003 program included construction of stabilising
berms along the downstream slope of the embankment (1) and further post tensioning of the southern
training wall to resist loadings imposed by the new berms. The original northern and osuthern training
walls were also strengthened to cope with earthquake loadings, which involved construction of new
reinforced concrete head blocks to accommodate horizontal and vertical post-tensioned anchors.

Recommended management:

Refer to Conservation Management Plan.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Archaeological ReportAustral Archaeology Pty Ltd1997Archaeological Survey of the Hume Dam Construction Camp Site, prepared for theDepartment of Land and Water Conservation
WrittenO.H.M Consultants2006Heritage Assessment for Hume Dam, State Water Corporation

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 5062242


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