Sunday History Photo / NT

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 13:16
ThreadID: 117170 Views:3892 Replies:9 FollowUps:2
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From the earliest days of European and Chinese settlement in the Darwin region, securing a reliable water supply was an issue.
Manton Dam forms part of the traditional lands of the Larrakia Aboriginal people. Its local landscape, wildlife and native plants supported their way of life over thousands of years.

The dam sits across the Manton River, which was named after James T Manton. James
Manton was the second Northern Territory Government resident from 1866-67 (South Australian Government’s representative) and he is also acknowledged as the person who chose the site of modern day Darwin.
The site for Manton Dam was selected by geologist, Dr. W G Woolnough in 1936. It was built to not only meet the needs of Darwin’s growing civilian population, but an increased military presence as the threat of war drew closer. In particular, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) called for a reliable water supply for its fleet as did the Royal Navy and as it was agreed that the existing, limited water supply needed to be expanded, this was achieved with
funding from the RAN.

Tenders for the construction of the dam and supply and installation of plant and equipment were called for in late 1937. Construction of the dam and the pipeline to Darwin started in 1938
During construction numerous industrial disputes (organised by the North Australian Workers Union) caused the financial collapse of the contractor (Manton Construction Pty Ltd) and there was increasing tension between the defence forces and the civilian administration, mainly over prioritising water supplies between the military and civilians.
The dam wall was completed in January 1941 with pump testing being carried out in February and March of that year. The first water flowed from Manton Dam to the Howard Springs junction on 11 February 1941 and into Darwin one month later, however construction of the dam itself was not completed until 1942.
The entry of Japan into WWII upgraded the strategic value of the dam and military units were assigned to guard the structure. A plan to demolish the dam in the event of an invasion was prepared in 1942 and two torpedo nets were strung across the dam in 1943.

Despite anti-aircraft guns being allocated to defend the dam, guns were not available and while one anti-aircraft searchlight was positioned at the dam, this was relocated to nearby Haycock Hill in October 1943.
In response to further supply requests from the RAN, Darwin’s water supply was reassessed in 1944 resulting in the construction of a second pipeline and upgrading
of storage facilities in 1945.
The dam, pumping stations, pipelines and storage facilities, which were under the ‘ownership’ of the RAN, were all handed over to the NT Administration in the early post-war years.
In 1964 electric-driven pumps were installed in No 3 pump house (nearest to the Stuart Highway and these pumps are still in place and remain fully operational today.
Manton Dam was to remain Darwin’s main source of potable (drinking) water until 1972 when Darwin River Dam (DRD) was constructed and commissioned. While Manton Dam was no longer in service, it remains the emergency back up water supply for Darwin should it be required.
As such, all equipment has been maintained in a state of readiness and Manton Dam has been put into service twice since that time. Firstly after Cyclone Tracy in 1974 and again in 1992 when a major fire temporarily halted pumping operations from DRD.
In 1989 the NT Government opened the southern edge of the Manton Dam catchment for recreation, setting aside an area for water sports, fishing and family activities that is extremely popular with local residents.

And 1 file re the 2 Spitfires that had a mid air collision during the war.

Granville Allen MAWER

John Philip ADAM

Take a stroll along the boardwalk to the base of the dam wall and maybe throw in a line if the black bream are present in the pools below the dam wall. From Pump house No. 1 take the path to the top of the dam wall and take in the view of the dam, the catchment area, the intake “tower”, the spillway and the remains of the anti-torpedo net foundations.
Take the time to enjoy the well-tended and shady picnic area and utilise the free electric barbeque.
Most of all, take time to relax and reflect a little on the history and heritage value of the site.

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Reply By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 13:26

Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 13:26
My apologies ... I had a Modem issue when I fired up the PC , the problem has been resolved, It still is Sunday though so hope you enjoy this one over a Beer..

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Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 13:39

Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 13:39
Worth the wait....Thanks Doug.....all's forgiven
AnswerID: 551388

Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 14:01

Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 14:01
Thanks Doug

You don't owe anyone any apologies with your record of service to members.

AnswerID: 551390

Reply By: muzbry - Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 14:14

Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 14:14
Gday Doug
Darling and I used to have the odd swim there .
AnswerID: 551392

Reply By: K&FT - Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 14:22

Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 14:22
Thank you Doug, another excellent read

most enjoyable
hope the rest of your day is issue free

AnswerID: 551394

Reply By: Bigfish - Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 16:17

Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 16:17
Good read Doug..I have caught barra at the base before...
AnswerID: 551398

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 17:36

Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 17:36
Better late than never! Lol......
Do you do requests?......How about a Sunday History thread on the Darwin oil tunnels one day Doug.

AnswerID: 551403

Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 21:47

Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 21:47
Good call Hairy, no I don't usually do requests, I'd get inundated but I will make an exception and think about it, I do requests on my radio program but only for the following week, I have a set list of songs to play in the 3 hours , I take in the 52 , plus a Flash drive with a 100 on it, and leave the other 25,400 home. true.

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 09:52

Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 09:52
".......leave the other 25,400 home."

Just a small repertoire, Doug, eh! :-))


Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: veight - Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 23:12

Sunday, Mar 22, 2015 at 23:12
Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife removed a 3.1m Saltwater Crocodile from below Manton Dam on 12/3/2015.

I knew there was something else apart from the fish taking my bait last time i was fishing there.
AnswerID: 551436

Reply By: Jerscott - Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 06:21

Monday, Mar 23, 2015 at 06:21
Now I understand what the other thread is about :) (New guy here). Very nicely done. Looking forward to more of these!
AnswerID: 551441

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