The Myponga Historical Society had worked hard to mark May’s History Month and launch the Heritage Fleurieu Coast Festival in the church hall alongside the popular Myponga Reservoir Reserve. But measures needed to tackle COVID-19 meant the efforts to coordinate events and dedications for the festival had to be stopped and information and pictures gathered about the town, dairy farming district and, of course, the landmark reservoir were not going to see the light of day.
Merilyn McLaren and husband Colin, better known as “Pud”, had been working tirelessly with other Myponga Historical Society members to organise the event, which included a public display of photographs and news clippings in the Myponga Church Hall to launch the region’s Heritage Fleurieu Coast Festival today, Monday 3 May.
The impressive photo boards and many news stories, books and brochures that tell the fascinating story of the construction of the dam wall at Myponga from 1957 and the incredible change to the small farming town landscape when Lovely Valley was flooded at the completion of that work in 1962 have gone back into storage at the McLaren home.
We’re pleased to be able to bring some of this work to light and will share a number of great moments in time, along with some of the rich history of our other reservoir reserves, here throughout May.
Pud, as a 19-year-old, worked on the construction of the dam wall doing form work in the final year of its construction.
“It was different work that’s for sure. Not really the job for people who didn’t like heights!,’’ he said.
“I was working at a time when a big wind swept through there and took half the worker’s shacks with it.’’
News reports from the time outline that 34 Myponga families had to leave homes and land that had belonged to their families for up to three generations to make way for construction of the dam with the waters of the reservoir submerging six farming properties. At least eight houses, one the home of a family of nine, were submerged, as was the Lovely Valley school and a former cream factory that had been converted into a home.
Learn more about the history of some of our now very popular reservoir reserves open to the public throughout May here on the Reservoirs SA website.