Edge of Gordon Dam and lake

Edge of Gordon Dam and lake by Tangerineduel – Wikimedia Commons

Top 10 Unbelievable Facts about Gordon Dam


 

The Gordon Dam, also known as the Gordon River Dam, is a major gated double curvature concrete arch dam with a controlled spillway across the Gordon River, located in South West Tasmania, Australia. The impounded reservoir is called Lake Gordon.

The dam was constructed in 1974 by the Hydro Electric Corporation (TAS) for the purpose of generating hydroelectric power via the conventional Gordon Power Station located below the dam wall. 

Here are the top 10 unbelievable facts about Gordon dam.

1. The Gordon Dam is the  fifth-tallest in Australia

The Gordon Dam wall, constructed with 154 thousand cubic meters of concrete, is 198 meters 650 ft. long and 140 meters 460 ft. high, making it the tallest dam in Tasmania and the fifth-tallest in Australia. 

At 100% capacity, the dam wall holds back 12,359,040 thousand cubic meters 436,455×106 cu ft of water; making Lake Gordon the largest lake in Australia. The surface area of the lake is 27,800 hectares (69,000 acres) and the catchment area is 2,014 square kilometers (778 sq mi). The single controlled spillway is capable of discharging 175 cubic meters per second 6,200 cu ft/s.

Approximately 48 arch dams have been built in Australia and only nine have double curvature. Gordon Dam is almost twice the height of the next highest arch dam, Tumut Pondage. 

2. The Gordon Dam was the only dam built on the Gordon River

Gordon's Dam Tasmania

Gordon’s Dam Tasmania by RahMan911 – Wikimedia Commons

Despite the support of Tasmanian politicians such as Eric Reece, Robin Gray, and others to build the Franklin Dam further downstream. The construction of Gordon Dam resulted in some flooding of the connected Lake Pedder as planned. Subsequent opposition to restoring Lake Pedder failed after a Parliamentary inquiry in 1995. 

The dam was designed with Dr. Sergio Guidici as the chief engineer. He went on to be involved with the design of the Crotty Dam in the West Coast Range, one of the last significant dams created by Hydro Tasmania during its unabated dam-building era.

3. The Gordon Dam was designed with Dr. Sergio Guidici as the chief engineer

He went on to be involved with the design of the Crotty Dam in the West Coast Range, one of the last significant dams created by Hydro Tasmania during its unabated dam-building era. The dam is connected with the Gordon River Power Station, 183 meters (600 ft) under the surface of the switch yard.

In 2015, the Perth-based YouTube channel How Ridiculous broke the world record for the world’s highest basketball shot at Gordon dam, though this record has since been surpassed by How Ridiculous itself twice over.

4. The Gordon Dam is connected with the Gordon River Power Station

Gordon Dam, Southwest National Park, Tasmania, Australia.

Gordon Dam, Southwest National Park, Tasmania, Australia. by JJ Harrison – Wikimedia Commons

The dam is connected with the Gordon River Power Station, 183 meters (600 ft) under the surface of the switch yard.

In 2015, the Perth-based YouTube channel How Ridiculous broke the world record for the world’s highest basketball shot at Gordon dam, though this record has since been surpassed by How Ridiculous itself twice over.

5. The Gordon Dam is listed as a National Engineering Landmark

The dam is listed as a National Engineering Landmark by Engineers Australia as part of its Engineering Heritage Recognition Program. 

The Institution of Engineers Australia, often shortened to IEAust and/or trading as Engineers Australia (EA), is a professional body and not-for-profit organization dedicated to being the national forum for the advancement of the engineering field within Australia. 

It is a member of the Washington Accord. As of 2017, it has around 100,000 members in nine geographic Divisions and five international chapters from all engineering disciplines, including 41,000 Students, 4,400 Engineering Technologists, and Engineering Associates, and 55,600 Professional Engineers.

6. The Gordon Dam is home to spectacular flora and fauna

Edge of Gordon Dam and lake

Edge of Gordon Dam and lake by Tangerineduel – Wikimedia Commons

The Gordon River is one of Tasmania’s wild treasures. In fact, it is one of the pristine rivers that carve deep gorges into the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. 

It is home to a treasure trove of spectacular flora and fauna, and it’s all there for you to explore and enjoy.

7. The Gordon Dam produces 13% of Tasmania’s energy

The dam descends into the ground 183 meters into the ground to form its power station. It contains 3 turbines that can crank out 432 megawatts of power which produces 13% of Tasmania’s energy. 

The arched wall holds back an astounding 12,359,040 megaliters of water with over 154,000 cubic meters of concrete. It’s one of nine double-curvature dams in Australia.

8. The Gordon Dam was commissioned by parliament in 1963 with a $5 million grant

Gordon Dam

Gordon Dam by Tangerineduel – Wikimedia Commons

In 1963, the Australian Government provided a A$5 million grant to Tasmania’s Hydro-Electric Commission to build the Gordon River Road from Maydena into the Gordon River area in the South West Wilderness region.

 Construction was underway by 1964, and within three years, the Tasmanian State Parliament approved the Gordon River Power Development with little in-house opposition in 1967. Power operation began in 1978, and a third generator was added in 1988.

9. Visitors flock to the Gordon Dam for its impressive size and double curvature

Engineering fans flock to the Gordon Dam for its impressive size and double curvature. You’ll also find plenty of nature lovers on a drive through the Franklin-Gordon National Park and the Tasmania World Heritage Area. But the most extreme visitors to the dam are adrenaline junkies.

In the middle, you have the opportunity to abseil the dam. The 140-meter descent might be hair-raising, but it’s the hike back up to the top that might be the more arduous.

10. It’s a bit cooler near the Gordon Dam than most of Tasmania

The temperature can dip below freezing so you’ll have to be careful of ice on the roads and dams during winter. The area also receives an impressive amount of rain which gives rise to all the waterways in the area. 

It is recommended to always pack some warm clothing that is rain resistant.