Located in Canberra and a National Engineering Landmark and on the Register of National Estate, Scrivener Dam is a concrete gravity dam that impounds Molonglo River and creates Lake Burley Griffin. Established for recreational and ornamental purposes, it is also ranked fifth of 25 dams in Australia with heritage listing.
Scrivener Dam was named in honour of surveyor Charles Scrivener (1855-1923), who recommended the site in 1909. The Dam's official filling of the lake was commemorated on 17 October 1964 by Prime Minister Robert Menzies.
Work on the lake and dam began in September 1960 and moved faster than expected due to drought, however, it took longer than expected to fill up the lake. For nearly seven years, there was just a trickle of water and few pools. The lake eventually filled up when the drought broke and the rains came just before a rowing championship scheduled for April 1964.
The lake filled in a few days uniting the two halves of Canberra's city, making Canberra's description as two villages separated by a floodplain a distant memory.
The walking path leading to the bridge where top views of the Dam can be seen
It took 55,000 cubic metres of concrete to build the dam with a wall thickness of 19.7 metres and holding back 33 million cubic metres of water with a surface area of 664 hectares (approx. seven square kilometres).
Views of Scrivener Dam & Telstra Tower can be seen at the top of the bridge
The dam is 33-metres high and 319 metres long with a five-bay spillway controlled by 30.5 metres wide, hydraulically operated fish-belly flap gates. The German-designed and built fish-belly gates are rare in Australia and allow for perfect water level control.
The five gates have only been opened simultaneously once in the dam's history, during heavy flooding in 1976.