A unique Crown land reserve in the Central West that is home to a NSW engineering marvel and stunning scenery has been reopened to the public after a 30 year hiatus.
Public access to Junction Reefs Recreation Reserve, near Mandurama, had been restricted by a gold mining lease on the site since 1991.
Now the community is again officially welcome to visit the reserve after the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands negotiated access with mining company OceanaGold and the Junction Reefs Land Manager Board.
Visitors can view the historic Junction Reefs Dam (also known as Belubula Dam) and its distinctive arches and brick curves, as well as a waterfall at the site located on the Belubula River.
The dam, which is listed on the State Heritage Register, is the only one of its type in NSW, and is considered an engineering icon as the first multi-arched dam built in Australia.
It was designed and built by civil engineer Oscar Shulze in 1896, in a ravine above a crushing mill, to provide hydropower for gold extraction and water supply during the gold rush. This was the first hydro-electric power plant in NSW.
A toilet block and picnic table have been constructed for visitors, and livestock grids and fencing installed at the reserve and nearby Bakers Shaft Reserve to control cattle movements and improve access for visitors.
Promoting tourism opportunities on Crown land is among the priorities of the Crown land 2031 state strategic plan.