Myponga Historical Society gear up for History Month in May with an online collection of photos and clippings

Merilyn McLaren and husband Colin (Pud) have teamed with SA Water to share online so much history of the region.
Merilyn McLaren and husband Colin (Pud) have teamed with SA Water to share online so much history of the region.

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 publicly accessible Myponga Reservoir Reserve.

But measures needed to tackle COVID-19 meant the efforts to co-ordinate events and dedications for the festival had to be stopped, with information and pictures gathered about the town, dairy farming district and of course, the landmark reservoir, potentially unable 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 on Monday, May 3.

The impressive collection of photos, news stories, books and brochures chronicle the construction of the dam wall which began in 1957 and the incredible change to the small farming town landscape when Lovely Valley was flooded at the completion of that work in 1962.

Myponga Dam construction.

Myponga Dam construction.

The collection, which the McLaren's had put back into storage at their home, will now be shared online by SA Water 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 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.

These are the types of details the Myponga Heritage Society have unearthed, and now will be shared online at sawater.com.au to tell the rich history of the reservoir and dam wall construction.

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