Built between 1899 and 1903, the Barossa Reservoir is an unexpected attraction in Adelaide.
Jump out of the car and stretch your legs for a while or bring your lunch with you and enjoy it at the nearby picnic area. Whatever you choose to do, remember to check out the wall!
What is the Whispering Wall?
The Whispering Wall is the retaining wall of the Barossa Reservoir. The wall has gained fame for its miraculous ability to travel sound end to end. The wall was revolutionary at its time of construction over 100 years ago and today it is still a magnificent feat of engineering.
Send your friend 140 meters to the opposite end of the wall and whisper your message to them. The unique acoustics of the wall means the message will travel to them clearly. Just like that, the wall lives up to its name!
A feat of engineering
The wall was incredibly built by hand over 4 four years at the turn of the 20th century. The damn has a parabola effect, caused by its perfect curve. If you duplicated and lined up the reservoir wall end to end, they would form a perfect circle, and it’s that exact curve that carries sound so perfectly end to end.
The construction effort took over 400 men to complete, and at the bottom of the 36-meter wall you can see the old cabins used by the men who built the dam. The damn was so impressive at the time it even made its way into Scientific American, a testament to the great work completed.
In 2008, 104 years after it was first completed, the Engineers Australia Engineering Heritage Recognition Program recognised the dam and laid a marker at the wall. There are other interpretive signs here that also share information about the reservoir and the wall.
Once you’ve had some fun whispering at each other and sharing secret messages, take some time to sit in silence and listen to your surrounds.
The wetlands around the reservoir are all protected areas and many species thrive here. Listen for native birds calling and mating. Keep your eyes on the sky and watch for flashes of colour soaring through the sky. If you’re very lucky, you might even see a few nests among the upper branches of the nearby gum trees.
Birds aren’t the only native animals that live in these parts. Koala and kangaroo are known to appear around the dam, wandering through the protected lands. If you see any, remember to stay quiet and watch them from afar, they might look cute and cuddly, but they are still wild animals and should be left alone!
The Whispering Wall is a fantastic short stop on any road trip around Adelaide. No matter how much time you have, a stop at the Whispering Wall is a fun and free treat for the family!