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25 June 1867 The Torrens Lake

 25 June 1867   The Torrens Lake

On 25 June 1867 the Register reported: 'Although the Torrens dam has not been swept away ... boating on the silvery bosom of the river is as effectivilly (sic) stopped as if it had'. In fact the lake had been drained to allow for the laying of the foundations for the Morphett Street (Victoria) bridge which was opened for traffic in June 1870. Earlier Thomas Worsnop, the Town Clerk, had written:

The so-called River Torrens is nothing more than a mountain torrent in the wet season, and in summer a petty stream, which in England would scarcely be termed a brook. The winter ravages destroy the high banks, from the rush of waters gathered by the mountain range which lies to the east of Adelaide. They are at all times unsightly, and nothing that had been done (or, indeed has been done up to the present time) had made any great change in their appearance.

The appearance of the river in the city had been a contentious issue for years and after the timber dam, built in 1862, was washed away in floods in 1872 the call for a substantial and effective dam became more vocal.

Despite popular outcry, the city council did not complete a new stone weir until 1881.

Derek Smith, C.R. Twidale, An Historical Account of the Flooding and Related Events in the Torrens River System, Volume I, 1836-1899,
University of Adelaide, E&WS Department, 1987.
Thomas Worsnop, A History of the City of Adelaide,  1878, p. 235.

Tags: Torrens Lake

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