The Whroo Dam

The Whroo Dam

Mallee, Victoria

The Whroo Dam is a large shire dam, situated about 10km west of Ultima and 29km east of Sea Lake on the Sea Lake Road. It was two or three times bigger than the usual dams, which were in place to enable people to water their stock, and for travellers to do likewise, because in the early days of settlement travellers moved about on horseback, in a gig, buggy or wagon, and needed access to water for their animals.

The Whroo Dam is surrounded by a large patch of Mallee scrub, some of the trees being quite large and very old. The Dam no longer gets filled annually by the State river channel system because the channel system has now been replaced by pipes.

Sometime in the 1980s I was planning to take my class of students out to the Whroo dam and I mentioned this to the Education Officer at the Pioneer Settlement during a visit there. The Education Officer, an Aboriginal guide, was immediately interested and offered to accompany us to the Whroo Dam on a study tour.

The guide's name was Douglas Nicholls, the son of Sir Douglas Nicholls, Governor of South Australia and one-time champion Fitzroy footballer. He said that he had been aware of the significance of the Whroo Dam area for some time having had some Aboriginal artefacts from this area carbon-dated which had been estimated to have been used by Aborigines at least 40,000 years ago.

The Whroo Dam
Pronounced "Roo".
"Whroo" the word means "Lips".
Another meaning is that it is a word for natural spring.
The word refers to a small natural basin in hilly terrain which holds spring water.