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Whispering Wall at Williamstown, Barossa Valley

The Whispering Wall is at Williamstown in the beautiful Barrossa Valley. The Whispering Wall is the retaining wall of the Barossa Reservoir. Despite the occurrence of a tragedy in April 2021 (not considered to be safety-related), visitors can now enjoy an upgraded and improved experience thanks to SA Water.

Our Places

Whispering Wall at Williamstown, Barossa Valley

The Whispering Wall is at Williamstown in the beautiful Barrossa Valley. The Whispering Wall is the retaining wall of the Barossa Reservoir. Despite the occurrence of a tragedy in April 2021 (not considered to be safety-related), visitors can now enjoy an upgraded and improved experience thanks to SA Water.

Our Places

Whispering Wall at Williamstown, Barossa Valley

The Whispering Wall is at Williamstown in the beautiful Barrossa Valley. The Whispering Wall is the retaining wall of the Barossa Reservoir. Despite the occurrence of a tragedy in April 2021 (not considered to be safety-related), visitors can now enjoy an upgraded and improved experience thanks to SA Water.

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Barossa Reservoir

Barossa Reservoir is a popular tourist destination north of Adelaide and just an hour’s drive from the city.

Operated by SA Water, the Reservoir is close to Williamstown and Gawler, just south of the Barossa Valley, making it the ideal day trip from Adelaide.

The Reservoir is a protected area and you can see native plant species, including unique pink gums and pine trees. Aside from the plant life in the area, you can also see plenty of birds. Kangaroos and koalas also frequent the area.

YAdelaide is focused on resilience, heritage, culture and turnaround in the face of adversity. As part of our mission to uncover raw Adelaide and South Australia, we consider it appropriate to promote the Whispering Wall (fully respecting the tragedy that occurred). 

YAdelaide – People, Places, Promotion

Whispering Wall History

Built between 1899 and 1903, for its time of construction the dam was deemed a revolutionary engineering marvel. The dam attracted attention globally, even making its way into the pages of the journal Scientific American.

With a capacity of 4.4 gigalitres of water, the dam would fill 2,200 Olympic swimming pools!

Water from Barossa Reservoir is treated at the Barossa Water Treatment Plant before being supplied to 85,000 customers.

Whisper at the Whispering Wall and see if you can be heard over 100 metres away.

Acoustic Phenomenon

A unique feature of the reservoir is the unusual acoustic phenomenon created by the shape and location of the dam wall.

Sounds and voices, even a whisper, can be clearly heard at the other end of the dam, more than 100 metres away. Children in particular are fascinated by the wall and testing its acoustic abilities. Hence, it has been dubbed the Whispering Wall.

The whispers can be heard thanks to the parabola effect. The wall creates one part of a perfect circle. This causes sound waves that hit it to bounce in a number of jumps to the other end – meaning sound travels really well.

Whispers can be heard thanks to the parabola effect

Tragedy

In April 2021, there was a tragic incident and the attraction was temporarily closed and there has been limited access in place until an estimated point in December 2021. The tragedy wasn’t directly attributable to safety at the Whispering Wall dam but it was decided that there was room for improvements nonetheless (If you or someone you know needs urgent help, contact Lifeline immediately).

Whispering Wall Improvements & Upgrades

SA Water limited access to certain areas while improvements and upgrades were implemented.

This was part of a larger program to open up reservoirs to the SA community and SA Water have been developing the Barossa Reservoir with new pathways, more green spaces and improving the car parking and access ramps.

All efforts have been towards improving the experience so that tourists can enjoy, explore and preserve the Barossa Reservoir Reserve.

Plan your Visit

You can visit the wall from 9am-5pm and, being located only 50 kilometres outside of Adelaide, the Whispering Wall is a ‘must’ attraction and experience. As a family, you could plan to see it on the way to the Barossa Valley after heading through the picturesque Adelaide Hills and a stop at Barristers Block Winery (ideal for kids).

There are wheelchair accessible picnic areas as well as public toilets and car parking area. Dogs (other than guide dogs) are not permitted at reservoir reserves as they can carry harmful organisms that can easily contaminate the water and also pose a threat to local native birds and wildlife.

The Whispering Wall has been firmly restored in terms of its reputation for a place of beauty, scientific interest and heritage. Inquisitive visitors can learn about the history of the construction of the dam, take in the scenery of the water reserve and enjoy the colours and sounds of the peaceful bush setting.

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