Heritage protection

We protect the heritage of our land by ensuring that works are properly planned for. If we identify an unregistered item of heritage significance, we take appropriate steps to either avoid impacting these items or recover these items in accordance with the ACT Heritage Act 2004.

The Cotter

The catchment was a traditional dwelling point for Aboriginal people with an abundance of Aboriginal cultural history.  To ensure that the Cotter’s indigenous history was recorded for present and future generations, comprehensive heritage salvage and archival recording programs were undertaken when enlarging the Cotter Dam.

Cotter Pumping Station

Cotter Pumping Station Precinct, located on Cotter Road near the crossing of the Murrumbidgee River, was listed on the ACT Heritage Register on 9 November 2000. The following items are identified in the Register citation as being intrinsic to the significance of the place:

  • The Pump House and Transformer House;
  • Mechanical Plant and equipment used in the pumping operations;
  • The salvaged Hydro Pump now located in the Transformer Building; and
  • The ruin of the Blockhouse in which the hydro pump was originally located

The site is also included on the following Heritage Registers:
1. Register of National Estate as:

  • Cotter Pumping Station and Electricity Substation - Registered 11/8/087 ID 1362
  • Cotter Pumping Station Precinct - Registered 25/3/86 ID 102447

2. RAIA Register of Significant 20th Century Architecture (R064).

3. National Trust of Australia (ACT) Register of Classified Places. Classified in 1983.

A Conservation Management Plan has been in place and updated regularly since 2006. Icon Water personnel with responsibility for the day-to-day management of these assets have undergone heritage awareness toolbox training and been provided with information regarding the location, nature, extent and condition of these sites to protect this wonderful working infrastructure recognised as part of Canberra’s heritage.


Aboriginal Heritage

A detailed collection of Aboriginal artefacts was conducted by Aboriginal representatives from the Ngunnawal and Ngarigo Aboriginal groups over the Cotter Dam construction and inundation site.

Around 4,000 artefacts were collected ranging from stone cutting tools and axe heads to grinding stones. In addition, both Aboriginal and European artefact material including artworks, photography and films of the past and the present were recorded.

In August 2013 a Return to Country ceremony was conducted as the Aboriginal artefacts were placed in a carefully selected site overlooking a reach of the dam.

European Heritage

The cultural heritage of the Cotter River is celebrated through the Cotter Dam Discovery Trail, a 1.4 kilometre trail built to showcase the history and heritage of the area and its significance to the Canberra community as well as providing direct views of the Cotter Dam.