The Cotter dam water supply system (together with the Kingston Power Station) was the first major public work undertaken in the establishment of the national capital in the Australian Capital Territory. It was an essential element in the infrastructure of Canberra for over fifty years and its modification and expansion reflected the progress of the growing city. (The recent decision of the ACT Government to increase the capacity of the Cotter Dam continues this tradition of ongoing development.)

Although never the site of ground breaking technology, the Cotter Precinct does provide intact examples of the technology of the times and the progression of electrical and hydraulic engineering in the water supply discipline. It provides a rare opportunity for the public to view in one compact location, all stages of a system to supply water to a developing city.

Commenced in 1913 and completed in 1916, the Precinct has undergone 10 more periods of modification and development since then and is being expanded again. Its construction and operation has been associated with many persons who were important in the selection and development of Canberra as the national capital.

On 15th October 2000, the Institution of Engineers, Australia - now Engineers Australia - unveiled an Historic Engineering Marker on the pumping station recognising the engineering heritage of the Precinct.

The Cotter River Dam Precinct is located at the confluence of the Cotter and Murrumbidgee Rivers about 20 kms southwest of Canberra and includes the dam, the pumping station, the pipeline, staff housing, road and pedestrian bridges, the hydro pump and other engineering and recreational facilities.

Visit to Cotter Dam by English Speaking Union members 1926 (with dam at its original height)

Old Cotter Dam as it was in 2010.
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