The Barossa Valley is best-known for its connections to the wine industry, but it is also home to some impressive attractions, like the Whispering Wall. Set in the Barossa Reservoir, just outside of Williamstown in the Valley, this wall is over 110 years old and is unique because of its musical abilities.
Erected over three years between 1900 and 1903, the wall was intended to act as a back-up water supply for the ever-growing population of nearby Gawler. Some of the earlier settlers had been using water from the well in South Para River, but there were concerns that the water wasn’t clean enough, hence the decision to start building the wall on the site of the Yettie Creek Gorge.
Soaring 9-storeys skyward, the concave wall was, at one point in time, the highest dam in the country and continues to draw in visitors every year despite not holding that title anymore.
So why is the Whispering Wall so special?
For many, the wall speaks to them. Whispered words can be heard from the other end of the dam 140 metres away, despite the incredible distance. Try it for yourself – hold a conversation with someone from side to side and see how much you can hear.
How Does the Wall Work?
No, it’s not some magical feature. The whispers can be heard thanks to the parabola effect. The wall creates one part of a perfect circle, causing the soundwaves that hit it to bounce in a number of jumps to the other end – meaning sound travels really well.
Other Things to See at the Whispering Wall
As well as marvelling at the incredible structure and its strange acoustic abilities, there are plenty of other things to see and do around the Whispering Wall. The entire area it is set in is now a protected area for a number of native species, including unique pink gums and pine trees. Aside from the plant life in the area, you can also see plenty of bird species – in fact, the Whispering Wall and its surrounds make the perfect place for birdwatching.
If you’re in the Barossa Valley, make sure you set aside some time to visit this manmade wonder. Try out your whisper and see if you can be heard on the other side and keep your eyes peeled for some of Australia’s top native creatures that call the site home.