CRDC R&D Manager Susan Maas, who lives in Emerald, with Tracey Geddes from the Central Highland Cotton Growers and Irrigators Association at the book’s launch.

A 'dam' good read

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August 26, 2019

A new book has been launched which chronicles the story and those involved in the construction of the Fairbairn Dam in Central Queensland and the impact of the first 40 years of its operation.

A Dam Good Story: 40 years of Irrigation from the Fairbairn Dam came about with support from one the early grants awarded under CRDC’s Grassroots Grants Program back in 2012, to the Central Highland Cotton Growers and Irrigators Association (CHCG&IA).

The official book launch last week showcased the book’s beautiful historic photos, as well as “our history and stories that are a precious record of our farming families and local community”, according to CHCG&IA’s Tracey Geddes.

At an impressive ceremony in October 1968, construction of the Fairbairn Dam was officially launched with three explosions set off by the then National Development Minister, the Hon D. Fairbairn to inaugurate construction on the Nogoa River, 25km southwest of Emerald.

Construction was complete by 1972 and as a result, Lake Maraboon became the second largest lake in Queensland, with a holding capacity of up to three times that of Sydney Harbour. The development enabled the establishment of the Emerald Irrigation Scheme and the beginning of the diverse agricultural opportunities it provided farmers across the region. 

“It may have been seven years in the making, but as a final report, it is probably the most beautiful and interesting report I’ve ever received,” CRDC R&D Manager Susan Maas said.

“The project team, and especially Tracey Geddes are to be commended on their tremendous effort on this project.

“Tracey put in countless hours on the phone, meeting with people to collect stories and data and overall keeping the book rolling. Her contribution as a volunteer to keep the project going and getting it to completion was invaluable, along with her small band of local volunteer helpers.”