Remarkable Engineering Feat
The Whispering Wall is a remarkable engineering feat located in the southern part of the Barossa Valley of South Australia. It is a part of the dam wall at the Barossa Reservoir, built to supply water to nearby towns just outside of Williamstown. Construction started in 1899 and was completed in 1902.
This curved retaining dam wall of the Barossa Reservoir spans a length of 144 metres (472 ft) and stands at a height of 36 metres (approx 9 storeys). When built, the reservoir was hailed as an engineering marvel with the highest dam wall in Australia.
Constructed using local materials, including dolomite and limestone, the dam features a curve that follows the valley’s contours.
This curve makes the Whispering Wall special, as it entertainingly carries sound waves over long distances with surprising clarity. The effect is achieved through a phenomenon known as the ‘parabolic reflector effect,’ which occurs when sound waves bounce off the curved surface of the wall and converge at a focal point.
Visitors to the Whispering Wall can stand at one end and whisper into the wall, and their words can be heard clearly by someone standing at the other end, 144 meters away.
Just like that, the wall lives up to its name!
In addition to its recreational value, the Whispering Wall has also been used for scientific research. Acousticians have studied the wall to better understand the principles of sound transmission and the effects of temperature and humidity on sound waves.
Protected Conservation Reserves
The wetlands around the reservoir are protected areas, and many species thrive here. Listen for native birds calling and mating. Keep your eyes on the sky and watch for flashes of colour soaring through the sky. If you’re fortunate, you might even see a few native parrot nests among the upper branches of the nearby gum trees.
Birds aren’t the only native animals that live in these parts. Koalas and kangaroos are known to appear around the dam, wandering through the protected lands. If you see any, remember to stay quiet and watch them from afar, they might look cute and cuddly, but they are still wild animals and should be left alone!
Pack a Picnic
Located just a short twelve minute drive from Wilsford House, the Whispering Wall is a spectacular place to visit. The surrounding area includes walking trails and picnic spots. There is also a visitor station that provides information about the history of the wall, the local flora and fauna, and the engineering behind its design.
The reserve is free to enter; it features picnic areas, a nature playground, a lookout and public toilets.
The Whispering Wall is open from 9.00am to 5.00pm and facilities include:
- Free entry
When staying with us at Wilsford House, why not ask us to pack you a picnic lunch so you can explore this unique destination.