Water holes on the South Para River

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Water holes on the South Para River - as told to Colin Hillier by Mr Doug Rau Aug 1994

In the early 1900's, Gawler had a strong fishing club. They stocked & fished the South Para River. I suppose they fished locally for convenience; no motor cars as we have today.

The beautiful water holes along the river were named by the members so they could identify where the fish were being caught. These holes have all but disappeared; one reason given is that agriculture along the river caused silt to be carried into the river by water run off.

Building Reservoirs stopped the frequent flooding which would scour out & keep the holes clear. With the silt came reed growth, saplings and other undergrowth & finally death of most of the holes. The first 1000 Rainbow Trout were purchased from the Ballarat Hatchery. The fish were transported in cans on the Melbourne express to Adelaide,. The Gawler club members brought them to Gawler. Mr Jim McKenzie & his old Ford truck were hired and the fish taken up the One Tree Hill road to the black tank (note 1) The cans were then carried down to the river & fish released .These fish disappeared out to sea with the first flood.

A batch of 2000 Brown Trout Fingerlings were then obtained and these proved a success as they stayed in the river and grew.They later proved wily opponents for club members & no doubt Trout nappers as well.

The list starts at Dead Mans Pass & goes up stream

Brake Ghost hole , Bend, Duck , Nichalmass , Eckermans , Black Bobs, Massa Bennet (note 4), Drip Spring (note 5 ), Rocky Hill , Red banks , Yacka Hill, Rocky Basin Reserve (note 6), Turtle Pump (note 1) , Days , The Ghost, Yatta Creek, Swallows Nest, Boomerang, Boat (note 2) Kero Tin (note 7) , Trout , Lillicraps Hill, Waters (note 8), Water Cress Gully , Tea Tree, Stretch, Stars Creek (note 3), Lightening Bend, McKenzies Flat, Devils Nose, Misery Farm (note 9), Barossa Weir .

Note 1 The skeleton of the old black tank can be seen left of the One Tree Hill road on a by road leading to Mr Jim Riggs' home water was pumped from the river (pump hole) & stored in the black tank then reticulated round the Riggs property. The steel tank on the west side of the road is a later tank &still in use.

Note 2 The Thomas family kept a row boat on this hole for many years Wonder where the vandals were in those days.

Note 3 Stars Creek Old Aboriginal drawings can be found in a cave near by. The cave is now fenced off but too late the drawings have been defaced & smoke from fires to create light to view the drawings have not helped to preserve them.

Note 4 A cave near here was the hone of Mr Leo Peirce.

Note 5 The site of a E&WS weir & guaging station.

Note 6 This was a crossing point & camping place for bullock teams coming through from Barossa.

Note 7 A rusty four gallon Kero tin hung in a tree for many years at this point.

Note 8 The Waters family had a home at this spot.

Note 9 Misery Farm at one time was owned by Mr Dick Kennewell. Mrs Jim McCabe of Willaston formerly Gladys Kennewell lived there as a girl.

Constructions both old & new on the South Para River (1994) Warren Reservoir , old bridge and new bridge on Williamstown – Kersbrook Rd, South Para Reservoir , Barossa Weir, E&WS Weir, Pipe Line, The Brake (wood) demolished , The Brake (stone) still in place(in 1994) , Swing Bridge Dead mans pass demolished , Ford, Mill Inn Road bridge ,The punt almost behind Baptist Church (long gone), Barrage demolished c1932/3, Swing Bridge Goose Island demolished, Concrete bridge Barrage demolished c1917 , Taylor Bros suspended waste water channel demolished , Swing bridge demolished , Concrete bridge, Ford, Stepping stones gone, Rail bridge behind oval Flax mill swing bridge, Thumms winery ,Ford , Flax mill , E&WS Weir, Flying Fox long gone , Ford Clonlea, Sand co Steam Grab c1910/14, Murray road Swing bridge demolished , Ford, Steel sand trap demolished by flood , Willaston bridge, The Plank Brown St before 1928 , Swing bridge Brown St after 1928 demolished, Concrete bridge, Swing bridge Poldons almost behind Netball courts demolished 1911 flood . E&WS Weir, Black rail bridge Roseworthy line, Swing bridge Paternosters - demolished, Winchels bridge - ford demolished, Flying Fox private milk cans & people at flood time - demolished , Swing bridge Clifford road - demolished, swing bridge River banks road existing unuseable , Angle Vale wood bridge National Trust, Angle Vale concrete Ford, Rail bridge , Bridge old Pt Wakefield Road, Bridge dual highway.