One of the largest dams in the world
A triumph of engineering when it was built in the years after World War 1, Hume Dam caught the public imagination in the same way the Snowy Mountains Scheme did after World War II. When finished in 1936, Hume Dam was the biggest in the southern hemisphere and one of the largest in the world.
Today the dam continues to play a critical role in capturing winter and spring rainfall from the Australian Alps and releasing it to regulate the flow of the River Murray. As well as irrigation, the dam supplies stock and household needs for towns and landholders along the Murray River across three states, and is used for flood mitigation and hydro-electricity.
Walk across the dam wall for spectacular views east to Lake Hume and west to the River Murray. The 318-metre long concrete spillway is 51 metres high with a short earth embankment on the NSW side and a 1.2 kilometre long embankment across the river flats on the Victorian side, making a total length of 1.6 kilometres.
A viewing platform on the northern (NSW) side of the dam wall provides spectacular views of the lake and countryside.
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Camping is permitted within a number of caravan parks surrounding Lake Hume’s foreshores, and these include a range of other accommodation options.
Lake Hume is a popular destination for boating, water skiing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking and jet skiing. The lake offers a large expanse of water with multiple access points for boats and vehicles. The lake is divided between NSW and Victoria at Bethanga Bridge. Most boat ramps are located on the Victorian foreshore.
Fishing is a popular recreational activity at Lake Hume. The lake is stocked each year with golden perch, and brown and rainbow trout. Murray cod are stocked in the Mitta River upstream of Lake Hume. Redfin and carp are also caught in the lake.
You must have a current Victorian fishing licence, regardless of where you fish or for how long. Fishing licences are available for purchase at many local shops and from the Victorian Fisheries Authority.
Hume Dam is 16 kilometres east of Albury on the NSW-Victorian border. Albury is 550 kilometres south-west of Sydney via the Hume Highway.
Hume Dam is situated just below the junction of the Murray and Mitta Mitta rivers, 16 kilometres east of Albury on the NSW-Victorian border. The dam is about 550 kilometres south-west of Sydney, and about 300 kilometres downstream from where the Murray rises on the Great Dividing Range.Find out more
Hume Dam is situated just below the junction of the Murray and Mitta Mitta rivers, 16 kilometres east of Albury on the NSW-Victorian border. The dam is about 550 kilometres south-west of Sydney, and about 300 kilometres downstream from where the Murray rises on the Great Dividing Range.
Hume Dam holds a maximum of 3,005,156 megalitres, about six times the volume of Sydney Harbour. The dam’s catchment area of 15,300 square kilometres, two thirds of which is in Victoria, includes much of the rugged Australian Alps where annual rainfall can exceed 2000mm. Flows from the Snowy River may also be diverted into the catchment by the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme.
The dam is named after Hamilton Hume, the first European to explore the river upstream of Albury in 1824.
By the 1860s landholders were discussing ways of controlling the Murray River’s waters for better navigation, irrigation, and flood and drought control. The broader Australian community also saw the need for a dam to store winter and spring rainfall from the Australian Alps for summer release.
It was another 50 years until formal agreement to share water was reached between the Australian, NSW, Victorian and South Australian governments. Work on Hume Dam finally started in 1919 and took 17 years to complete.
When finished in 1936, Hume Dam was the biggest in the southern hemisphere and one of the world’s largest. It was hailed alongside Sydney Harbour Bridge as one of the mightiest Australian structures of the inter-war years and was one of the first great inter-government cooperative projects facilitated by Federation.
Today, Hume Reservoir is the main storage on the River Murray system. It supplies water across three states for irrigated agriculture, environmental flows, town supplies, industry and domestic requirements, flood mitigation and recreation. Energy is produced by a 60 megawatt hydroelectric power station. The dam also supplements water supplies to South Australia from Lake Victoria and Menindee Lakes.
The original structure at Hume Dam consisted of a concrete gravity section containing the spillway and outlet works across the river bed, a long earth embankment with a concrete core wall across the river flats on the southern (Victorian) end, and a short earth embankment on the northern (NSW) end. The curve of the dam wall follows a line of granite bedrock.
Construction began in 1919 and continued during the Great Depression until the project was finished in 1936. At its peak, over 1000 tradesmen and labourers used steam engines, horse-drawn carts and manual labour to build the massive dam.
Later, the Snowy Mountains Scheme resulted in increased flows in the River Murray and, as part of the scheme, it was agreed to double the storage to its current capacity of 3,005,000 megalitres.
Between 1950 and 1961, the dam was enlarged by adding 29 spillway gates on the main dam wall, building two extra earth embankments to prevent water flowing out through low saddles on the Victorian side, and placing post-tensioning cables through the dam wall to anchor it to the bedrock.
These works involved a large number of post-war migrants, the relocation of Tallangatta township, and the raising of Bethanga Bridge.
To meet modern dam safety standards, structural improvements were made during the 1980s and 1990s. In 2010 a further program of improvements began to increase dam safety in the event of extreme flooding and earthquakes, and to upgrade the dam in line with contemporary best practice.
These works included an improved filter and drainage system between the concrete spillway and southern embankment, and construction of a 50,000 tonne concrete buttress wall to strengthen the southern training wall.
WaterNSW acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we work and pay our respects to all elders past, present and emerging. Learn more