History of the Zig Zag Railway Dams

Information coming soon - anyone that can assist with historical information are urged to contact us - refer the Contact Us email address

History of the Recreational Asset

Dargan Creek Reserve (R1014490) was originally gazetted as R190027 for Public Recreation on 9 December 1988 and was under the care, control and management of the Central Tablelands Heritage Lands Trust (CTHLT). The Reserve has a history of being used for recreation; specifically swimming in the disused dams and rock climbing. The disused dams were historically used for supplying water to the steam trains at the Zig Zag Railway located north of Dargan Creek Reserve, on the other side of Chifley Road. The dams are used as a popular swimming hole by local residents. The climbing occurs on various cliffs within and adjacent to the Reserve such as ‘Cosmic County’, the ‘Dam Cliffs’ and the ‘Freezer’.  There has been a long history of access issues relating to the dams and rock climbing areas through the Reserve. Because of these issues the status was revoked on 12 May 2000 and the land became vacant crown land and was no longer under the management of CTHLT. In January 2007 Department closed the Reserve after being made aware of the high risk issues associated with the dams. The Department conducted a risk assessment which identified that there were significant hazards present that could result in serious harm to people using the dams such as trip hazards, exposed metal edges and unfenced dam walls. The Department closed the Reserve and asked RailCorp to install a gate at the top of the easement to block vehicle access. The community was strongly opposed to closing the Reserve and the gate was vandalised and removed. The Department had also received requests from commercial operators for access licences to continue commercial trips into the Reserve. In accordance with the Dams Safety Act 1978, the Department commissioned GHD to conduct a structural assessment of the dams. The assessment found that both the upper and lower dams were in satisfactory condition however highlighted that there were significant risks to the public as a recreational area. The DSC recommended the installation of a number of safety fences and locked gates to prevent the public from accessing the dam walls. They also recommended the removal of disused steel infrastructure and undertaking routine safety surveillance. The Department addressed these risks by installing gates across the dam walls and signage to make people aware of the risks in the area. Signage was vandalised and not all of the safety recommendations have been implemented due to limited funds.  As a result of the ongoing access issues, the Department organised a community consultation at Clarence on 27 November 2007 facilitating a discussion about access issues, risk associated with the dams and other conflicting use issues. There is no formal record of the outcomes of this meeting however the need for a Plan of Management for Dargan Creek Reserve was raised. On 29 February 2008 the Reserve was re-gazetted for Public Recreation under the management of Dargan Creek Reserve Trust.

The Dargans Creek Reserve Trust members have been working on improving facilities, improving road access, development of a fire management plan and undertaking rehabilitation of endangered shrub swamp areas.

Visitors to the Dargans Creek Reserve are reminded of the risks involved in undertaking recreational activities within the reserve particularly swimming and rock climbing and that persons utilizing the reserve  are responsible for their own safety. Signage has been erected warning of these risks but some of these signs have been removed and vandalized. The Reserve Trust team are committed to replacing these signs as funding permits but would like to use this web site as a further reminder and give notice of the risks in recreational activities within this wonderful reserve.