Lack of water was the major challenge Southern Cross faced in the early days. Between 1888 and 1894, the only source of water to service the rapidly growing town was New Zealand Gully Dam obtained from rock holes and soaks (Hunts Soak).
As the railway reached Southern Cross from the coast in 1894, water was carted via rail from Northam over 260kms away. This was intended as a temporary measure and as the population continued to grow, the government considered it necessary for a large dam to be built. This led to the New Zealand Gully Dam site being selected, due to the considered good run off from the hills alongside.
Water was carted from New Zealand Gully Dam for 1½ miles to Southern Cross by horse and cart where it was sold for £1 per 100 gallons. Spring carts equipped with a water tank and fast horse were used to enable more than one trip a day to be carried out. Mostly the water was used for washing and for the animals, some 700 horses and camel teams operated in the area at the time.
In 1903, the Goldfields pipeline reached Southern Cross resulting in the New Zealand Gully Dam lying dormant until 1980. At this time, the area was sold to a local farmer who restored the dam into working order. He also introduced Marron and fish stock into the dam with moderate success. Eventually, with mining becoming more prominent the area was sold to a mining company.
Maori Lass was the name given to the Mine alongside this dam.
How to get there: From Great Eastern Highway, turn left onto Southern Cross South Road to Hyden. Travel for 2kms and you will reach the gate and entrance.
Address: Southern Cross South Road, Southern Cross 6426