The Mary Ann mining lease was pegged and worked by Nugget Wilson and Bill Howes, who together owned half a share, the other half being held by Harold Williams. Nugget Wilson and Harold Williams named the mine “Mary Ann” after their daughters Mary Jean and Wendy Ann. The water course on the lease was also became known as Mary Ann Creek.
As early as 1947 and later again in 1954/55 the site was investigated as a water source for both Tennant Creek township and the Peko Mine. In 1977 several local residents proposed that a dam be constructed to create a recreational lake close to Tennant Creek. That proposal was investigated in detail by several parties and resulted in the NT Government supporting the existing design for construction 1979/80.
Designer – Gutteridge, Haskin and Davey
Contractor – Macmahon Construction Pty Ltd
Supervised – Department of Transport and Works, Tennant Creek
Project Value – $804,000.00
Construction period – Commenced September 1979. Completed April 1980.
The dam consists of an embankment 143m long, constructed from natural rock material with a concrete facing on the upstream side. The wall is 36m thick at its base and 5m wide at the top and is 11m above the natural water level, with a reinforced concrete spillway 50m long.
The dam overflowed for the first time on Friday 23 January 1981 after receiving a rainfall of 66mm on the 19 January 1981.