CQ couple recognised for restoring century old dam
ON SUNDAY, Builyan residents Frank and Barb McKee were recognised for the dedication and hard work they put in to restoring the Many Peaks dam.
For the couple it has been a labour of love for more than 30 years.
"When we first moved into the area, all the old people told us about the lovely picnics they used to have at the dam," Mr McKee said.
The dam had been built in 1910 to fill the water tank in Many Peaks for the steam trains running up to the valley.
The steam trains were replaced by diesels which didn't require water to run, but the old tank behind Many Peaks pub was still being gravity fed from the dam to supply water to the township.
"The whole thing fell into disrepair, the dam silted up and the valves had seized," Mr McKee said.
"Because it was railway property it was illegal to get in there but once they handed it over to the Calliope Shire council I was in there."
Mr McKee, helped by other locals, set about restoring the dam in their spare time.
"We were in there working like rats in a sewer to get it all working again," he said.
"Cookes, or Graham Allen Earthmoving as it was known then, did a massive amount of work.
"After 45 years of siphoning water we were able to restore the town water system again.
"GPC removed about 10,000 cubic metres of silt and QR repaired the tank which is now used by the rural fire brigade."
The area is now Gladstone Regional Council's responsibility.
"I think they're doing a fantastic job," Mr McKee said.
"The outlook walkway is great."
The outlook has been named after Mr and Mrs McKee and a plaque thanking them for their efforts was unveiled by Mayor Matt Burnett.
The community, along with councillors Rick Hansen and Desley O'Grady, turned out to celebrate the event.
"There's still plenty to be done," Mr McKee said.
"I'd like to fix the wall, but that's a bit out of my league.
"It might be time for Barb and I to have a bit of a holiday first though."