Karalee Dam

Karalee Dam is a natural rock formation that was adapted to maximise the catchment, delivery and storage of rainwater which was essential to railway development in the Goldfields region.

This spectacular natural reservoir is now a popular picnic spot and was listed on the State’s Register of Heritage Places in 2001. The site includes a large camping ground with fire pits for cooking.

Please be mindful of the burning periods in the Shire when camping at Karalee Dam.

  • Bushwalking tracks
  • Picnic & BBQ facilities
  • Wildflowers & Wildlife 

Please note:

Karalee Dam and the facilities in the camping grounds are maintained by National Trust.

If you have any issues or concerns, please forward to:

National Trust of Western Australia



Karalee Dam was constructed to provide water for slow steam trains on their way to Kalgoorlie. The site was chosen mainly because of its granite outcrop – with rain, the outcrop becomes a natural catchment area.

Constructed between 1896 and 1897, its capacity is 10.6 million gallons (just over 48 million litres). The dam is 1487ft above sea level and 25ft in depth. Retaining walls of granite slab, all cut from the top of the rock and laid by hand, surround the enormous rock catchment. This enables the water to flow off the rock into the dam via a large semi-circular aqueduct of steel which was hand riveted at each joint. This structure is still in very good condition considering its age and exposure to natural harsh elements over the years.

It is well worth the journey to reflect upon the unbelievable manual labour and horse power involved in this construction.

Three other dams were constructed at this time in Merredin, Kellerberrin and Cunderdin along with Karalee. The total cost of these four dams being £15,000, a huge undertaking and cost in 1896. Other railway dams constructed in the Yilgarn Shire were at Moorine Rock, Bodallin and Yellowdine.

Trains would often stop at Karalee siding to top up with water to enable the production steam and keep the train running. The crew and passengers would adjourn to the Hotel which operated for 74 years until September 1971. After delicencing in 1971, the hotel’s licence transferred to Kwinana (Perth) where the “Karalee” name still stands. Unfortunately, vandals have since burnt down this historical architecture.

How to get there

Karalee Dam is located off the Great Eastern Highway 50km east of Southern Cross, heading towards Kalgoorlie (18 km past Yellowdine). Turn left at the 418 peg and continue on gravel for 4.2kms.


Karalee Rocks, Yellowdine WA 6426

Note: this is not an all-weather track. Drive with care.