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History of Fogg Dam


The Wulna people are the traditional owners of the Fogg Dam area.  Their traditional knowledge, rights and responsibility to look after the land has been passed down through numerous generations and demonstrates their significant connection to the land.  The senior Wulna elder for the Fogg Dam area is responsible for passing knowledge of the area to future generations.   The Long-necked turtle is the totem for the area that contains sacred sites and songlines that cross from the Adelaide River area. 

1954 - 1964 RICE PROJECT

The Humpty Doo Rice Project which created Fogg Dam was the focus of national and international interest in the 1950s. Developed by Territory Rice Limited (TRL), a joint Australian/American venture, its founding investors included American film and television stars.

To learn more about this fascinating story, see “The Humpty Doo Rice Trail Booklet” for detailed information and ( include a link here) for a more concise audio history.

Fogg Dam was named after James D Fogg, Managing Director of Utah Australia, the engineering contractor to Territory Rice Ltd. He was also the project manager for building Lake Eildon in Victoria


Fogg Dam was developed in 1956 by the Royal Australian Air Force construction squadron at a cost of $100,000 to provide water for the young rice crop.  The dam, with spillways at each end of the wall, filled to overflowing each wet season. The floodplain was so wet the main 10km irrigation channel to the rice fields, opposite the first dam wall lookout, could not be constructed until 1962, six years later. In the interim period, irrigation water was channelled through a ditch along the western side of the floodplain.

A fleet of Internationals, Olivers, John Deere

conservation STATUS

In 1959 Fogg Dam was declared a Bird Protection District to give magpie geese a refuge from the rice fields and was declared a Conservation Reserve in 1982. With year-round presence of water, numerous wetland bird species of the Top End can be spotted at Fogg Dam. Its known internationally to birdwatchers.


In 2005 the Adelaide & Mary River Floodplains, including Fogg Dam, were recognised as an Australian “Important Bird Area” (IBA).

The IBA program was an international non-governmental conservation scheme led by BirdLife International Partners, including BirdLife Australia. In 2018 it was succeeded by the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) program. The Adelaide River-Mary River Floodplain, including Fogg Dam, is now a recognised KBA.


In 2005 the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2003 was amended to provide for Joint Management of its NT Parks by its Parks & Wildlife Commission and the areas Traditional Owners. This has been implemented at Fogg Dam where the NT Parks & Wildlife Commission is responsible for day-to-day management and to finance and resource the Reserve’s ongoing management. Traditional Owners are responsible to the land, law and culture. They have special responsibilities for decision-making, the oversight of cultural protocols for sacred sites and for managing the transfer of traditional knowledge.


In 2009 Fogg Dam was made a Heritage Site for its links to the Humpty Doo Rice Project. 

Fogg Dam was named after James Fogg, Managing Director of Utah Australia Ltd., a construction contractor for Territory Rice Ltd.  James Fogg was also Project Manager for building Eildon Weir, now Lake Eildon, in Victoria