Compared with other states, South Australia works hard to preserve the sanctity of its reservoirs.
Their waters are generally unsullied by boating, skiing, fishing or swimming activities – and poorly maintained facilities tend to discourage visitors from lingering.
But the Barossa Valley Reservoir’s Dam Wall is an exception.
A short drive past Williamstown, north of Adelaide, the outlook from the recently renovated picnic area at the Reservoir, colloquially known as the Whispering Wall, offers superb views over the water.
If you can overlook the absence of chairs or benches accompanying the picnic tables, that is.
A nearby shelter shed has both – although the logic behind the picnic table’s ultra-low benches is too esoteric for me, as I have no wish to sit with my chin on the table.
But you don’t need picnic facilities to enjoy the Whispering Wall’s delights – the real entertainment is provided by the dam wall itself.
It’s also an inadvertent test of the relative profundity – or banality – of general conversation. And that’s where the REAL entertainment lies …
OK. Here’s how it works. You’re at the Whispering Wall. You’ve been nominated by your group to trek the 144 metres across the top of the dam wall to the other side to ‘say something’.
SO … what do you say?
First-time visitors often show their doubt of the validity of the wall’s claim to fame with questions like ‘Can you hear me?’ Or – more inanely – ‘Are you there?’ The unimaginative say ‘Hello’ or ‘G’day’. And true disbelievers immediately self-identify by shouting their remarks.
And then there are those who prefer to test the wall’s powers with linguistic tricks like kissing noises, burping – or worse!
So what DO you say when ANY sound – verbal or otherwise – will be heard by everyone at the other end?
Why not make their visit memorable by whispering comments like these?
- ‘Can you see that crack in the wall about half-way across?’
- ‘Hey! Put your clothes back on!’
- ‘Let’s all meet back here in 5 years time!’
- ‘Whoops! There go the car keys!!’
- ‘There was an American, an Englishman and an Australian …’
- ‘What? I can’t hear you! No, still can’t hear – speak up!’
- ‘AAARRRGGGH! I’ve got vertigo!’