When Hume Dam was opened in 1936, it was ranked the largest in the world, second only to the Elephant Butte Dam in Texas.
But the significance of this mammoth project was not just in its construction.
Albury and District Historical Society president Greg Ryan, speaking on the 100th anniversary of the first sod being turned on November 28, 1919, said it was a big political achievement to bring Victoria, NSW, and South Australia together.
"In 1914 the River Murray Commission was formed, with the brief to construct a major storage on the River Murray," he said.
"They decided this was the right location ... [with] the juncture of the Mitta River and River Murray.
"They had to acquire 35,000 hectares in Victoria and about 6300 hectares in NSW, and not a lot of the owners were happy.
"NSW Public Works were tasked with the role of constructing the spillway - 300 metres of spillway and 1.2 kilometres of earthen embankment.
"Early estimates were it would take seven or eight years to construct, and it took 17 years.
"We do know at peak of construction there was at least 1000 people on site."
One of those people was the grandfather of John Parker, who has been working with WaterNSW for 38 years.
"He came down from Grafton to work here and we all lived up in the village," he said.
The story of those who made the dam a reality has been told in story boards installed at the picnic area overlooking the dam wall, through a partnership between WaterNSW and the councils of Albury, Wodonga and Towong.
Historian and CSU lecturer Bruce Pennay helped to compile information, including the interesting fact that operating capacity has grown from 1522 gigalitres in 1936 to 2005 gigalitres, equivalent to six times the volume of Sydney Harbour.
Present at Thursday's unveiling was the same shovel that Governor-General Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson used to turn the first sod, which is also part of a commemorative display running at the Lavington Library.
Tim Tanner of WaterNSW, who is leading upgrades over three years that will include divers installing plugs, praised the installation.
"The foresight of those people is amazing ... it is that human element that got the dam up and going," he said.
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Mr Ryan said the dam remains "one of the great engineering works of Australia".
"What local has not brought visitors and friends to visit the site ... or swum, fished, skied or sailed in the water?" he said.
"We can't underestimate the dam's significance to our local community."
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