Lake Argyle – Two stories of mans inventiveness

What used to be hills and ridges in the cattle country are now islands dotted across the vastness of Lake Argyll

Lake Argyle and its amazing expanse of water is one example of mans use of his skills and knowledge to influence the productiveness of this northern part of Australia. Damming the Ord River and storing water that is available in the wet season has meant this can be released to ensure a constant supply to the river all year round.

There is a revised claim about the water storage capacity of this lake when compared with that of Sydney Harbour.  Previously stated to be 19 times the Harbour’s capacity our cruise boat tour guide states it is now 21 times larger.  This, he says, is the result of a more accurate, and thus downsizing, of Sydney Harbour.  Whatever the actual difference Lake Argyle is an enormous expanse of deed fresh water.  It is impossible to see it all from the ground as it wanders the country leavings islands of varying sizes and heights that obstruct ones view.  At points it is 45 km wide and 60 km long.

For the amount of water captured, this dam wall is small and simple.

No concrete, it has an impermeable clay layer, clad with millions of tons of rock blasted out from the hard quartzite mountain,s

on the site with the largest, non-nuclear blasts ever used in Australia

It is the home of many different fish including a number of catfish.  It is also home to around 25,000 fresh water crocodiles. This diversity is native to the area.  Unusual is the fact that no new species has been introduced in the 40 years since the dam was completed.

Mans inventiveness is also shown in the renaming of the large predator catfish.  Because this fish eats other fish rather than scrounge its food from the muddy bottom of the lake its flesh is clean and tasty.  Despite this its being a catfish left it unattractive eating to Australians.  A change of name to Silver Cobbler has seen it become a very popular specialty of the area.  We tried it and can vouch for its good eating.

Our three days of swimming, bushwalking and time spent on the Lake have been truly enjoyable.  It is unlike any other place we have stayed.

The Ord Dam and Lake Argyll are not he only innovative uses of water retaining technology in the area.

This “infinity pool” appears to merge with the lake below and was a lovely way to cool off after a walk.


5 thoughts on “Lake Argyle – Two stories of mans inventiveness

  1. Hi Gary & JUlie,

    thanks for keeping us posted on your travels. It sounds, and looks, like you are relaxing and enjoying yourselves. Love the picture in the pool!!!

    Christian Love Ross & Marilyn

  2. Thanks Ross. The picture in the pool has a story. I have a remote control for the camera -it’s electrical so you can’t take it in the pool. I put the camera on timer (10 sec) and have a picture of my feet madly churning the water as I swim towards Julie. Another pool user saw my predicament and used the camera to take this shot. The water was about five degrees colder than the lake and pretty cool at about 18 after a hot bush walkm

    • Thanks for the continuing comments. The pool was actually very cold – I guess the way it is exposed means it cools overnight – I suspect about 18 degrees C which was a shock to the system when very hot after a walk. The Lake itself is probably about 23.

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