Lake Hindmarsh

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Lake Hindmarsh
Lake Hindmarsh is located in Victoria
Lake Hindmarsh
Lake Hindmarsh
Location in Victoria
Location Wimmera, Victoria
Coordinates 36°03′41″S 141°54′47″E / 36.06139°S 141.91306°E / -36.06139; 141.91306Coordinates: 36°03′41″S 141°54′47″E / 36.06139°S 141.91306°E / -36.06139; 141.91306[1]
Type Eutrophic
Primary inflows Wimmera River
Primary outflows Outlet Creek (When full), evaporation
Catchment area 23,500 km2 (9,100 sq mi)
Basin countries Australia
Max. length 22 km (14 mi)
Max. width 7 km (4.3 mi)
Surface area 135 km2 (52 sq mi)
Average depth 3.4 m (11 ft)
Max. depth 3.65 m (12.0 ft)
Water volume 378 GL (8.3×1010 imp gal; 1.00×1011 US gal)

Lake Hindmarsh, an eutrophic lake located in the Wimmera region of western Victoria, Australia, is the state’s largest natural freshwater lake. The nearest towns are Jeparit to the south and Rainbow to the north. After more than a decade of drought, in early 2011 the lake filled as a result of flooding in the region.


The area around the lake is the traditional country of the Gromiluk, a branch of the Wotjobaluk people.[2] Explorer Edward Eyre camped at Lake Hindmarsh in 1838 while searching for an overland route from Melbourne to Adelaide.[3] European pastoralists occupied land around the lake from 1845, and in 1859 the Moravian Ebenezer Mission was established nearby.


Lake Hindmarsh is the southernmost lake of the Wimmera River Terminal Wetlands, and receives water directly from the Wimmera River. When full, the lake covers 13,500 hectares (33,000 acres), is 3.4 metres (11 ft) deep and holds 378 gigalitres (8.3×1010 imp gal; 1.00×1011 US gal) of water.[4] It is a wetland of national significance. On the rare occasions when Lake Hindmarsh overflows, water flows on to the deeper Lake Albacutya, which has been recognised under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance.[5]

Flat and shallow, Hindmarsh is subject to very high evaporation. When it is full, evaporation from the lake is around 140,000 megalitres (3.1×1010 imp gal; 3.7×1010 US gal) per year. With flows down the Wimmera River on average only half of that, the lake is rarely full. It takes three to four years to evaporate entirely.

The lake was full during the wet years of the early to mid-1970s. It supported a commercial fishing industry and was a destination for tourism and water sports, with a water-skiing club whose membership was over 100. The lake filled most recently in 1996, but then received no further water from the Wimmera River and had dried up by 2000. It remained dry for almost a decade.

In October 2009, water from the Wimmera River trickled into Lake Hindmarsh for the first time in thirteen years.[6] The 2010 Victorian floods of September raised lake water levels higher and triggered a revival of birdlife.[7] The January 2011 Victorian floods in the Wimmera catchment raised hopes that the lake would fill, and possibly overflow into the northern lakes, however, outlet creek remained dry and the lake again awaits its next flooding event. [8]


  1. ^ "Lake Hindmarsh". Vicnames. Government of Victoria. 2 May 1966. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography Retrieved 2012-02-29.
  3. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography Retrieved 2012-02-29.
  4. ^ Murray-Darling Basin Authority Archived from the original 2012-02-29.
  5. ^ "Significant wetlands: Lake Albacutya". Department of Environment and Primary Industries. Government of Victoria. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Lake Hindmarsh back from the dead
  7. ^ At Lake Hindmarsh there's an ecological revolution under way
  8. ^ Parched lake may end 15-year dry