Lake Moondarra

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Lake Moondarra
Lake Moondarra.jpg
Lake Moondarra is located in Queensland
Lake Moondarra
Lake Moondarra
Location19 km (12 mi) North East of Mount Isa, Queensland
Coordinates20°34′57″S 139°34′12″E / 20.5826°S 139.570°E / -20.5826; 139.570Coordinates: 20°34′57″S 139°34′12″E / 20.5826°S 139.570°E / -20.5826; 139.570
Primary inflowsLeichhardt River
Catchment area1,140 km2 (440 sq mi)
Basin countriesAustralia
Surface area23.75 km2 (9.17 sq mi)
Max. depth11 m (36 ft)
Water volume107,000 ML (87,000 acre⋅ft)

Lake Moondarra is an artificial lake on the Leichhardt River in Queensland, Australia, 16 km downstream from the town of Mount Isa. It provides water to the city and the adjacent Mount Isa Mines (MIM) mining lease.

Construction began on the Leichhardt Dam in 1956, and was completed on 6 November 1958 at a cost of £1.7 million. The dam was built for Mount Isa Mines and, at the time, was the largest water scheme in Australia financed by private enterprise.[1] The original construction was started by the American Utah Construction Company, but Thiess Brothers completed the project.[2]

On 11 July 1961 the dam officially became Lake Moondarra after a competition to name the dam was won by a Mount Isa local, Danny Driscoll. The Aboriginal name means "plenty of rain also thunder".[citation needed]

The lake includes picnic areas, pontoons, a ski jump, and water sports facilities. The lake is popular with birdwatchers, sailors and anglers, as it is stocked with barramundi and sooty grunter. The Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic has been held there since 1999.

Transport Bay was so named because tonnes of sand was deposited on the banks of the lake by MIM trucks to create a beach.[citation needed]

The lake was the location for one of Australia's largest stone axe quarries.[3] The axes were traded amongst Aborigines across distances as far as 1,000 km.

Pest weed control[edit]

In 1984, a species of weevil was successfully used as a biological pest control to contain a proliferation of the weed Salvinia molesta in the lake.[4][5] The first releases were made in 1980. The weevil destroyed tens of thousands of tonnes of weed.[6]

Panorama of Lake Moondarra from lookout above Transport Bay. July 2014. Mount Isa, Queensland.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lake Moondarra Archived 2007-08-29 at the Wayback Machine. Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved on 10 September 2007.
  2. ^ Outram, Stephen (2018). Mates!. What else is possible?. p. 126. ISBN 978-0994332752.
  3. ^ Owoc, Mary Ann (2004). Soils, Stones and Symbols: Cultural Perceptions of the Mineral World. Psychology Press. p. 153. ISBN 184472039X. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  4. ^ Muniappan, Rangaswamy; Gadi V. P. Reddy; Anantanarayanan Raman (2009). Biological Control of Tropical Weeds Using Arthropods. Cambridge University Press. p. 396. ISBN 978-0521877916. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  5. ^ Matiza, T.; H. N. Chabwela (1992). Wetlands Conservation Conference for Southern Africa: Proceedings of the Southern African Development Coordination Conference Held in Gaborone, Botswana, 3-5 June 1991. IUCN. p. 178. ISBN 2831701252. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  6. ^ Hangay, George; Paul Zborowski (2010). A Guide to the Beetles of Australia. Csiro Publishing. p. 218. ISBN 978-0643101937. Retrieved 1 January 2014.