|Location||Mallee district, Victoria|
|Primary inflows||Tyrrell Creek|
|Surface area||20,860 ha (51,500 acres)|
Lake Tyrrell is a shallow, salt-crusted depression located in the Mallee district of north-west Victoria, in Australia. The word is derived from the local Wergaia word for 'sky', the Boolong clan of the area being distinguished for their interest in star-lore.
Location and features
The lake covers approximately 20,860 hectares (51,500 acres), making it Victoria's largest salt lake. It is located 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) north of the town of Sea Lake and 314 kilometres (195 mi) northwest of Melbourne.
While much of the time the lake is dry, it is usually covered in about 5 centimetres (2.0 in) of water in winter. It is ancient and probably formed by sand blocking the passage of Tyrrell Creek (a distributary of the Avoca River) which feeds the lake. Evaporation results in a layer of salt crusting on the lake bed which is harvested by Cheetham Salt in Sea Lake.
The lake environment is host to Mallee reptiles, kangaroos, emus and white-faced chats. Thousands of seagulls breed on small islands on the lake. Surrounding vegetation is made up of saltbush and samphire.
Around 120,000 years ago Tyrrell was approximately 13 metres (43 ft) deep with low salinity. Water levels subsequently dropped due to climatic changes, resulting in cycles of drying and partial refilling.
In 1838, Australian explorer Edward Eyre discovered Lake Tyrrell while searching for new grazing land.
On the Sea Lake side of the lake, 7–8 kilometres (4.3–5.0 mi) from the township, is the local lookout and astronomy deck, built in the late 1990s.
- Hamacher, Duane Willis; Frew, David J. (2010). "An Aboriginal Australian Record of the Great Eruption of Eta Carinae" (PDF). Journal for Astronomical History & Heritage. 13 (3): 1–23.