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The Menindee Lakes

Located about 110 km south-east from Broken Hill, the Menindee Lakes were originally known as 'Laidley's Chain of Ponds' to the European while the First Nation Barkindji people referred to these as 'Wontanella' meaning 'Many Waters'.

The lakes were a series of shallow natural ephemeral lakes along the course of Darling River which were developed in the 1950-60's into a water storage by NSW Government via a series of weirs, levees and canals to capture and retain floodwaters, which could be released downstream when needed.

The lakes were a series of shallow natural ephemeral lakes along the course of Darling River which were developed in the 1950-60's into a water storage by NSW Government via a series of weirs, levees and canals to capture and retain floodwaters, which could be released downstream when needed.

The Menindee Lakes is made up of four main lakes (Cawndilla, Menindee, Pamamaroo and Wetherell) and several smaller lakes that have a combined nominal capacity of 1,731,000 megalitres - 3.5 times the capacity of Sydney Harbour.

Releases are made from Lake Menindee, Lake Pamamaroo and Lake Wetherell into the Darling River. A gauge downstream of Menindee at weir 32 is used to measure the total release into the lower Darling River. Releases can also be made from Lake Cawndilla for supplying environmental flows along the Great Darling Anabranch, which in turn flows into the Murray River downstream of the Murray-Darling Confluence at Wentworth.

Lake Menindee, the largest of the lakes, is 16 kilometres long and 14 kilometres wide.


The township of Menindee is located a few kilometres south-east of Lake Menindee, on the banks of the Darling River, and unbeknown to many, is referenced in one of our most iconic poems. The beautifully penned 'The Man from Snowy River' by Banjo Paterson is an immortal Australian poem and in it there is the line, "There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup". While many assume it was the famous Melbourne Cup being referred to, it is actually the Presidents Cup at held at Menindee.

The explorer Major Thomas Mitchell followed the Bogan and Darling Rivers down to this area in 1835, and a decade later, explorer Charles Sturt travelled up the Darling River from Wentworth through Menindee on his expedition to find the fabled inland sea.

In 1852, Tom Pain and his family arrived in Menindee and opened up the Menindee Hotel in 1953 and with this and the ability to supply provisions, the town established itself as Darling River Port in light of Captain Francis Cadell, accredited with opening up the Darling, establishing a store next to the Hotel in 1856.

Australia's most famous explorers Burke and Wills passed through Menindee for their Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria expedition. The expedition arrived at Menindee on October 14 1860, and made camp at Kinchenga Station after crossing the Darling River. A depot camp for the expedition was established at the Pamamaroo Creek (a sign and cairn mark the site of the camp). Upon their departure, Burke and Wills carved an arrow in the door post of the hotel to indicate the expedition's direction.

River boat trade continued to develop the area and plans for a weir to control the flow of the river and level of the lakes to ensure river traded were shelved in the 1890's and by the time the rail-head reached the area in the 1920's the future of the river as a transport route were doomed.

Kinchega National Park:

Kinchega National Park provides wonderful access to the Darling River, probably the best of all the parks along the Darling, and is a 'must-see' for anyone doing the Darling River Run.

Kinchega NP is rich in natural history, a place that seems designed for nature lovers and photographers. It’s also a place to immerse yourself in Aboriginal and European heritage. Sit back, relax and watch the native wildlife, where the red sand reaches up and touches the clear blue sky.

Menindee Lakes Images

  • kinchega-np-wool-shed-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-23Wool Shed
  • menindee-lakes-main-weir-outlet-2018-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-60Main Weir Outlet 2018
  • kinchega-np-koerstz-wool-press-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-12Koerstz Wool Press
  • kinchega-np-koerstz-wool-press-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-11Koerstz Wool Press
  • kinchega-np-koerstz-wool-press-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-17koerstz Wool Press
  • menindee-lakes-tandure-and-wetherell-lakes-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-46Tandure and Wetherell Lakes
  • kinchega-np-daring-river-2018-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-69Daring River 2018
  • kinchega-np-darling-river-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-38Darling River
  • menindee-lakes-main-wier-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-41Main Wier
  • kinchega-np-darling-river-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-34Darling River
  • menindee-lakes-lake-pamamaroo-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-03Lake Pamamaroo
  • kinchega-np-darling-river-weir-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-31Darling River Weir
  • menindee-lakes-tandure-and-wetherell-lakes-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-48Tandure and Wetherell Lakes
  • darling-river-block-dam-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-45Darling River block dam
  • kinchega-np-traction-engine-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-10Traction engine
  • kinchega-np-sheep-yards-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-24Sheep Yards
  • menindee-lakes-daring-river-camping-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-61Daring River camping
  • kinchega-np-darling-river-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-37Darling River
  • kinchega-np-river-gums-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-06River Gums
  • kinchega-np-wool-shed-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-27Wool Shed
  • menindee-lakes-lake-pamamaroo-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-02Lake Pamamaroo
  • kinchega-np-shearing-shed-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-22Shearing Shed
  • kinchega-np-relics-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-66Relics
  • menindee-lakes-main-weir-outlet-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-40Main Weir Outlet
  • kinchega-np-2008-drought-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-332008 Drought
  • railway-sign-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-01Menindee Sign
  • kinchega-np-1976-flood-level-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-081976 flood level
  • kinchega-np-daring-river-2018-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-65Daring River 2018
  • menindee-lakes-main-weir-2010-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-54Main Weir 2010
  • menindee-lakes-lake-pamamaroo-2018-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-59Lake Pamamaroo 2018
  • menindee-lakes-tandure-and-wetherell-lakes-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-50Tandure and Wetherell Lakes
  • darling-river-red-gums-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-30Darling River Red Gums
  • menindee-lakes-lake-pamamaroo-2018-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-58Lake Pamamaroo 2018
  • kinchega-np-river-gums-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-05River Gums
  • menindee-lakes-filling-lake-menindee-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-52Filling Lake Menindee
  • darling-river-red-gums-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-29Darling River Red Gums
  • menindee-lakes-tandure-and-wetherell-lakes-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-47Tandure and Wetherell Lakes
  • kinchega-np-shearing-shed-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-13Shearing Shed
  • kinchega-np-koerstz-wool-press-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-16Koerstz Wool Press
  • menindee-lakes-copi-hollow-sunset-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-44Copi Hollow Sunset
  • kinchega-np-darling-river-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-36Darling River
  • kinchega-np-2008-drought-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-092008 Drought
  • menindee-lakes-lake-pamamaroo-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-04Lake Pamamaroo
  • kinchega-np-woolshed-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-19Woolshed
  • kinchega-np-woolshed-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-21Woolshed
  • menindee-lakes-filling-lake-menindee-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-51Filling Lake Menindee
  • kinchega-np-old-machinery-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-26Old Machinery
  • kinchega-np-river-gums-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-07River Gums
  • kinchega-np-shearing-shed-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-14Shearing Shed
  • kinchega-np-daring-river-2018-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-68Daring River 2018
  • kinchega-np-daring-river-2018-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-67Daring River 2018
  • kinchega-np-red-gum-roots-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-43Red Gum Roots
  • menindee-lakes-main-weir-2018-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-56Main Weir 2018
  • kinchega-np-darling-river-weir-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-32Darling River Weir
  • kinchega-np-wool-shed-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-28wool Shed
  • kinchega-np-koerstz-wool-press-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-18Koerstz Wool Press
  • kinchega-np-darling-river-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-35Darling River
  • kinchega-np-bottles-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-20bottles
  • menindee-lakes-main-weir-2018-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-55Main Weir 2018
  • menindee-lakes-lake-menindee-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-63Lake Menindee
  • kinchega-np-koerstz-wool-press-&-scourer-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-15Koerstz Wool Press & scourer
  • kinchega-np-darling-river-red-gums-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-42Darling River Red Gums
  • menindee-lakes-lake-pamamaroo-camping-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-53Lake Pamamaroo Camping
  • kinchega-np-above-weir-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-64Above Weir
  • kinchega-np-darling-river-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-39Darling River
  • menindee-lakes-lake-pamamaroo-2018-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-57Lake Pamamaroo 2018
  • menindee-lakes-block-dam-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-62Block Dam
  • kinchega-np-old-machinery-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-25old machinery
  • menindee-lakes-tandure-and-wetherell-lakes-menindee-outback-nsw-australia-49Tandure and Wetherell Lakes

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