The Menindee Lakes are located about 110 kilometres south east of Broken Hill, in western NSW.
Aboriginal people have lived in the Menindee Lakes area for thousands of years. In a very arid and dry area, the Menindee Lakes and Darling River became a lifeline for early European explorers. Major Thomas Mitchell, Charles Sturt and Bourke and Wills all used the lakes on expeditions between 1835 and 1860.
Although there were hopes that the Darling River could be used for navigation, water flows proved unreliable. For example, the paddle steamer Jane Eliza took 3 years (from 1883 to 1886) to complete a voyage between Morgan in South Australia and Bourke in New South Wales.
Using the Menindee Lakes for water conservation was first proposed in 1894, but it wasn’t until 1949 that the Menindee Water Conservation Act was passed in the New South Wales parliament, and work started. Major works were finished in 1960 and were completed in 1968.
For many years the Menindee Lakes were used a the main water supply to Broken Hill, but in recent years a pipeline from Broken Hill to Wentworth was built to give Broken Hill a more secure water supply.
In times of drought the Menindee Lakes can be very dry and empty, and in times of plentiful rain they can be full. At present – October 2022 – they are at about 120% of normal capacity. But in whatever mood the lakes are, they are a magnificent place to visit.
Although many of our contributors use professional camera equipment such as the Nikon Coolpix 1000, at ThisisAustralia we usually use our mobile phone cameras. A Samsung Galaxy Note 10 +, which has been great, and we will continue to use. We have also just purchased a Samsung S21 Ultra. This has been described as an ‘insanely brilliant camera with a phone attached’. So we are expecting some really good quality pics! Some of our contributors have also used the iPhone 13 with good success.