20 Jul 2010

They're filling our lake!

The tourist information about our Central Victorian town says this:
Swimming, fishing and boating can be enjoyed at Wooroonook Lakes, 14 km west of town... There are camping and picnic facilities and the lake is stocked with redfin and trout.

Only ever since we've lived here - 8 ½ years - our lake has been dry. So dry that in 2006 the 'lakes' were the site of a large fire, destroying houses, bushland, crops and pastures.

Recreational lakes are a large part of the community life in the dry, hot Northern regions of Victoria. In past days many of the townsfolk would camp on the shores of the Wooroonook Lakes all summer long, travelling in to town for school or work during the day and spending the evenings and weekends water-skiing and fishing and picnicking. Sounds idyllic really, doesn't it? Imagine, too, the birdlife, and the kangaroos!

Now suddenly, these halcyon days are more than just a dream from the past. GWMWater are refilling our lake.

Jemimah and I drove out to the lakes the other day to observe their progress. It is slow, but it is sure. Already the frogs are making their presence heard (where did they come from?), and the birds and ducks are enjoying a bath and a splash.

Of course there is a long, long, long way to go. In the photograph below you realise how small the puddle of water is when you observe that this lake covers all the land from the trees on the horizon to the tree in the foreground. So far GWMWater are merely testing the flow rates before the actual refilling takes place, but there are signs that this year there may be water in the lake.

That is so exciting! I never thought I'd see the day.

Next time we visit we'll wear more clothes. It was freezing!

We jumped back into the car to make some drawings in our Nature Notebooks, and to eat the peanut biscuits we had packed and then took a bit of a drive around the edge of the lakes. We inspected this crop testing site...briefly - too cold...

...and took some photos of this pretty flowering gum...

...and were impressed by this wall of tumbleweeds. Apparently this mainstay of the American Wild West stole into Australia in a sack of flaxseed a century ago. It is certainly making its presence felt here.

It is good to remember that Nature Study the Charlotte Mason way doesn't need to be formalised. Despite the cold, Jemimah and I had a marvellous time wandering around the shores of our until now imaginary lake.

I wonder what it will look like in a year's time.

Maybe next summer we'll be camping on its shores too. What fun that will be! Woo Hoo!!


  1. woo hoo indeed! I hope you get to have picnics there in the not too distant future!
    it's always a sad sight for me when I visit Ballarat to see the bone dry lake wendouree:(
    i hope it's filled up a bit like your local one!

  2. WOW - it does look cold! Love Jemimah's jumper too BTW.

    How wonderful to think that lake will be filled once again! I imagine you'll see a return of more bird life in the area too. Sounds like it was a great nature study day!


  3. You are right, one of the beauties of CM is how she made us realize what a mine of beauty and knowledge we have in nature, and it only takes a walk, informal or more formal, to soak in these gifts.

  4. All of our drives and picnics seem to turn into little lessons!
    That will ge some gorgeous lake when full.
    (Frog eggs stay in the mud until it rains again and then continue on their life cycle....apparently.)

  5. Great news that the lake is being re-filled. Looks like it'll be a lovely spot to enjoy in Summer!
    Jemimah looks so cute all rugged up.

  6. The best lessons for children (and adults alike) is going for a drive (or walk) - there is so much to learn all around us. I remember going on a school trip to the coast to learn all about coast erosion and I can still remember it because we saw it with our own eyes.

  7. I love the few weeks we get to live on a lake in the summers. It is wonderful! Happy for you all.

  8. Wow! I lived in Texas and never saw that much tumbleweed! What a blessing to have a lake...we've had so much flooding here this summer that I have forgotten what a blessing it is to have a variety of bodies of water. Enjoy your nature studies!

  9. That is good news! I miss the days of homeschooling as now I have no more school aged children... your peanut biscuits sound yummo!


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