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

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