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

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