Friday, June 10, 2011

Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia photos from a moving car. Essay of it's drought

This time last year you could walk across the lake which was dry for a good four or five years before it. The lake I grew up around had always catered swimming, fishing and many other water sports. Then suddenly one year the Swans never had signets (baby's) and were replaced the year after by a few pelicans, which I would be lead to believe they came to clear out the remaining of the fish knowing of what was about to happen to the lake.

Lake Learmonth outside of Ballarat had been dry for many years which was another popular swimming and water sporting place that I think they were considering a Golf Course to be placed there. Another, Lake Burrumbeet droughts around the same time as Lake Wendouree did.  And of course the towns water supplies were lowering too and putting residents on limits. No washing the car, watering gardens, cut shower time down, don't flush unless it's necessary and other hand slapping warning before that was to dry up too. 

Though it was alright for the Council to water street gardens and places, they had to have something pretty for the tourist to appreciate Ballarat away from the big pile of mud in the middle of town. Lake Wendouree was ugly to look at so a lot of ideas were sparking on either refilling it from far away Murry Basin through pipes or some bottomless water hole that some argued taking that water would ruin that area. Some developer submitted a course of action that if he was to get the water to it, he wanted to shape the lake into an Australia shape and in return build a multi story sky high grand royal hotel of some sort over looking the Australia shaped lake from one corner. Don't know why, it never got to be carved into any shape.

Slowly there were claims the Council and Government will have the lake full again by such n such a year, claims they have placed running pipes into the lake. Personally I never seen any evidence and people I have spoken to hadn't either. Even my mother in her 70's said she'd probably never see it with water again in her life-time. But just another conspiracy to make the people believe. Houses surrounding the Lake were getting fairy grass flossed. Covering everything from their yards and anything they had laying around, it was a nuisance to them. The Council built a low mesh fence around the effected areas which I believe failed.

When I drove for the Red Cross twenty years ago or so there was an old lady that told me that in the 1920's Lake Wendouree dried up. So the drought ridden lake last year was no surprise to me. Lake Wendouree has and always had a serious weed problem, the lady told me the US Army Soldiers offered to clean up those weeds before the lake refilled but the City knocked back the offer.

This recent dry up the Council was doing something, then found it to be one corner dug deeper for a rowing course for regattas and local clubs and schools use. By chance the Council lost the bid to hold the Melbourne 2006 Olympic rowing as they did host the 1956 Olympics. It would of been embarrassing if they won the bid and then at the time have no water to run it, I know I would of laughed, but I'm just a cynic at times.

Late last year, disaster and chaos for most of Victoria was ravished from heavy down pours causing major flooding and damages across most of the state over a two day period roughly. As devastating as it was for most people, damage and losing un-replaceable items especially homes, in return, the water was returned to Lake Wendouree, Lake Learmonth that no one ever expected it's recovery and of course Lake Burrumbeet. The floods had it's bad and it's good side in away. A year before this was Black Saturday that almost half of Victoria burnt down from bush fires.

Victory, the return of the lakes. But still so ugly. I once did see when the water was back a bulldozer out in the middle and digging up the mud, huh? To rid the weeds or what? Why wasn't that done when it was dry? Really, official people just can't get anything right.

Again, January this year Victoria and even the same time, Queensland were both hit by horrific floods again, although Queensland was a lot worse then what lower Victoria was taunted by, still a sad story for a lot of people to go through it all again when they really haven't recovered from the previous floods.

Water, friend or foe(?) 

andjoh 2011
Water, though weeds are blooming out worse then before the drought.

The area that was dug out for the rowing course, oh look, I see the weeder to the very left of this picture.

Ugly to look at. No it's a lake silly, not a sewerage farm, hmm. 

Original document by Andrew Johnson for his Posterous blog at 
Blog contents apart from this lake report are either new and original or circulating emails. Please enjoy what can be found here and leave some kind or nasty comments, that's why the box is there, to encourage people to drop a line even if it's nothing to do with the corresponding post or anything to be found on the blog as then I will know that I am not alone and there are other mutters out there, I just need to look, but I don't go out much anymore, incase something out of the ordinary takes place and I miss it.

Thank You

andjoh 2011

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