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Lake Argyle

Story: Lake Argyle
Episode: Kimberley Special
Presenter: Trevor Cochrane and Carmen Braidwood
Air Date: 21 May 2021

Lake Argyle is a spectacular man-made lake situated in the southern hemisphere.

  • Classified as an inland sea, Lake Argyle is one of the largest man-made lakes in the southern hemisphere.
  • The lake we see today was created as part of the Ord River Irrigation project, a massive agricultural project to harness the fertile plains of the lower reaches of the Ord River.
  • The first stage was the construction of the Diversion Dam in Kununurra, which was completed in 1963 and diverted water from the Ord River onto the Ivanhoe plain for irrigation.
  • At its peak in the wet season, Lake Argyle holds a staggering 10.7 billion cubic litres of water at full supply level. That’s more than 18 times the size of Sydney Harbour.
  • In 1996, a 30-megawatt hydro-power station was constructed at the base of the dam and now supplies renewable energy to the Argyle Village, Wyndham and Kununurra.
  • Home to the Durack family, the stone-built Argyle Downs Homestead was originally built in the 1890’s at what is now the bottom of Lake Argyle.
  • Rather than lose this heritage, the decision was taken to dismantle and rebuild the homestead, and it now houses a museum dedicated to the pioneering spirit of the Durack’s.

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Australia's NorthWest