June 2014 – Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria, downstream of the Murray-Darling river junction in New South Wales, fed by Frenchman’s Creek, an anabranch of the Murray River, flows into the Rufus River. The Lake became regulated in 1928 and is now operated by the South Australia Water Corporation on behalf of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. The lake retained water over the last 10,000 years at a time when many of the inland lakes were drying up in this arid region.It provided an off river storage and is used to store surplus water which can then be used to regulate the flow of water into South Australia and to manage salinity. The Lake is significant as it, its lunette and the surrounding creeks and rivers, hold an important cultural and archaeological record of the last 16,000 years of human occupation, from shell middens dating to 17,000 BP to the history of the Rufus River massacre of 1841 to the Barkindji people’s continuing connection to the lake. The archaeological record includes an enormous number of Aboriginal burials, shell middens, campsites and stone artefacts. Many sites have been inundated by the water storage and work is ongoing by the Murray Darling Basin Commission and the Aboriginal community to preserve and repatriate burials when they become exposed. TheDepartment of Environment provides a leaping off point to explore more about indigenous involvement in the management of Lake Victoria.

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