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Mount Gambier Blue Lake




MOUNT  GAMBIER  LAKES  AREA
MARCH/APRIL  2003


WHERE  IS  MOUNT  GAMBIER
in Australia

NO  LARGER  PICTURE

The City of Mount Gambier is located mid way between Adelaide and Melbourne, just within the border of South Australia. The streets and houses are built around the slopes of an extinct volcano 27.37 kilometres from the sea, with the city climbing almost to the lip of the famous Blue Lake, and the outskirts extending on to the rich volcanic soil of the surrounding plain.



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Mount Gambier's mountain was named on 3rd December 1800 when Lieutenant James Grant on board HMS Lady Nelson, sighted two prominent peaks, one which was named Gambier's Mountain after James Gambier, Lieutenant Governor at New Province in the Bahamas.

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Mount Gambier and Lakes Area.


In June 1839 Stephen Henty, a pioneer of Portland, Vic was first white man to see Mount Gambier and the lake, climbed it, and described it as "a sight I can never forget......" 
He returned with cattle in 1841. Huts were built for his stockman near the Valley Lake and the cave gardens in the centre of the city and stockyards were erected in the then dry bed of Brownes Lake proving that the water levels have been known to fall then rise again. Soon others arrived, and one the brother of famous explorer Charles Sturt, Evelyn Sturt, was issued with an occupation license in 1844 for around 100 square miles of the country to the north and west of Gambier's Mountain, which included Henty's 'squat', thus forcing him of his pioneer claim. Over the next decade a steady stream of settlers arrived, mostly from Tasmania, Victoria and Adelaide. 



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BLUE  LAKE's  COLOUR  CHANGE

The colour of the Blue Lake changes dramatically from grey to a vivid blue over a few days in late November each year. Then, after summer the colour gradually fades until the grey winter appearance is resumed. The blue colour is not isolated to Mount Gambier's Blue Lake, as there are several similar lakes around the world (eg the Blue Lake at Montezuma in Oregan, USA, which is also in a volcanic crater).
Numerous theories have been put forward to explain the colour change, but it is now considered to be a three-phase process:

  1. Temperature stratification occurs in the lake over the summer months, with a layer of warmer water overlaying cooler water.
  2. Precipitation of calcium carbonate in the warmer part of the lake during summer months, which removes any water-borne impurities.
  3. The absorption of all but the blue wavelengths of light by the warm water in summer.

If the lake was to become polluted, then the water purity could be affected which in turn may affect the colour change seen each year.


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The Blue Lake 2007
(pic: Geoff Donoghue)

These next pictures taken March 2003

The Turquoise blue colour in these pictures is exactly how it looks.
It's an incredible sight around 21st December when it's a full colour change.


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Both views over Blue lake looking South West towards the centennery Tower atop the Valley lake rim.

Looking West over to Valley Lake.

Looking North West, can just see city of Mt Gambier

Looking North. Blue lake pumping station.
Looking North. Blue lake pumping station.
Pumping station looking from Bay Road Pumps

At bottom of lake just above the water looking North East.


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 The pumps on pontoon.

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 You can see the blue tinge 
against the underwater limestone.

 


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View from Blue Lake South Eastern Lookout
These pictures taken April 2003

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Mt Shank another volcano to the south.


This zoomed shoot show the Cape Northumberland
Light House at Port MacDonnell on the coast.


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Leg of Mutton Lake


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Overview of Leg of Mutton lake
(pic: Geoff Donoghue)

Leg of Mutton Lake looking East


Looking NW, can see the Leg of Mutton lake has 
dried up, actually the water table has dropped.


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The Valley Lake

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An overview of Valley Lake
(this pic: Geoff Donoghue)


These pictures below taken April 2003

 Is a recreational lake, Water ski-ing, picnic barbecue area and children's playground,
roadway winds in around the Valley lake area.


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The Valley Lake looking South West


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Valley Lake looking East from Potters point.

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Centenary Tower from Potter's Point
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Zoomed shot of Centenary Tower

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Valley Lake looking East. 
Can just see the Mt Shank volcano.



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Valley Lake looking from the other side of rim looking back West. Also to the left in this picture was the Brown's lake, now has no water in it anymore, as with the Leg of Mutton lake.

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Valley lake looking North, can see old disused hospital over rim and the City of Mt Gambier. Other side of crater rim is the City of Mount Gambier.

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Centenary Tower overlooks the Valley Lake. To walk up here, one better do some exercising the week before.



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These pictures taken November 2005
A walk up to the Centenary tower for a commanding view of surrounding countryside.
It is well worth the slog, and it certainly will test your heart rate out as it's quite steep.

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Here nearly up to Centenary tower

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looking East North East

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Looking out to the North

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Looking out to the East
Direction of Melbourne

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Looking South to road to Port McDonnell
Mt Shank in background

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A rest before head back down pathway


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Now to head down pathway to lower lookout


This picture taken from "The Bluff" near Millicent
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The Mt Gambier crater lakes left and Mt Shank at right. 
(this pic by Wayne Morris)



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