Wagga Wagga's Lake Albert.

Pre 1897: Lake Albert was generally regarded as a swamp and was situated adjacent to the area known as Swampy Plains. (now Lake Albert Village) The lake was filled with swamp vegetation and dark organic peat topsoil.        

Wagga Daily Advertiser March 17 1885:

Lake Albert is now quite dry. The creek from which it is filled runs through private lands, and it’s course has been altered. If this picturesque lake is to be maintained some arrangement will have to be made whereby the creek can again be available to fill it.  

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Wagga Daily Advertiser Thursday June 3rd 1886:

A public meting at the Town Hall, Friday night to devise the means of rendering Lake Albert a reality, by diverting to it’s basin from surrounding creeks a permanent supply of water. Proposed cost one thousand pounds.  

Between the years of 1897: 1899 Wagga experienced three years of very low rain fall. It was reported in the Wagga Advertiser on the 4th August 1898 that a project was being considered to divert water into the swamp to convert it into a "splendid piece of water for all description of aquatic sports as well as a local water supply" 

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Wagga Daily Advertiser 4th August 1898:

A project is on foot to convert Lake Albert into a permanent sheet of water, and a meeting in support of the scheme will be held at Mr. James Angel's "Sunnyside" on Wednesday evening next. The difficulties in the way of carrying out the proposal do not present any serious obstacles, as a very slight expenditure would provide a splendid piece of water for all descriptions of aquatic sport as well as for water supply. The bed of the lake is practically free from logs, the only timber requiring removal being on one side, while the construction of a small bank at the point most distant from Wagga would place several feet of water in the lake by the diversion of the creek. The landowners whose properties border the lake offer no objection, but on the contrary are agreeable to gain access, and if a scheme is adopted in the direction which has been suggested the residents of the district will be provided with a convenience and a means of enjoyment they cannot fail to appreciate and admire.

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On the 10th August 1898 a meeting of interested landholders was called which
resulted in the formation of the "Lake Albert Improvement League". Three
schemes were suggested by which water might be diverted.

1. From Stringybark creek at the southwest end of the lake.

2. By cutting a channel from Crooked Creek close to Lake Albert school.

3. By deepening the entrance channel at the northern end and raising the roadway (Stringybark Creek).

Due to various objections from landholders nothing was done until 1902

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Wagga Daily Advertiser October 4th 1898: Improvement To Lake Albert.

Mr Gormly MP has received a copy of the report, together with the tracings, furnished by the Engineer in Chief for Public Works, as an outcome of a recent inspection of the locality by an officer of the department Mr L.A.B. Wade. Mr Wade’s report is as follows:- The request of the members of the Lake Albert improvement League is that a channel of the Stringy Bark Creek, at it’s entrance to Lake Albert, be so improved that the water at present running past the lake, and spreading over the flats towards the river, will be diverted into the lake. Wagga Daily Advertiser Tuesday 15th May 1900: We are informed that the recent heavy rains caused the Crooked Creek at Lake Albert, to run a banker, and that enough water passed by Lake Albert, through that channel to have filled the lake to overflowing. It seems a great pity that the necessary works were not undertaken to divert Crooked Creek into Lake Albert, in accordance with the proposal of Messer’s C. F. Bolton and George Sheppard, about a decade ago. Mr Scekold’s well, in the valley of Crooked Creek, proves that there is a perennial channel under-current that would service as a constant feed to the lake, if a tunnel at the requisite level were constructed.

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Wagga Daily Advertiser Tuesday June 11th 1901: Lake Albert Channel.

Commendable expedition has been displayed by the contractor (Mr Rowston) in carrying out the work for the channel by which it is proposed to divert waters of crooked creek into Lake Albert. In anticipation of heavy rains, which would of course have seriously interfered with operations, Mr Rowston took precautions to proceed rapidly with the work. From 15 to 20 men have been employed on the contract, with the result that it is expected the work will be ready for inspection by the resident engineer (Mr Harley D Cox) on Wednesday morning. The contract comprises an extensive cutting from Crooked Creek through Lake Albert traveling stock reserve, crossing the Gregadoo road south of the school and thence to the lake. The channel is some 20 foot deep, and about 35 foot across the top, with a batter running to an 8 foot bottom. It is bridged on the Gregadoo road by a beam bridge. The bridge was so far completed on Sunday as to admit a vehicle being driven across.   

  Wagga Daily Advertiser Thursday July 25 1901: Lake Albert Park.

Arbor Day was celebrated yesterday. Many visitors from the district and Wagga The greater number of them planted trees, in the new park. Altogether about 200 trees were planted. The verities being Cedars, Pines, Poplars and Kurrajongs. Mr Anninson thanked the visitors, and said no doubt the park in course of time would be a great pleasure to the neighbourhood and visitors.  

1902: In 1902 a diversion was constructed on Crooked Creek on the southwest
side of the lake. The diversion channel passed some of the creek's flow into
the lake while still allowing some water to pass over a weir and flow down the
natural creek bed. Between the weir and the lake a section of the channel was
lined with concrete and a wooden flood gate was installed to control the flood
level entering the lake. It was considered that if too large a flow had been
allowed to enter the lake here, then the flows out of the northern end of the
lake would have seriously affected the access along Lake Albert Road for
people traveling from Lake Albert Village to Wagga.

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    Wagga Daily Advertiser Thursday 31st January 1907: Fish for Lake Albert.

Residents of Lake Albert who are desirous of increasing the stock of fish in the lake, may obtain larger quantities now the large ponds near the river in Wagga. These ponds are fast drying up, and the large number of various kinds of fish may be easily captured with buckets or small bags. During the past two summers Mr R. H. Caldwell transferred to the lake district from these ponds over 2,000 young fish and reported recently that they were thriving well.

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1916-1917: Between 1916 and 1917, during the times of prolonged heavy rainfall the Crooked Creek Diversion bank (southwest side of the lake) was washed away and the lake reverted to its swamp condition.

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1932-1935: Between 1932 and 1935 a bank was built across Stringybark Creek, south of Lake Albert Road and a channel was cut which led into the lake. A flood gate structure was placed across this channel to control the flow. This structure was designed to stop floodwater from the creek inundating Lake Albert Road. In periods of high flow in Stringybark creek the gates were lowered and the floodwaters trapped on the adjacent Pastures Protection Board Reserve.

 

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1938: In 1938 a road bridge was constructed across the lake outlet on the
Lake Albert Road and the road height raised to it's present level.

1946: In 1946 the Crooked Creek diversion was reconstructed.

In February 1946 the City Council Engineers prepared a report on the flooding of Wagga by water from the area around Lake Albert. Major floods were reported in 1931, 1935, 1939 and 1947, all of which caused extensive damage, overlapping the Sturt Highway, filling Bolton Park and eventually ending up in the Wollundry Lagoon in the centre of town.

Various proposals were considered to alleviate the flooding problem including increasing the size of waterways carrying water from Crooked Creek and Stringybark Creek into Lake Albert.

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Late 1950's: In the late 1950's a sill, under Lake Albert Road bridge, was constructed and boards placed across it to raise the lake level approximately 30 cm.

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Wagga Wagga Boat Club- Established 28th November 1952

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            Boat club being transported from Uranquinty

 

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Boat club 1955  

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Boat club 2003

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Boat club 2007

June 1955:

The Wagga Wagga Boat Club's Easter Carnival, held on Lake Albert over the holiday period, was an outstanding success for this comparatively new club.

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1965: Residential development commenced on the western side of the lake.

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Official opening of the Wagga Wagga Boat Club 14th October 1968:

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The Mayor of Wagga, Ald. R. J. Harris officially opened the extension to the Wagga Boat Club before a big crowd on Saturday Night.

The extensions costing $31000 mark a new era in the club's expansion. The 430 people who attended the semi-formal function included members and their guests. They came from many parts of the Riverina including Tocumwal, Leeton, Canberra, Tumut and Wagga. The official party included the Mayor and Mayoress, the member for Wagga MR. Wal Fife and Mrs. Fife. Air Commodore de la Rue and Mrs. de la Rue of the R.A.A.F base Forest Hill, Mr. and Mrs. Dick Olding, Mr. and Mrs. Lindsay Carr and Mr. and Mrs. E. Marchant.

Prior to the unveiling of the plaque, the Boat Club Commodore, Mr. F. Wild, called all past Commodores and life members to the floor. Mr. John Jackson and Mr. "Tig" Thomas, who came from Sydney for the occasion, spoke on behalf of them. The function which took the form of a dinner dance was supplied with music by Viv Littlewood's orchestra. On Sunday the opening power boat regatta was held. This attracted a large crowd from many centres including Dubbo, Parkes and Griffith. The Wagga Boat club was formed in 1952 with the original clubhouse being constructed in 1954. The last extension to the clubhouse was carried out in 1956.

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1969-1970: Further work was carried out on the Crooked Creek diversion channel. The old weir was completely blocked and all flows diverted into the lake.

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1976: In 1976 major construction work was carried out in the Stringybark Creek channel between Plumpton Road and Lake Albert, forming the Dandeloo drain. Water then bypassed Lake Albert via three 1.8 m culverts under Lake Albert Road.

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1977: In 1977 the Stringybark Creek diversion was constructed which diverted all water from this creek into the lake.

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1981: In 1981 the Lake Albert road bridge was reconstructed and widened but the lake capacity was not altered. The lake now had two outlets, the road bridge on Lake Albert Road and the old Stringybark Creek inlet (floodgates north end of lake)

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    The Daily Advertiser 1st December 1984: Will The Big Wheels Roll On The Lake?

A Wagga mans interest in Australian history has sparked a dream to run a paddle steamer on Lake Albert. Mr. Peter Maher of Gumly, believes an authentic Australian-style paddle wheeler on the lake could become one of Wagga's major tourist attraction. Mr. Maher has traveled to America, Queensland, Victoria & Sydney to study similar riverboats. But most of those operating as tourist attractions are not the real thing, Mr. Maher says. If his dream comes to fruition the Lake Albert steamer will look as close as possible to the riverboats that once carried goods and passengers along the Murrumbidgee, Murray and Darling rivers. Although plans have not been finalized, Mr. Maher's boat would have the characteristic low lines of the Australian river boats he so admires. "I've always had a thing for Australian history and the pioneering days," Mr. Maher said. "The Murrumbidgee has played a large part in the riverboat industry." It would be impossible to run a paddle wheeler on the Murrumbidgee because of the snags. Lake Albert is more suitable, Mr. Maher says, because the boat would sit only 18 inches in the water. The plans would combine features from the Emmy Lou and the Pyap at Swan Hill.

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The Daily Advertiser 28th September 1988: Birthday Celebrations for Boat Club.        

Twenty years ago on October 14 the Wagga Wagga Boat Club's building on the shores of Lake Albert was officially opened by the then Mayor of Wagga Ald. R.J.Haris. The building was built by Jackson & Jones Builders and contains a large Auditorium with bar and kitchen facilities and office space on the top level. The bottom level has storage for club owned craft and provision for future development of member's facilities. The 20th birthday of the club will be celebrated with a formal prawn and chicken night on Friday, October 14. With bookings essential and closing a week before the event, people interested in attending should contact the club and pay the ticket price of $25 per head all inclusive. A great night assured. As the boat club moves into another year, the New Management and Board of Directors are trying to ensure that the best use is made of the facilities provided by the Wagga Wagga Boat Club. The Wagga Wagga Boat Club has been since it's inception been the centre of competitive sailing, water skiing, power boat racing and angling on Lake Albert. These sports are all capable of being enjoyed by all members of the family from the younger children through to the grandparents. At the moment in the club grandparents can be seen teaching their grandchildren to enjoy both the sport of sailing, angling and water skiing. Power boat racing obviously is limited by it's license regulations. Because of the family involvement in the sports conducted by the Wagga Wagga Boat club can be used by all the family. Family groups are able to eat and drink and enjoy the facilities of the auditorium. A true family club. However there are many boat owners who use Lake Albert who are not interested in the competitive side of the water sports. A quiet afternoon's sailing, a blast around the lake on a sailboard or skiing around the lake with a group of friends is very satisfying to them. For these people the Wagga Wagga boat club has recently introduced a new form of membership. The new membership is a "Social membership" which opens the Wagga Wagga boat club's facilities for a minimal fee of $5 per year. These facilities include the showers, toilet, bar, snack bar, Club building and of course the use of the excellent Wagga Wagga launching ramp for getting their craft into and out of the water. This meant that families will be able to better enjoy their time at the lake. The Board is hoping that the increase of social members will have a spin-off in the form of increase usage of the Wagga Wagga boat clubs facilities. Part of the drive to increase the club's memberships will be in the form of promoting the various sporting activities sponsored by the club.

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October 2004

The Riverina suffered a sever drought between 2000 and 2005. The depth of Lake Albert was reduced from 3.6m to .9m. Because of the low depth, the water temperature in the lake rose and an infestation of weed resulted.

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During the time of low water, the Wagga City Council together with the Inland Fisheries Department removed what fish they could, and transported them to the Murrumbidgee river.

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In September 2005 the Wagga Council, as well as the Wagga sailors, the SES and Wagga rescue removed the abundance of willow trees from around the lake. Bonfires were held weekly in an effort to clear the lake surrounds of the masses of willow branches.

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November 2005, a massive storm hit the Riverina, filling the lake virtually overnight.

 

 

 

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