Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Lake Dumbleyung - Western Australia - once in 20 year phenomenon

266 kilometres south east of Perth in the heart of Western Australia's southern wheatbelt is the town of Dumbleyung and a lake - Lake Dumbleyung.  Typical of many lakes in the wheatbelt it is a salt lake.  This year the town is encouraging visitors to come and see the lake - why? - because the lake has flooded.  What is so unusual about that? - because it is a "once in twenty years phenomenon".  Usually a virtually dry salt lake, Lake Dumbleyung has only overflowed four times in the past one hundred years, the most recent being in 1983, and now this year 2017.


The flooding of Lake Dumbleyung is a sight not to be missed. If you don't see it this year you may have to wait another 20 years to see it again.  The lake was only a slight "detour" from our route on the way to visit my family's farm in Bruce Rock, so to Lake Dumbleyung we went.

This is what the lake looked liked when we last visited in October 2011. Yes some water, but not full. Probably only a foot or so deep. 



And the view last week. It is easy to see why when the lake is in flood it becomes a focal point for the community, birds and wildlife flourish, and the Dumbleyung Ski Club and Sailing Club spring back to life. 


And the reason for the flooding this year? - in February the region received summer rains in excess of 160mm. 

Realising the economic benefits from tourism and their lake, Dumbleyung is encouraging people to visit. “Initially the flooding ruined stock feed, caused erosion and damaged fences, but as the rain continued and the filling of Lake Dumbleyung began, we realised this was a rain that could change our community.” Gordon Davidson, Dumbleyung Shire President.

After taking in the views we decided to have our lunch in the shelter of the Lake Dumbleyung Sailing Club building as the wind was bitterly cold. The building looked fairly new, so I wasn't surprised to read that it was recently rebuilt after the original building was blown down during storms in February. No doubt there has been a resurgence of sailing club activities this year with the flooding of the lake.




Thought to be derived from the Aboriginal word Dambeling meaning large lake or sea, the lake historically has been a seasonal hunting area and meeting place for Aboriginal family groups. 

The 52 square kilometre lake is the largest natural body of inland water in Western Australia - 13 kilometres long and 6.5km wide. It sprung into world focus on 31 December 1964 when Donald Campbell broke the world water speed record on Lake Dumbleyung in his jet propelled hydroplane boat, 'Bluebird K7', in which he reached the speed of 444.66 km/h - 276.3 m/h.



Campbell had already broken the world land speed record on Lake Eyre in South Australia on 17 July 1964 (648.73 km/h, 403.10 m/h) and by breaking the world water speed record on Lake Dumbleyung he became the only person to have ever broken both speed records in one year.  Donald had achieved his dream. 



The best place to view the lake is from Pussycat Hill (don't you love the name). Here you will find interpretive signage and a memorial celebrating Campbell's achievements. 

Donald Campbell made a number of speed records during his life. Sadly he died trying to break his own record in Bluebird K7 on Coniston Water in Cumbria, England on 4 January 1967.  You can read more information about Donald Campbell here - Australian Land Speed Racing

Below here you can see the memorial on Pussycat Hill unveiled by his daughter, Gina Campell.


In Dumbleyung itself you can see a full scale replica of Bluebird K7, the result of thousands of dollars of community fundraising, volunteer hours and shire contributions. It was completed in time for the 50th anniversary of Campbell's historic run on 31st December, 2014.



Not far from the Bluebird replica is the old railway station where you can see a collection of fascinating photos from the past. 



Where is it?: travel south from Perth to Wagin on the Great Southern Highway, then east along the Wagin Dumbleyung Road. Access to Lake Dumbleyung is signposted on the road. 

Please be aware that you are partly on private property and partly within the Lake Dumbleyung Nature Reserve. Camping, open fires, pets and firearms are not permitted. 

Bird watching - Lake Dumbleyung is a wetland of national and international significance, supporting many kinds of birds following good rains, including migratory species from the northern hemisphere. 


The town of Dumbleyung is 8 km further east where there are a variety of accommodation options.  Please go to their web site for more information, including downloadable maps and brochures: Visit Dumbleyung Shire
or on FacebookDumbleyung Shire




Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Lake Dumbleyung. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Life in Reflection



Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too! 

28 comments:

  1. What an interesting place. I'd not heard of this lake before today. :-)

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  2. Wow I am surprised it still has water as it has been so dry.

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    1. yes the summer rains really did the trick out there.

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  3. Woah, what an interesting place and history. How green and verdant it looks after the rain too. I also love the name Pussycat Hill! Very quaint :)

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  4. Wow!
    Beautiful Australian meadows, and this lake is unique. Great pictures Jill.


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  5. I would never break any speed records. I get teased for always driving the posted speed limits!

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  6. I'm starting to look forward to your pics on a Thursday through the linky. This reminds me of Lake George in Canberra & the story about when it's overflowing there's a lake in NZ that's dry - & vice versa #TeamLovinLife

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  7. You have taught me something here Jill, because I always though that Donald Campbell broke the land speed record on Lake Eyre in South Australia. Lake Dumbleyung is such a strange name, but you do have a few of those kind of names in the West! It must have been a sight to behold to see this salt plain in flood. #TeamLovinLife

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    1. yes he did Kathy - the land speed record on Lake Eyre. And the water speed record on Lake Dumbleyung. Both in the same year.

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  8. An intriguing story. Does the lake get fish in it when it's full? You've gotta love a hill called Pussycat!

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    1. From what I can find out there are no fish in Lake Dumbleyung due to the unreliable water levels, and the saltiness of the lake, though they have tried to stock it with fish over the years.

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  9. What a fascinating story. I like the way you interspersed historic photos with your photos of the lovely lake.

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  10. I must confess my complete ignorance on the history of this area and haven't actually been to WA at all! #teamlovinlife

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    Replies
    1. well Western Australia is a long way from anywhere!

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  11. This is so interesting! I like natural phenomenons. Here in California we have a lot of lakes overflowing after heavy rains during winter. We haven;t seen them like that in years. #TPThursday

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  12. At my age, the phrase, 'now or never' comes to mind! :-) What an interesting phenomenon and what a nice look you've given us who will likely not make it this time.

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  13. Wow! That is really interesting. You've captured it beautifully.
    #teamlovinlife

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  14. Oh I wish we'd stopped to see Lake Dumbleyung (and Pussycat Hill - love it!) when we were caravanning through that neck of the woods in 2001 - even if it wasn't flooded!

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    1. yes it is a great sight flooded or not. There usually is a bit of water in it.

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  15. Wow, Jill! What an incredibly interesting and informative post!!
    I wasn't aware that Donald Campbell broke both land and water speed records in the same year!

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  16. I was wondering if the the flooding caused much damage, so I'm glad to know that the tourism will hopefully offset the losses. The difference is rather remarkable.

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  17. Lovely photo, hope the flooding was not too stressful
    Have a happy Mosaic Monday

    much love...

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  18. Very interesting! We have many lakes around us, and during the drought years, our main lake was so low it had reverted to a narrow river bed. Fortunately after heavy rains a few years ago, the levels have returned to normal. I honestly didn't think I would see it in my lifetime. Amazing how Mother Nature can do that!

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  19. Great informative post; lots of new things to learn about. And incredible chance to see the phenomenon through your camera lens.
    Thank you for sharing and a nice day, new week, too!

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  20. That's so interesting about the flooding of this lake. Lots of interesting information. Great photos. Have a good week!

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  21. Jill you are a wonderful tour guide, I always enjoy going along with you on your travels. This looks like a fascinating place to visit especially when the lake is in full flood.
    Happy Mosaic Monday.

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  22. Jill, What a wonderful post. That is a nice lake this year. Thanks for sharing and have a great week. Sylvia D.

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I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.