Lake Wendouree

Lake Wendouree is a suburb around a lake of the same name, 3 km north-west of the centre of Ballarat.

The lake was originally Yuille's Swamp which supplied domestic water to Ballarat from 1852 until the 1860s. In 1856-58 the Ballarat botanic garden (40 ha) was laid out on the swamp's western shore. In the 1870s improvements were made to the lake as an aquatic venue, with two rowing clubs and pleasure craft. The name Wendouree was given at that time, apparently derived from an Aboriginal expression. The lake has an area of 238 hectares and a circumference of 6 km.

The lake is encircled by Wendouree Parade, and the suburb is bounded by Gillies Street (west side), the railway line, Sims Street (excluding cemetery) and Sturt Street. Several religions and educational institutions were established around Lake Wendouree. On the south side there was an Anglican school (1858), replaced by the Pleasant Street State school (1877). West of there, the Mary's Mount Convent and Loreto College (1875) were opened. East of Pleasant Street the Sisters of Mercy established Aquinas Training College (1909), now the Australian Catholic University (1991). On the northern shoreline the Wesleyan Jubilee church and hall were built in 1874. The leading cultural precinct was the botanic garden, with a walk flanked by giant redwoods, a fernery, a statuary pavilion (1887) and a begonia glasshouse. The leading real estate graced Wendouree Drive. Visitors became familiar with both as they flocked to the annual begonia festival, travelling either by tram or car.

After the tram service ended a tourist service was started, and a tram museum was put in the botanic garden in 1975.

Lake Wendouree was the venue for rowing, canoeing and kayaking for the Olympic Games in 1956. Local rowing competitions continued on the lake where clearances of waterweed kept courses clear. In the 2000s the waterweed problem was rectified by drought, but refilling began in 2010.

Lake Wendouree's census propulations have been:

census date population
2006 2725
2011 2884

Other demographic data is given in the entry on West Wendouree.

Further Reading

The lake: the story of our greatest treasure, Ballarat, The Courier, 2006