Lake Buffalo, Myrtleford

Lake Buffalo
We enjoyed a visit to Lake Buffalo today, about 22km from where we are staying, to cool down.

Lake Buffalo is a Goulburn Murray Water storage on the Buffalo River, 24km south of Myrtleford. It lies at the foot of the western slope of Mount Buffalo National Park, and is a popular fishing, water skiing and picnicking venue.

Lake Buffalo was originally planned as a two-stage project. Stage one involved the construction of a 31 metre high and 600 metre long earth and rockfill embankment, with a gated primary spillway and outlet works located within the dam wall. This structure was completed in 1965, and created a storage with a capacity of almost 24,000 megalitres.

It doesn’t say on the official website, but I guess stage two never went ahead. There has been talk of expansion over the years, but nothing has come of it.

The water stored in Lake Buffalo is used to supplement flows in the Ovens River for irrigation and urban water supply. The dam initially supplied a thriving tobacco industry in the valley, however this has now changed to numerous vineyards.

The Federal Government bought out the tobacco industry, partly to end the infiltration of organised crime and tax avoidance through the manufacture of illegal chop chop.

The capacity of the storage represents only six percent of the mean annual flow in the Buffalo River.

When I was editor of the Myrtleford Times there was always talk of Lake Buffalo’s development potential for tourism.

It’s definitely an underrated site in that regard. I suspect Goulburn Murray Water is happy to keep it that way.

The facilities are a little rundown, but at least there are toilets available if you need them. The grassy bank hadn’t been mowed for a while, despite this being the peak of the January tourist season.

There were only eight or nine families there today and two boats on the lake, that we could see.

It is a lovely spot on a hot day.

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3 Comments on "Lake Buffalo, Myrtleford"

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5 years 8 months ago

i love lake bufflo in easter we go up there with some friend and family i love driving the boat and sittting back and sun baking i love going knne boarding sking and dounting it is the best time it is really quite up thier i love it how the riples run and there nose of the boat it is a dream come true you should go there the best lake in victora.

6 years 7 months ago

Looks like you are having a great holiday. I did not know the history of Lake Buffalo, nor about its role in the tobacco industry.
Your history lessons always appeal, love reading stuff like this.

What is chop chop? Is it a slang term for Marihuana, Cannabis?

6 years 7 months ago

Thanks Ebony. Chop chop was the name given to tobacco used in the illegal manufacture of cigarettes. As the government’s tax take from cigarettes increased, organised crime began acquiring tobacco on the black market, either by stealing it or paying above-market cash rates to growers.

They made their own cigarettes and sold them at prices significantly lower than in shops.

After the tobacco industry on the Atherton Tablelands closed down, Myrtleford was the last growing district in Australia.

It was cheaper for the government to buy out the growers and close the industry down than it was to lose the tax revenue.