Photographs and Adventures

Kununurra and Lake Argyle


Kununurra is a town in far northern Western Australia located at the eastern extremity of the Kimberley region, approximately 37 kilometres (23 miles) from the border with the Northern Territory. The town of Kununurra was initiated to service the Ord River Irrigation Scheme.

14.Kununurra & Lake Argyle-1

Lake Argyle was formed by damming the Ord River and other smaller creeks and rivers, and is Australia’s largest artificial lake by volume.

14.Kununurra & Lake Argyle-2

The construction of the Ord River Dam was completed in 1971. The dam was officially opened the following year. The dam is 335 metres long, and 98 metres high. The earth-fill only dam wall at Lake Argyle is the most efficient dam in Australia in terms of the ratio of the size of the dam wall to the amount of water stored. The lake was named after the property it partly submerged, Argyle Downs

14.Kununurra & Lake Argyle-3

Rainbow Bee Eater

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Rainbow Bee Eater, on branch at Dead Horse Springs, Lake Kununurra.

14.Kununurra & Lake Argyle-5

Brilliant yellow Kapok flowers. Lake Argyle lookout.

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The Ord River as it leaves Lake Argyle. The dam wall can be seen in the top third of the photograph.

The Ord irrigation scheme has allowed crops such as these sunflowers to be grown in the formerly arid area.

The Ord irrigation scheme has allowed crops such as these sunflowers to be grown in the formerly arid area. 

14.Kununurra & Lake Argyle-8

Ivanhoe Crossing was once the way to get across the Ord River

14.Kununurra & Lake Argyle-9

But these days, the crossing is closed to traffic due to the constantly flowing water, and has become a popular fishing and picnic spot.

Lake Argyle and Kununurra are like an oasis in this dry and isolated land. Lake Argyle normally has a surface area of about 1,000 square kilometres and there are currently around 150 square kilometres of farmland under irrigation in the East Kimberly region.

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