Located 13km west of Charlton, the Wooroonook Lakes were an important source of water for the First People’s and became a life line for the early settlers in the 1870s. The site has seen plenty of fishing, swimming and boating for over 100 years. Excellent facilities include 10 powered sites, an amenities block, BBQ, playground and a pontoon.
FEES: (honesty system)
Annual memberships: Boating and camping $125
Camping only membership $50
DAILY Member: $10.00, Non member: $15.00
WEEKLY: Member: $60.00, Non member: $100.00
Non powered sites:
DAILY Flat rate: $5.00
Boat launch fee: $10 per launch
The Wooroonook area is shared by two neighbouring Nations:
The Yung Balug Clan, whose Country encompasses Bridgewater, Serpentine to Mt Buckrabanyule, Boort, Kinypaniel Creek, Charlton and the Loddon and Avoca Rivers, are part of the Dja Dja Wurrung People.
The Bulugdja Clan, also known as Djubagalg gundidj, which translates to ‘People of the Lake’ and refers to Lake Buloke, the centre of their Country. They are part of the Wergaia Clans known as Maligundidj, which means the people belonging to the Mali (Mallee).
Lakes offer a vital water and food source for Indigenous peoples travelling through Country, usually along designated routes known as Songlines. Songlines lead to culturally significant locations where friendships are renewed, and goods, songs, stories and information are traded, or knowledge exchanged.
Wooroonook Lakes are an important stopping and meeting place and their location and significance has been passed onto each generation and shared between other neighbouring Nations.
Songlines with their important landmarks and waypoints are learned through ceremonies, art, song and dance. Songlines are also ‘mapped’ in the stars whereby various constellations are markers to indicate direction and the locations of other important cultural and physical information.
Aboriginal habitation continues to be evident in this area. There are trees bearing scars where bark was removed for the creation of canoes, shelters, shields and coolamons. These trees only bear scars on one side ensuring their ongoing survival. Also present are stone tool scatters and middens where debris from cooking and eating food has accumulated over time.
Wildlife is diverse around the lakes with numerous bird species, grey kangaroos, swamp wallabies, brush tail possums and native water rats. The lake is stocked regularly with fish for recreational fishing.
With the arrival of European settlers to the area in the 1870s, the Wooroonook Lakes became their lifeline in dry years. In addition to watering livestock and providing water for households, the lakes became a popular recreation spot for picnics, swimming, boating and duck shooting. Lake Wooroonook was so popular during the 1930s it was referred to as a ‘miniature St Kilda beach’ with two dressing sheds, a pier, diving platforms and a fenced off area for swimming competitions.
Lake Wooroonook became the venue for countless end of year school breakups, church picnics and sports carnivals. In 1960, skiing was introduced with the ski carnivals attracting crowds of up to 2000 visitors. The first skiers had to contend with trees, stumps and unknown snags in the water until 1966, when working bees were held to clear the debris using tractors and gelignite.
Over the years, continuing improvements such as the sanded and grassed foreshore, the addition of powered camping sites, a playground and a pontoon, has seen the lakes remain popular with locals and tourists. A dedicated volunteer group fundraise each year to help pay for water to fill the lake and make other infrastructure improvements.