Wednesday, May 10

Lake Tyers










In April we visited Lake Tyers, a 4.5 hours’ pleasant drive from Melbourne which is located just past Lakes Entrance in East Gipsland. The pictures above are of nearby Nowa Nowa, one of the lakes, the homestead and 90 mile beach.   
East Gipsland boasts 11 world class Coastal Parks and Reserves with 400 square kilometers of lakes to make it Australia’s largest inland waterway. Housing a wide variety of wildlife there are 200 species of birds and the marine life includes dolphins and pelicans. The Ninety Mile Beach is one of the longest uninterrupted beaches in the world, which faces Bass Strait and backs on to the extensive network of Lakes.  
Lake Tyers Beach, is on the south-eastern shore of Lake Tyers, close to where the Lakes outlet enters the sea. Lake Tyers is a river valley separated from the ocean by only a thin strip of sand dunes, whose outlet remains closed by a wide sandbar, except for occasional overflows after very heavy rain.
 
Although we did not participate in the walks organized by our friends from the bush walking club there was evening meals and coffee stops which provided many opportunities to share experiences about the day’s events.
One member from the group who went for a morning brisk walk along the beach encountered a pair of emus who maintained a steady gait ahead at a respectable distance until finally disappearing into the sand dunes. On another occasion a member’s nephew, whose interest is conservation, gave a fascinating account of local bird life. He shared his local experience from his app as we listened to about 50 different species of bird calls he had encountered, identifying reasons and pitches applicable to each of the species. The following day we shared in a short walk with him as he identified the many diverse plants along the way.
 
Early history
The site was first visited by Europeans in 1846, named after C.J. Tyers who was then Commissioner of Crown Lands.
In 1861 an Aboriginal mission station was set up on the northern shore to farm crops, fruit trees and sheep. These agricultural pursuits were complemented by traditional hunting and fishing.
 
Closure of the mission station was proposed in the 1960s and many Aborigines moved to surrounding towns, particularly Nowa Nowa.
However, in 1970 the station was transferred to Aboriginal ownership. Although the school closed, other community services have been established and farming activities have been successfully extended.
Recent developments
Under the Native Title Settlement Act 2010, the first signed agreement was made with the Traditional Owners, the Gunaikurnai nations. The agreement was between the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC), representing Traditional Owners whereby the Gunaikurnai people undertake joint management of 10 parks and reserves in consultation with Parks Victoria.  There are more than 600 Traditional Owners, all of whom have proven their ancestral links to one of 25 Apical Ancestors registered in the Native Title Consent Determination. Pictures below are of the settlement to day.
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More local history
A school and church was constructed in1878. In 1886, a Hotel and grand guest house to seat 120 guests was established. Visitors enjoyed established forest walks, fishing and lake boating trips, Accessibility was enhanced once a coach service began from nearby Orbost.
The principal industry from the 1890s, was timber which was transported to Lakes Entrance by tramway. The logs were then floated across the lake to various Sawmills dotted around the lake until the late 1940s. Production gradually fell way until in 1972, 5300 hectares of remaining forest surrounding the lake were proclaimed a Forest Park.
The first industry was a glass factory established in 1908, using local quartz sand and manufacturing cups, bottles and ornaments before the contracts were lost and the factory was abandoned in 1912. Later a school and another guest house was constructed.
Postwar period
A small number of housing blocks and estates with subdivisions ensued so that the local community and holiday homes were soon sufficient to support a general store. By the early 1960s boat ramps and jetties were constructed to cater for the growing number of holiday makers.
Today there are just two caravan parks, a general store, a hotel-motel and some holiday accommodation. The school had only 26 pupils in 2014. Lake Tyers Beach might be aptly described as still a small very quiet holiday location with a number of permanent residents.
What attracts most visitors are the fishing and boating on Lake Tyers. There is also the opportunity to hire boats or go on scenic lake cruises.
Nowa Nowa,
One day we met up at Nowa Nowa, which is about 20 km north of Lakes Entrance and whose early pioneers harvested timber which was shipped to local sawmills. Nowa Nowa served for a couple of years from the 1890s as a location for the Tambo shire council. However settlement did not eventuate until the 1900s, with a school and railway which breathed new life to the fledgling community, followed by a road and bridges. By the1930s there were six sawmills and a local football team, a rifle club, a Country Women's Association branch, a thriving community of stores and a hotel.
Today there are about 140 residents in this township.
We enjoyed the township and lake and the Nowa Nowa gallery where there was displayed the root system made into a sculpture of Messmate – Eucalyptus obliqua. The tree grew in one metre of sandy loam on top on a limestone shelf. Where the root failed to penetrate the limestone, the roots grew laterally. Its age was estimated to be up to 300 years old and width of the root system was 7 metres.
Local historical site
Another excursion was to Nyermilang Heritage Park which was once a holiday retreat for a wealthy Melbournian, but now is in public ownership. The gracious old homestead of the 1920’s era is open to the public surrounded by an extensive garden and 5 walking tracks.    

6 comments:

♥ N o v a said...

Did you stay at the hotel that was established in 1886?

susan said...

It's a very beautiful spot, Lindsay. Thanks so much for the fascinating information and the news it now belongs to the traditional peoples.

All the best

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Nova,
No, the old pub located on the eastern end of the Lake, handy to where the steamers docked is I think the site for the Waterwheel Beach Tavern where we had a meal. The tavern overlooks the lakes and ninety mile beach. But we stayed in a unit in a caravan park not far from the pub.
Best wishes

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan,
Indeed !!
After the decimation of the aborigines following settlement it is indeed fitting the descendants now have control and ownership over their former lands.
Best wishes

Mercutio said...

This is a very good account. Thank you for sharing this, Lindsay; else, I would likely never have known of the place. You would make an excellent tour guide.
A very interesting place.

I have a couple of questions though, and they are really more related to how things are on the ground here:

1) 80% of all fish in the Illinois River are now Asian carp, and it is expected they will soon cross the canals in Chicago to enter Lake Michigan. When that happens (as it is no longer a question of 'if'), species depletion in the Great Lakes will see a pace as never before.
Are there dangers of species loss in the Lakes there, and what is being done to protect the waters?

2) Agricultural run-off is quite an issue in this area. One reason is the area of cleared land. In Illinois, you can see for miles out on the horizon, because there are no trees. You would see the difference immediately on entering Wisconsin-- there are trees in Wisconsin, all around. In Iowa, there are spots of wooded area that break the roll of the farmland. But in Illinois, the only break is at a protected reserve just south of Lasalle.
Could you say a bit of what is being done toward sustainable farming in the area?
Thanks.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Mercutio,

European Carp

As you no doubt readily appreciate introduced European Carp have also wreaked havoc here, being responsible for algal blooms, erosion, disease and a drastic reduction in native fish populations. However the Carp cannot survive in water 20 parts per thousand saline. Given the lower river run offs and some dredging at the mouth the desired increased salinity has ensured the carp’s populations has rapidly declined. The network of Lakes area is now largely free of European carp.
But in regard to Australia’s river systems, up to 90% in some rivers have become infested by carp. However the government funded research institution the CSIRO is convinced it has a carp specific virus (CyHV-3) potentially able to kill 70-80% of the carp in our rivers. But it requires approval both at the state and federal level before even a pilot scheme can be implemented. Hence there needs to be more research on how one could protect the clean waterways and also fund the horrendous cost of cleaning up all the dead carp. A decision on whether the virus will be released will be made towards the end of 2018.

Sustainability

Lakes Entrance remains home to one of Australia's largest commercial fishing fleets and currently there is some debate over moves to ensure its future sustainability. The Government has announced a new plan to commence next year to ensure there is enough fish in the system to sustain future populations.
This new plan is an extension of the current exclusion zone which bans commercial net fishing in the Lakes within 400 metres of the mouth of any river, creek or stream. The extension will now totally ban commercial net fishing from all river mouths. The aim is to protect the passage of migratory fish to ensure fish stocks are not depleted and means commercial net fishing exclusion zones increase by 50 per cent from next year. Commercial net fishermen are saying this will devastate their industry, although they acknowledge moves to ensure the sustainability of future fish stocks are necessary.
But what has raised the ire of the commercial fishermen concurrent to this move is the provision for more recreational fishing industry anglers. The government argues this move is not a threat to fish stock and recreational fishing adds more in tourist value than the commercial fishing industry.

Farming and agriculture

As you may have gathered Lakes Entrance is predominantly fishing and there are a very small number of farms and orchards surrounded by state forests so there is not much concern over any potential run off of fertilsers and so forth into the network of lakes.
Best wishes