Looking more: Can you ...

  • Find where our kangaroo tracks are?
  • Count the number of footprints in the panel?
  • Spot our 'carbon footprint'?
  • Remember how many different types of footprints are in the panel?
  • Create a story about our missing footprint?

Learning more: Do you know ...

  • How many waterholes are in Drysdale?
  • The names of the waterholes in Drysdale?
  • How the waterholes in Drysdale got their current names?
  • What rare birds you might see at the waterholes?
  • Why there is a midden by a waterhole in the panel?

Learning more

How many waterholes does Drysdale have?

Drysdale has three waterholes, each connecting with the groundwater system that feeds into Port Phillip Bay via Griggs Creek.

What are the past and current names of the waterholes?

Each waterhole was named after a local man prominent in Drysdale in the nineteenth century. Initially, the three lakes were known collectively as Sproat’s Waterholes, after a major local landowner. Subsequently, they were renamed McLeod’s Waterholes, probably after Dr. Angus McLeod, an early settler, Head Teacher at the Free Presbyterian church and school and an active participant in local affairs.

In 1872, the Bellarine Shire Council renamed the 30 acre lake to the south of the Geelong-Portarlington Road “Lake Lorne”; the remaining two lakes retained the name McLeod’s Waterholes*.

* According to Willey (2010: p9), the lake was named “in honour of the Victorian Governor of the day”. However, at that time (1866 – 1873), the governor of Victoria was Sir John Manners-Sutton, the third Viscount Canterbury. John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll - known between 1847 and 1900 as Marquess (Marquis) of Lorne – was the fourth Governor General of Canada between 1878 and 1883. In the preceding ten years (i.e. when Lake Lorne was renamed in 1872), Lorne travelled throughout North and Central America, writing travel literature and poetry.

Why do the waterholes ATTRACT birdwatchers from around the world?

The three lakes are natural, fresh water lakes that are important habitats for a wide range of water birds. The largest - Lake Lorne is a natural shallow freshwater wetland of nearly 12 hectares; and of the two McLeod's Waterholes, the upper is much smaller and shallower and attracts various waterbirds.

The waterholes' visitors and residents include the rare Blue-billed Duck, the rare Freckled Duck, Black Swan, Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey and Chestnut Teal and Eurasian Coot. Large numbers of Cormorants, Shag and Egrets roost on the islands on Lake Lorne and at McLeod's waterholes; they fly in during the afternoon and evening.

Wathaurong at the Waterholes

The area around McLeod's Waterholes contains aboriginal oven mounds, middens and artifacts dating from between 3,000 and 5,0000 years ago, indicating that the waterholes were an important food and meeting site for the Wathaurong people.


Relevant organisations