Lake Sambell

A view of Lake Sambell

Feedback sought on Draft Master Plan

The draft Masterplan is available for download here: (10MB pdf, 44 A4 pages).

The online survey can be completed at, or you can download a PDF version of the survey to complete offline.

Comments on the draft Master Plan can be sent to:
Indigo Shire Council
Lake Sambell Draft Master Plan
PO Box 28 Beechworth 3747
or emailed to

Dam repair has begun

Work started in January on the repair of the leaking dam wall at Lake Sambell in Beechworth. Cracks in the dam wall have worsened over the past six months and a new leak at the toe of the wall has appeared.

Council received $2 million from the State Government towards the $3 million cost earlier in the year. Council has already budgeted to borrow $0.5 million towards the repair cost.

A dams expert presented the case for urgent repairs to a community information session and a Council Briefing in recent months. Council decided at its November meeting to defer $437,000 in capital works and operational spending and borrow $100,000 in 2015-16 to make up the difference in the cost of the work.

Mayor Cr Bernard Gaffney says that emergency action is the only solution. “The dam cannot be drained and cannot be left at its current level without failing,” he said. “We are currently going through a master plan process for the whole Lake Sambell site, including the Chinese Gardens, so that we will have a clear plan for the future. We have consulted with the community on this master plan and will have a final draft ready early in 2015 for further feedback.”

The repair work on the wall is estimated to take four to five months.

Chinese Gardens

Up to 40% of the Chinese Gardens will be impacted by the extended dam wall. Because of this a section of the gardens will be relocated and Council will look at funding options for this work over the next two financial years.

History of Lake Sambell

Beechworth's Lake Sambell is a popular attraction for visitors and local residents. The site was the former home of the Rocky Mountain Mining Company which operated an open cut sluice mine from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s.

In the 1920s the area was designated for recreation and the lake was constructed. The lake and surrounding area is a popular site for residents and visitors with the main recreational pursuits swimming, fishing, canoeing, cycling and a walking track right around the lake. The area is Crown Land and is managed by a committee of management that reports to Indigo Shire Council. On January 9, 2012, significant cracks were identified where the wall had been previously widened. The water level in the lake has been lowered by two metres to reduce pressure on the wall.

Lake Sambell Master Plan

Council is developing a Master Plan to guide future improvements of the Lake Sambell Reserve including the Chinese Gardens. Council is working with a regional consultancy firm, Spiire, to develop the plan. A community information session held on Monday 29 September 2014, Town Hall, Beechworth attracted 55 residents to hear about:

  • Repairs to the leaking dam wall at Lake Sambell
  • Concept plan for the Chinese Gardens
  • Masterplan for the whole Lake Sambell area
  • The process for Community input into the Masterplan

Documents for download

Last updated: 06 March 2015