Lake King Remodelling

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1. Lake King Project Overview 

The Lake King re-modelling project was a major component of the Rutherglen Economic Revitalisation Project. The Lake King project addressed critical dam safety and landscaping works leading to the overall enhancement of the Lake King recreational area. It included improvements to pathways and connectivity to the town centre.

Following community drop-in sessions held in late November 2018, Council advertised a tender for the civil earthworks component of the project and awarded the tender to Walsh Wodonga Pty Ltd.

The bulk earthworks, civil construction, drainage and outfall structure and landscaping works have all been completed. The enhanced landscaping works included new seating, garden bed construction and grass seeding works.

The lake’s new wetland pond structure has been constructed to specifically designed natural water levels that provides ideal growing conditions for aquatic plant life. These water plants will allow critical water filtration and aeration to the lake ensuring a healthy aquatic environment and preventing the growth of blue-green algae. 

Garden beds have been planted out with tubestock plantings of native trees and shrubs indigenous to the local region.

 View a drawing of the Lake King project here(PDF, 4MB).

2. Project Updates

View milestones and updates on the Lake King Remodelling Project

August 2020

Lake King Planting Concluded for 2020. 

The first week of August has seen the conclusion of planting improvements for this season around the remodelled Lake King Precinct. In a huge effort, community volunteers with the support of Council staff came out in force. Appropriately-masked and distanced across the large site, they planted another 1300 native plants at the Western end of the lake ahead of the renewed Stage 3 restrictions.

This last session brought the total number of natives planted by community volunteers and school groups to just under 4000. This is on top of the many thousands already planted by landscaping contractors in the lake and around its immediate edge. Council staff will continue to work on establishing the grassed open spaces along the embankments and within the unplanted part of the spillway over the coming months, whilst project staff, members of the Rutherglen Park Committee and Rutherglen Landcare will monitor the new plants as they settle in.

The last plants were planted ahead of the welcome rain forecast for the end of the week which, we hope, will set them up for a successful growing season. With the rain comes the chance the lake will send water over the concrete spillway pathway as it is designed to do. However, until grasses are established the water has the tendency to bring with it some silt and clay which can cause the surface to become slippery for pedestrians. Recent mulching and ground works have improved this but people are asked to be mindful and use the alternative pathway if the spillway has water actively flowing over it or is covered in silt.

Council and the Rutherglen Park Committee of Management would like to thank all of those who have helped with the recent plantings and acknowledge there were many others in the community who were willing to help but unfortunately could not. The ongoing establishment of this excellent community asset will take some years so it is clear there will be other opportunities in the future to get involved. For now though, it’s up to Mother Nature to help this first batch of plants thrive.



July 2020 - Update

Council staff have been working hard over the last week to drill planting holes in preparation for volunteers who wish to assist with planting some of the 4000 locally grown natives we have ready for planting around the remodelled Lake King area.

We had the first of a number of planting sessions needed to get all of the plants into the ground, with the Rutherglen Rotary Club planting over 900 trees, shrubs and grasses this week. Councils Project Engineer will be in touch with other community groups and individuals, who have previously expressed an interest in being involved, to organise similar sessions over the coming weeks.

Community involvement in this stage of the Lakes revegetation has been a part of the project planning from early on and we are hopeful, even with the challenges associated with Covid-19, we can still action this to a more limited extent in a safe and carefully managed way.

Council would again like to thank the Rutherglen Park Committee of Management and Rutherglen Landcare members for their invaluable support in delivering this important community project.

Look out for more updates, or better still, take a walk around the lake and see the progress for yourself.

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July 2020

Lake King Landscaping Progress Update

Regular visitors to Lake King would have seen a lot of activity in recent weeks as Council staff carried out landscape improvements in between the days of rain. The majority of large scale works to spread soil, mulch and seed concluded this week along with the wetland planting. A number of more established native trees have already been planted and Council will soon take delivery of the native tube stack plants destined for the newly created garden beds. Council are working on a staged plan with a number of local groups to work on planting these throughout July. More details for follow.

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June 2020

Landscaping Update

Landscaping improvements planned for this winter are underway around Lake King with the first stage completed this week (12 June). Contractors have extended the irrigation system into the area between Apex Park and Lake King which will allow Council parks staff to re-establish green open spaces following the planned topsoil improvements.

In addition to establishing these green spaces works will commence next week on the expansion of large mulched areas all around the lake in preparation for planting in July. These areas will be subject to soil improvements, light ripping and mulching to give the native plants the best possible start.

Planting of large quantities of specialist wetland plants directly into the lake bed will eventually provide habitat and food for the lake fauna and help maintain water quality.

While every effort will be made to keep the pathway around the lake open to the public during these works, for the safety of the public, there will be some times when we have to fully close the path or provide detours in short sections when large equipment is working.

We appreciate your understanding and patience while we complete this next phase in the Lake King remodelling project. 



May 2020

Heavy rainfall in the first few days of May,  saw an influx of water into the Lake King wetland area with the lake reaching its capacity. This is the first time the lake has been full since it was extensively remodelled around 12 months ago to reduce the risks associated with the old leaking dam wall. 

Recent additional works to expand the concrete spillway and improve the alignment and catchment of the inlet drain from the Golf Course are working well.  


Planting within the water and around the water’s edge commenced on the first weekend in May. The appointed contractors estimate that it will take around six weeks to complete the planting of over 33,000 native plants at the site.

There is also a second concurrent landscaping project underway which will see further planting of native trees, shrubs and grasses around the Lake King land areas. Growing and planning for this stage is ongoing with planting programmed for over winter following advice from our nursery.

This project is jointly funded by a Federal Government Communities Environment Program grant and a significant financial contribution from the Rutherglen Park & Recreation Reserve Committee of Management. The members of Rutherglen’s Landcare group continue to provide valuable local knowledge and expertise on this project. 

Irrigation Extension

Planning has also commenced on a project to extend the irrigation system between Apex Park and Lake King. The increased irrigation system will aid the future establishment of grass in this area linking these two spaces. More to follow as planning progresses. 

Murray Street Pathway Link

Project Engineers have also drawn up concept plans for a connecting pathway between the existing footpath on Murray Street and the gravel pathway link from Lake King. This accessible graded path is currently being reviewed by local community stakeholders and we hope to provide more information soon on its alignment and construction. 


May 2019

Construction works on Lake King continue with all major earthworks are complete as of the end of May. In the beginning of June the concrete spillway, outfall structure and refurbished viewing platform will be installed. 

The next stage of the project will be construction of pathways, garden bed preparation and plant installation.

March 2019

In the last week of March staff from the Victorian Fisheries Authority and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), assisted by Council's civil works contractor and project manager, successfully caught and relocated a large number of native wildlife left in the last undisturbed pond within the Lake King remodelling area.

More than 250 short and long-neck turtles and dozens of small yellow belly fish were safely relocated into a newly remodelled and water filled section of Lake King to the south of the island. In addition around 16 mature yellow belly fish were relocated to join the Victorian Fisheries Authority breeding program in support of future stocking activities.

This successful relocation will allow civil earthworks to be completed on the remodelling of the Western end of Lake King, all while taking care of our native wildlife.

February 2019

As of mid-February earthworks have now commenced at Lake King to lower the dam wall and remodel the area. As a result, the walking track section over the dam wall is temporarily closed. However, the other walking tracks to the south and east are unaffected and remain open.

For your safety during the works, please keep out of the area and observe any construction signage. The civil works are expected to take up to 10 weeks, with landscaping to follow. 

3. Communities Environment Program Grant

Updated 20 February 2020

Council was successful in securing a Commonwealth Government grant of almost $14,000 under the Communities Environment Program which will be used for native revegetation around the newly remodelled Lake King wetland area, providing habitat and food sources for native animals, fish and turtles.  

The project is being coordinated by a small working group involving Council staff, the Rutherglen Park & Recreation Reserve Committee of Management and members of the Rutherglen Landcare Group.

Orders have now been placed for native plants which are indigenous to the area and planning will continue over the coming months in preparation for a large scale planting this Autumn and Winter when conditions are favourable. The working group will be calling for assistance from community members in the coming months to help facilitate the planting of the tube-stock plants.

In addition to this terrestrial planting project, Council has engaged a company to grow and plant a large quantity of specialist wetland plants in and around Lake King this coming Autumn/Winter planting season.

We are excited to see these two projects come to fruition and look forward to providing more information as planning progresses.  

4. Frequently Asked Questions - Lake King

Why does the lake have to be modified?

A Hydrology Study and Consequence Assessment conducted in June 2013 determined that the dam wall was unsafe and posed a risk to infrastructure, property and to the Rutherglen community. The study concluded that:

  • Lake King either be decommissioned and converted into a wetland or water feature or,

  • Remedial works be carried out to the Dam wall to make it safe and compliant with ANGOLD Guidelines.

 The option to remediate and strengthen the dam wall required the relocation of the Rutherglen bowling club and predicted that the capital costs would be in the order of $10 million dollars.

The option to convert Lake King to a wetland was selected to both enhance and better activate this recreational area in a cost-effective way and mitigate the risks to the Rutherglen Community.

Where was the dam wall leaking?

Several seepage areas have been identified within the vicinity of the Rutherglen Bowls club towards the eastern end of the dam wall. The leaks were identified in 2011 and are believed to be as a result of vegetation planted on the dam wall, additions of spoil to the dam wall and from an old decommissioned cast iron outlet pipe.

What is the current risk to the community from Lake King?

Risks from dam leakage were significantly reduced following the installation of an outfall drain in 2014. The immediate effect was to lower the maximum water level and reduce the volume of water that could be retained by the dam wall. There is however still a residual Dam safety risk to be minimised to within ANCOLD guidelines by lowering the NWL to 168.00 with a maximum spillway level set at 168.30.

Will the proposed works increase the potential for flooding of Murray Street?

The conversion of the Lake will reduce the potential for the lake to flood Murray Street.

When will the construction works commence?

Bulk earthworks and final landscaping expected to commence early in 2019 for completion by mid-year.

What should we generally expect to see as works progress?

Effectively the project will lower the height of the dam wall to varying degrees along its current length and place this material back in and around the lake to create the new landscape features. In general terms the dam wall will be lowered approximately 1.5m immediately behind the Bowling club and at least 2.5m either side of this. A new concrete spillway/footpath will be created at the Western end which will take any overflow through a wide grassy channel into the drainage system. 

What is the design level of the proposed water body?

The normal top of water level (NTWL) has been designed to 168.00 AHD. This is the water level that has been determined to be sustainable on a long term basis. 168.00 is approximately 0.5m above the current water level as at 2 November 2018.

Will the water body dry out more often once the works are complete?

The results of hydrological calculations based on historical data indicate that the wetland will have water in it 90% of the time with the new design normal water level of 168.00 being achieved about 65 per cent of the time.

Those calculations also indicate a more stable level in the wetland, particularly when compared to the fluctuations in water level experienced historically.

How deep will the water body be?

The proposed remodelling works will not excavate below the current level of the base of Lake King, based on advice DELWP received following the Dam safety assessment. The remodelled water body will have varying depths, up to maximum of 1.5m for the NWL of 168.0. The maximum depth will increase to 1.8m at times of peak inflows.

The deeper and shallower sections maximise habitat opportunities and water quality within the waterbody.  The shallower areas with depths of around 300mm within the wetland areas will eventually be planted with specially selected species.

How will fishing be impacted by the new water body design?

The design of the remodelled water body incorporates opportunities to create habitat for fish and access to the deeper parts of the water body for angles in the future. Council has noted the community’s request to the stocking of the water body with native fish and conveyed these requests to DELWP, who retain the ultimate management and control of the Lake King reserve.

What is the volume of water in Lake King?

The current capacity is approximately 31.5ML following the installation of the outlet pipe in 2014. The reduction of risk to dam safety requires the remodelled water level to be reduced so that the maximum volume contained in Lake King is reduced to 20ML.

How will the works impact the local wild life?

Initially the works will create a disturbance for wild life. To help mitigate disturbance to local fauna consideration will be given to the timing and staging of the construction works to minimise disturbance during breeding seasons. However, the remodelled water body and adjoining environs will create greater habitat diversity and opportunity for local wild life once fully established.

What are the benefits to the local community of remodelling Lake King?

The remodelling of Lake King has the opportunity to provide many benefits to the local community. Some of the key benefits are as follows:

  • Improved visual amenity
  • Designed to remove expanse of ‘bare clay’ areas around the wetland edge
  • Greater visual and physical connection with the surrounding landscape, particularly with Murray Street.
  • Improved habitat opportunities for local fauna
  • Greater vegetation diversity
  • Improved pedestrian links and circulation
  • Opportunities to work in with local arts community
  • Increased patronage of the immediate and local area
  • The creation of a safe user friendly asset for the community

Can the community get involved in the landscaping?

 A major component of the finished project will be its re-vegetation once completion of the bulk earthworks and landscaping are completed. This will be timed to be completed during the preferred planting seasons after summer. There is the potential for interested community members to register their interest in assisting Council officers in this planting process at the appropriate time to help kick start the development of this important asset.