The Lachlan River at Cowra
|Origin||east of Gunning|
|Mouth||joins the Murrumbidgee River near Oxley|
|Length||1450 km (901 mi)|
|Avg. discharge||averages 40 m3/sec but extremely erratic|
|Basin area||84,700 km²|
The river starts in the central mountains of New South Wales, near Gunning. Other rivers that join the Lachlan River are the Carcoar River, the Belubula River and the Abercrombie River. They join the Lachlan near the town of Cowra.
Wyangala Dam was built near Cowra to control the amount of water in the river. The Lachlan does not get its water from melting snow like the Murrumbidgee River or the Murray River. It does not have a regular amount of water flowing down it. In 1944 the flow was less than 1,000 megalitres (810 acre-feet). Six years later (1950) there was a flow of 10,900,000 megalitres (8.8 million acre feet). In dry years, for example April 1944 to April 1945, the Lachlan may have no water flowing in it at all. The Lachlan has flooded every 7 years since 1887 at Forbes.
The Lachlan River flows west and then south, finishes in the Great Cumbung swamp. This swamp is near Oxley between Hay and Balranald. Water from this big (500 km²) swamp finally goes into the Murrumbidgee River. Water from the Lachlan is used for farming.
The Lachlan river is in the area where the aboriginal people called the Wiradjuri lived. The Wiradjuri land has been called "the land of the three rivers, the Wambool (Macquarie), the Kalare (Lachlan) and the Murrumbidjeri (Murrumbidgee) . The Murray River was the south side of Wiradjuri land. The change from forest to open grassland was the east side."
The European who found the Lachlan River in 1815 was Acting-Surveyor George William Evans. He named the river after Lachlan Macquarie, the Governor of New South Wales. The Lachlan River was explored by John Oxley in 1817.
In the early days of New South Wales, the south part of the Lachlan was known as Fish River. With more exploration it was realized that two rivers were the same river and the name Fish River was dropped.
In 1870 the river flooded. The top of the flood water was measured at 15.9 metres at Cowra. Since 1887, the highest flood level at Forbes was in June 1952. The river got to 10.8m (35 feet 3 inches) at the Forbes Iron Bridge. More than 900 families had to move away. Many were saved from roof-tops by boat and helicopter. During the flood in August 1990, 132 houses in Forbes were flooded. The water covered their floors. Floods in 1992 were smaller than 1990, but Lachlan Valley farmers lost about 30 percent of their lucerne crops just before harvest. At least 500 sheep were drowned on farms in the Eugowra/Trundle area. Most of Eugowra's 400 residents were moved for safety. Other big floods were in: 1891, 1916, 1951, 1956, 1961, 1974, 1976, 1993, 1998.
Major rivers that flow into the Lachlan
Towns along the Lachlan
- Reids Flat
- Wyangala Dam
- Darbys Falls
- Paytens Bridge
- "Flood management: Effects of Flooding in Forbes". Engineering Services. Forbes Shire Council. 2007. http://forbes.local-e.nsw.gov.au/roads/1095/1107.html. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- "Landcare in the Lachlan Catchment". Landcare. 2005. http://www.lcwl.org.au/lachlanregion.php. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- Mary Coe, in her book Windradyne: A Wiradjuri Koori quoted at page 4 in Patrick, Kathy; Samantha Simmons (1994). "Australian Museum's Aboriginal Collections: Wiradjuri" (pdf: 39 pages). Australian Museum. http://www.austmus.gov.au/ahu/pdf/wiradjuri.pdf. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- Reed, A. W., Place-names of New South Wales: Their Origins and Meanings (Reed: 1969).
- "New South Wales State Flood Plan" (pdf). sub plan of the State Disaster Plan. State Emergency Management Committee. 2001. http://emergencynsw.hail.noggin.com.au/media/99.pdf. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- "Central-Western NSW: Flood". EMA disasters database. Emergency Management Australia. http://www.ema.gov.au/ema/emadisasters.nsf/6a1bf6b4b60f6f05ca256d1200179a5b/d5930dc0fdb46704ca256d33000581e9?OpenDocument. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- "Widespread NSW: Flash Floods". EMA disasters database. Emergency Management Australia. http://www.ema.gov.au/ema/emadisasters.nsf/6a1bf6b4b60f6f05ca256d1200179a5b/8fc077c50a2395b7ca256d3300058047?OpenDocument. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- "Flood risk in NSW". Floodplains. NSW Department of Natural resources. http://www.naturalresources.nsw.gov.au/floodplains/risk.shtml. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- "The Catchment". Lachlan Catchment Management Authority. http://www.lachlan.cma.nsw.gov.au/catchment.html. Retrieved 2007-09-18.