Lake Macquarie History

Sharks in Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie has long been a popular holiday destination during the summer months, it’s cool breezes, ample fishing and abundance of water sports making it a well-used camping spot during the December/January holiday period.

However people are not the only creatures to seek out the Lake in the warmer months. There have been numerous reports of sharks in the Lake published in the Newcastle herald over the years. An article appearing in the Newcastle Herald Monday 17 April 1882, which records a fisherman was “supposedly” killed by a shark in Lake Macquarie.

photo: shark at fennell bay

A group of three or four men were fishing when one of them fell overboard. A little bantering passed between them, during which the man who had fallen in replied that he would swim ashore. Shortly after he took off his jacket it was believed a shark dragged him under and he was never seen again. The fact that a shark was responsible was never substantiated.

In March 1934 a ten foot blue pointer shark was caught at Speers Point after it “made a dash at a dog in the water near the esplanade” (Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 8/3/1934).

The following year Mr H. Clouten netted a shark, estimated to have been 10ft in length and approximately 600lbs in weight, while he was fishing in the lake. The newspaper reported that he intended to present the jaws to the students of Toronto Public School (Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 19/3/1935).

Two big sharks made an unexpected appearance during a 1936 Lake Macquarie Yacht Club race (Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 17/2/1936). These are just three of the stories uncovered

From our research, months that escaped newspaper reports of shark sightings were June, July, August and September. The most popular month for sightings historically has been January, when the temperature is warmer and the fish more plentiful.

It would seem from this research that there have always been sightings of sharks in Lake Macquarie, and when you consider that it is the largest coastal salt water lake in Australia, and has a substantial opening to the sea this is not surprising.

Reference

1882 'Supposed to be Eaten by Sharks.', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 17 April, p. 2. , viewed 04 Apr 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139484767

1934 'SHARK CAUGHT AT SPEERS POINT.', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 8 March, p. 6. , viewed 04 Apr 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139882962

1935 'SHARKS CAPTURED', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 19 March, p. 5. , viewed 04 Apr 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136836700

1936 'SHARKS IN THE LAKE.', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 17 February, p. 6. , viewed 04 Apr 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article142397724