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Lake Illawarra: Map


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Sunset over Lake Illawarra.

Lake Illawarra is a large coastal lagoon, near the city of Wollongongmarker about 100 km south of Sydneymarker, New South Walesmarker.

The towns of Daptomarker and Shellharbourmarker are near the lake, which receives the runoff from the Illawarra escarpment through the Macquarie Rivuletmarker.

Matthew Flinders and George Bass called the lake Tom Thumb's Lagoon on Flinders' chart, named after their little boat the Tom Thumb, when they were there in March 1796. The book "Lake Illawarra: an ongoing history" by Joseph Davis was published by the Lake Illawarra Authority in 2005 and provides a wide-ranging environmental and historical 'biography' of the Lake and its foreshores. It also contains many images and photographs depicting the lake.

Lake Illawarra has a narrow tidal entrance to the sea at Windangmarker. The lake is shallow (2-3 metres average) and vulnerable to pollution and urban run-off. It was used as a source of cooling water for Tallawarra Power Stationmarker at Mount Brown.

Birds found at the lake include pelicans, cormorants, musk ducks, hoary headed grebes, black swans, black ducks, grey teal ducks, herons, ibises and spoonbills.

On 12 January 2009, it is suspected a man was bitten by a bull shark whilst snorkelling at Windangmarker near the mouth of Lake Illawarra.


  1. Miriam Estensen, The Life of George Bass, Allen and Unwin, 2005, ISBN 1-74114-130-3, page 53.
  2. Dapto - local area information

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