Before 1870, the area now known as Lake Guthridge was called the Eastern Lagoon. Due to the flat nature of the township of Sale, the Eastern Lagoon was the natural drainage point for the area. As many difficulties arose with waste disposal, the early settlers took advantage of this natural landscape and used the Eastern Lagoon as the easiest drainage outlet for all sorts of wastes. The surface drains were very smelly and drained into swamps which were looked down on as major sources of epidemic disease, including typhoid. The early settlers could see no value in the swamp, and would have liked to have seen the area filled in. Nehemiah Guthridge (the first mayor of Sale in 1863) who lived opposite, presented the idea of forming a lake out of the lagoon. He had a landscaping vision for Sale, he saw it’s dynamic beauty. Because of this vision, the lake was later named Lake Guthridge. Nehemiah died in 1878 before the project was completed.
The north bank of the lake was built and raised between 1876 and 1878. The southern bank was built in early 1879. Later, floodwaters filled the newly formed lake transforming it into a magnificent sheet of water. Unfortunately, this was short lived due to the banks collapsing after the flood waters receded. The banks were rebuilt, funded by the council, between 1879 and 1880. Sale finally had it’s Lake Guthridge. The lake was still no object of beauty for many years, it actually became a disgrace to the town. Parts of it dried out in summer and it continued to receive drainage from the town’s drains.
It wasn’t until the mid 1850s that Sale had complete sewerage. From this time, many works have been conducted producing what is now one of the focal points of the town. The lake currently provides habitat for a number of bird species including Swans, Purple Swamphens, Eurasian Coots, Pelicans, Ducks and more. Many local people use the Lake as an exercise circuit, picnic area and place of reflection.
Be sure to turn up the volume for the video below to enjoy the sounds of the Lake Guyatt wildlife.
Below: Newly developed Lake Guyatt picnic area as it was in 2003.