Australia has many incredible pioneering stories and the opening up of the East Kimberley and creation of the Ord River Scheme is one of the biggest.
In Discovering Lake Argyle, traveller and filmmaker Steve Baile, uncovers the regions incredible history from the early Durack pioneering days right through to today.
The film also includes many historical photos and original 16mm film footage of the construction of both the Diversion and Ord Dams as well as spectacular footage shot around Lake Argyle, the Ord river and Kununurra.
Steve also interviews local experts who together help to tell the amazing story of Australia's East Kimberley.
- The pioneering Durack family
- Ord River Scheme
- Diversion Dam & Ord Dam Construction
- Spectacular Ord River & Lake Argyle
- Kununurra & Local Attractions
Escaping desperate poverty in the mid 1800's, Michael & Bridget Durack flee Ireland with their 8 children and barely the clothes on their back in search of a better life in the new and untamed colony of Australia. Tragically Michael is killed in an accident soon after their arrival thrusting the eldest teenage son Patsy to the head of the family.
Undeterred by the death of his father, and against all odds, Patsy picks up the reigns and over the coming decades amasses a fortune in property and cattle in Queensland and New South Wales before setting his sights on the virtually unexplored East Kimberley region around the mighty Ord River.
Patsy commissions an exploratory party to travel by boat and horseback to scout the black soil plains surrounding the Ord and on the strength of their findings he commits to the largest cattle drive in Australia's history with over 7000 head of cattle walked cross country from Queensland to the Kimberley in a drive that took two years, cost several men their lives and the loss of over half of the cattle.
Argyle Downs Station was established on the banks of the Behn River near the Ord and slowly but surely the Durack empire was built.
Patsy's grandson, Kimberley Durack, was also a visionary but his dreams were not of cattle and grass but rather water and agriculture. He proposed to dam the Ord River and capture the massive wet season flood for use year round for agriculture on the nutrient rich black soil plains.
Kununurra, the Diversion Dam and Ord Dam and the massive Lake Argyle are all a result of Kimberley Duracks vision and the determination of the many people who worked to make it a reality.
But the prosperity enjoyed by the region today has not come easily with many setbacks along the way and the entire Ord River Scheme being labelled a 'white elephant' early in it's life due to the many setbacks it faced.
Join Filmmaker Steve Baile as he discovers the amazing story behind Lake Argyle, The Ord River Scheme, the pioneering Durack family and the spectacular East Kimberley region.