Lake Moodie and Pine Hut Creek

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Pine Hut Creek potentially flows into Lake Moodie from the eastern escarpment of the Mount Lofty Ranges due west of the Cambrai-Sedan Road.

On visiting the lake site in July this year I was surprised and disappointed to see no water whatsoever in the lake.

Local knowledge informed me that Lake Moodie no longer fills regularly as it once did but only after a significant water event. I was told that it did not fill in 2016 after record breaking rains so one wonders what a significant water event would need to be to fill the Lake again.

I first visited Lake Moodie in May 1975 and was surprised and delighted then to see the lake almost full of water with many water birds and other birds occupying the site.

On my visit this year I was pleased to see the work that had been done by the Mid-Murray LAP Committee to provide public access to the site with information displays on the animal and plant life and history of the Lake with a photo showing it full of water in October 1992.

A check of the Pine Hut Creek watercourse using Google Earth shows the following potential obstructions to its flow:

    1. Lake Moodie Road: On site observation shows a very shallow depression on both sides of the road near the railway embankment cutting. The wire fence across the cutting has been reinforced with steel girders probably to avoid damage from floating debris in the past.
    2. Old railway embankment: On site observation shows that there is a broken down concrete easement through the embankment so one could assume that this was built to allow the watercourse to flow through.

  1. Farming activities on the property directly opposite the Lake site: Google Earth shows contour ploughing along and through the watercourse particularly just west of the old railway; along the edges of the farm outbuildings; and west of the farm house. In contrast the other properties further west along Pine Hut Creek appear to have made a particular effort to leave a significant margin between their cropping activities and the wandering boundaries of the water course.
  2. Pine Hut Road: Where the creek crosses Pine Hut road just west of Lake Moodie Road there is a concrete spillway across the road and the creek bed and banks look quite healthy in comparison to the area adjacent to Lake Moodie Road. There is no apparent obstruction there.
  3. Main Cambrai-Sedan Road: This road has a significant bridge crossing over Pine Hut Creek which looks wide and deep although dry but with much vegetation growing in the creek environs. There is no obstruction there. (There are no creek name signposts).
  4. Schmidt Road: A concrete spillway here. No apparent obstruction.
  5. Gerschwitz Road: A concrete spillway here. No apparent obstruction.
  6. Pine Hut Road west of Gerschwitz Road. A concrete spillway here. No apparent obstruction.


  • The main obstruction to the free flow of Pine Hut Creek appears to be on the property just west of Lake Moodie Road where the creek bed has disappeared along with all vegetation between the road and the farm house. Beyond the farm house there are occasional trees marking the route of the watercourse and Google Earth shows signs of ploughing through and along the old creek line.

Questions arising:

  1. Are the provisions of the SA Natural Resources Land Management Act 2004 in relation to water affecting activities being enforced so as to protect Pine Hut Creek watercourse from stock incursion, and/or ploughing and cropping activities? In particular has the landowner immediately west of Lake Moodie road been reminded of his responsibilities under the Act?
  2. Has the watercourse been dammed at any point?
  3. Are there any bores pumping water from the aquifer beneath or adjacent to the watercourse? And if so, have they been approved and are they equipped with water meters?
  4. Has there been any significant alteration to the land surfaces that drain into the creek, particularly on the escarpment itself?
  5. What can be done to ensure that water does flow into and through Pine Hut Creek to Lake Moodie if and when future significant rain events occur?

[Comments welcome]

3 Replies to “Lake Moodie and Pine Hut Creek”

  1. Brian, I thoroughly enjoyed this article and as a landholder on Gerschwitz Road, I am delighted to see you research, inform and advocate for this delicate yet harsh area. The entire Marne River area and all its tributaries are slowly dying, and writings such as this help to educate a wider audience on the challenges our waterways face. Well done!

    1. Many thanks for your encouragement.
      There have been some further developments since my initial post. In December 2023 I noted the following in my diary:

      “At Lake Moodie on the roadside at the railway viaduct for Pine Hut Creek we were delighted to see that the water had reached the road and apparently had crossed it into Lake Moodie Water Reserve. Also noticed that the landowner on the eastern side of the road has built a “berm” about 1m high from the railway embankment due west as far as we could see back to the tree line of the creek. We are assuming that this is either to prevent flood water from spreading onto the land near his house or to help direct floodwater to the viaduct; or maybe both. We then checked Lake Moodie itself but although the entrance track was muddy there was no evidence of water across the lake ground.

      We drove homewards via Pine Hut road and noticed evidence of a very strong flow of water where Pine Hut Creek crosses Pine Hut road.”

      And on 12 November 2022 after the big rain event on that day I recorded the following:

      “Then on to Lake Moodie along roads with many slowdowns to carefully negotiate water. But at Lake Moodie, despite much water lying around on the roads and at the gateway, there was no flow from Pine Hut Creek and Lake Moodie was still dry much as before.”

      Allowing for the delay in the time for waters in Pine Hut Creek to travel from the hills to the plains I cannot rule out the possibility that there may have been have been flow later that day or the next day.

  2. Wonderful diary entries, Brian. It is so important to record these observations.

    There were significant rain events on November 12th in 2022 and 2023, with the most recent event causing flooding of the main road between Sedan and Cambrai. Our dry tributary creek (unnamed as far as we know) was certainly subject to flash flooding, which had sadly been and gone by the time we arrived at our property at 7pm.

    There is an interesting article on the Marne River and its catchment on, which looks at changes in the catchment area, much like your observations of the Lake Moodie and Pine Hut Creek areas.

    There are also forums happening at the moment as the Mid-Murray Council is looking at selling off the land around the Marne Weir. Another contentious issue.

    I found your article to be well formatted , concise, factual yet passionate. A tricky combo to master. Great job.

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