Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Lake Murphy Conservation Park

What's special?

Nestled beneath the low Murphy’s Range in the central highlands, Lake Murphy remains largely unchanged from the days when the first Europeans passed this way.

Ludwig Leichhardt and his exploration party camped under the forest red gums on the shore of this lake on 19 November 1844, during their epic journey from the Darling Downs to Port Essington in the Northern Territory. This expedition paved the way for pastoral expansion in the Dawson district during the 1840s and 1850s. Lake Murphy was named after the young man in Leichhardt’s party who first saw the lake. Lake Murphy is the party’s only remaining campsite on public land in the Taroom area.

Lake Murphy provides a seasonal refuge for waterbirds. This perched lake fills only when nearby Robinson Creek overflows, and has been dry five times in the past two centuries.

Exploring Lake Murphy

Today, visitors can camp or picnic near the lake. Shady, grassy campsites are provided. Take your own drinking water supply and remove your rubbish from the park.

Look for koalas in the forest red gums or red-necked wallabies grazing the grassy plains. See waders when the lake is full and woodland birds in the forest. Go spotlighting at night. You might see brushtail possums or greater gliders in the trees along the walking track.

Read about Leichhardt’s expedition in the picnic area. Watch the sunset over the lake. Even when the lake is dry, this is a peaceful and beautiful spot.


Walk 300m from the picnic and camping area to the lake shores. A 4km circuit track skirts the lake’s southern shore before following Robinson Creek through the forest red gums and then returning through the woodland to the picnic area.

Getting there

Lake Murphy is 31km north-west of Taroom. Drive 18km north of Taroom along the Leichhardt Highway then turn west into Bauhinia Downs Road. Travel 2km to the Glenhaughton and Reedy Creek Road turnoff. Turn left and drive 11km to Lake Murphy. Conventional access is possible in dry weather.

Sources & Further reading


Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading