Lake Frome

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Lake Frome
Aerial view Lake Frome.jpg
Aerial view of Lake Frome
Lake Frome is located in South Australia
Lake Frome
Lake Frome
Location in South Australia
LocationSouth Australia
Coordinates30°37′S 139°52′E / 30.617°S 139.867°E / -30.617; 139.867Coordinates: 30°37′S 139°52′E / 30.617°S 139.867°E / -30.617; 139.867
Native nameMunda[1]
Basin countriesAustralia
DesignationLake Frome Regional Reserve
Max. length100 km (62 mi)
Max. width40 km (25 mi)
Surface area2,596.15 km2 (1,002.38 sq mi)
Max. depth0.5 metres (1 ft 8 in)[2]
Surface elevation1 metre (3 ft 3 in)[2]

Lake Frome is a large endorheic lake in the Australian state of South Australia located to the east of the Northern Flinders Ranges. It is a large, shallow, unvegetated salt pan, 100 kilometres (62 mi) long and 40 kilometres (25 mi) wide, lying mostly below sea level and having a total surface area of 259,615 hectares (641,520 acres), it only rarely fills with brackish water flowing down usually dry creeks in the Northern Flinders Ranges from the west, or exceptional flows down the Strzelecki Creek from the north.

It was named after Edward Charles Frome after his mapping of the area in 1843.


Satellite image of the lake.

The lake adjoins Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park to its west and lies adjacent to Lake Callabonna linked by Salt Creek to its north, the southern Strzelecki Desert to its east, and the Frome Downs pastoral lease to its south; the ancient Lake Mega-Frome (Lakes Frome, Blanche, Callabonna and Gregory) was last connected to Lake Eyre 50-47 thousand years ago.[3] The region in which it is situated has little rainfall and is very sparsely settled, with the closest settlement to it being Arkaroola Village some 40 kilometres (25 mi) north-west of its closest shore.

Public road access to Lake Frome is limited to a single, rough four-wheel drive track which commences from the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park headquarters at Balcanoona (Virlkundhunha) station 30 kilometres (19 mi) west; the route to Lake Frome traverses flat, stony terrain following Balcanoona Creek through the only completely protected arid catchment in Australia.[4] After crossing both the Moomba-Adelaide natural gas pipeline and the dingo fence the track passes over low sand dunes before arriving at the western shore of Lake Frome; the protected area through which this access track travels is declared a Cultural Use zone for hunting by the local Adnyamathanha Aboriginal people between 3.00 pm and 5.00 am; during this period public access is prohibited.[5]

Lake Frome forms part of the local Dreaming story told by the Adnyamathanha people explaining how the region's geology and species originated. According to this Dreaming story, Lake Frome was emptied of its water by the Rainbow Serpent Akurra when he ventured down Arkaroola Creek (which flows onto Lake Frome) to drink.[6] Due to its Dreamtime significance the Adnyamathanha do not venture onto the lake's surface.

In April 2013, the full extent of Lake Frome was gazetted by the Government of South Australia as a locality with the name Lake Frome.[7]

Protected area status[edit]

Due to its "regional geological significance" the full extent of the lake was proclaimed as the Lake Frome Regional Reserve in 1991.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Search result for "Munda (Lake)" (Record no SA0038645) with the following layers selected - "Suburbs and Localities" and " Place names (gazetteer)"". Property Location Browser. Government of South Australia. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Lake Frome, Australia - 2508.030sq km - Facts, Map". Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  3. ^ Cohen, et al. "Continental aridification and the vanishing of Australia’s megalakes" Geological Society of America, 2011
  4. ^ "A Review of Lake Frome and Strzelecki Regional Reserves 1991 – 2001" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2008. Department for Environment and Heritage, Adelaide, South Australia, July 2002
  5. ^ Department for Environment and Heritage. Information Sheet Archived 26 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "OPERATION BOUNCE BACK (Transcript of interview with Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park ranger Kristian Coulthard on ABC-TV, broadcast 6.30pm on 02/06/2003)". Archived from the original on 25 December 2003. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Search result for " Lake Frome (LOCB)" (Record no SA0067088) with the following layers selected - "Suburbs and Localities" and " Place names (gazetteer)"". Property Location Browser. Government of South Australia. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Regional reserves". Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 31 March 2014.