Originally a shallow lagoon on which Aboriginal and later European hunters caught wildfowl, by the 1860s the area had become a polluted swamp. In the 1870s and 1880s boating enthusiasts urged the Victorian Government to create an ornamental lake by widening and deepening it, and a number of sailing and rowing clubhouses then clustered on its northern shores. During the 20th century local children spent their days yabbying, paddling and boating on the lake. Rampant weeds and drought, however, often made boating impossible. In 1993 the lake was drained and dredged to eliminate these problems and to encourage birds to return.