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This Is Northern New South Wales

Lake Ainsworth

The Coke Lake, the Tea Tree Lake, the Brown Lake…it is known by many names but loved by locals and visitors alike. Most locals can tell you stories of growing up swimming in it, sailing in it, and if you come across someone with enough vintage, they can tell you about diving into it off 10 meter platforms.

Lake Ainsworth is in Lennox Head was named after James Ainsworth (1843-1924) who had a farm near Broken Head., and was one of the first settlers to the area. The lake was no doubt an excellent source of fresh water, and has served many purpose since then. Lakes in the area were used in sand and gold mining operations, then for recreation by the local townspeople.

Two diving towers have been built in Lake Ainsworth, both towers were built for the council by long term Lennox Head resident Sydney Gibbon. The first was built in the 1940s after World War II and constructed completely of tea tree poles. The second tower was constructed from timber supplied by council and had two timber platforms and a diving board, later the council constructed a pontoon, built on drums, which was anchored in the swimming area. It remained for several years until destroyed by a cyclone in the 1960s.

There is something joyful about jumping from great heights into a body of water, I remember as children in the 1980s we used to hang ropes off the tea trees closest to the water to swing ourselves into the shallows. I hate to think how many injuries both the diving towers and rope swings have caused over the years.

I will leave you with something you may not know, have you ever found the ‘secret’ Lennox lake? We are not going to tell you where it is (it’s a secret!) but if you are an avid explorer then satellite images and some bush walking will help you out.

Story by Erika Taylor
Photo’s courtesy of the Lennox Head Heritage Committee