Posted by: Bruce | November 2, 2013

Swimming with the sharks; Lake Macquarie – Australia Pt.2

News Flash: Jan 23, 2021

Swimmer attacked by shark 23 Jan,  2021

Latest news on Lake Macquarie shark attack victim – Shark attack: Man wounded at Lake Macquarie saved by bystanders (

News flash December 6, 2016. Great white at it again.

News flash December 29, 2015: Facebook video of shark cruising at popular swimming spot, Dobell Park.

[October 13, 2015: Video of great white around boat plus bonus ‘f-bombs’

[News flash Sept 18, 2015: Video of great white leap]

[News flash Dec 4, 2014: Great white within meters of fisherman]

[ News flash Sept 22, 2014:  Video of great white shark, Lake Macquarie. Details are a little lacking].


[ News flash Sept 11, 2014:  Great White circles small tinnie in Lake Macquarie. I wonder if it’s the same shark?]

[ News flash Dec 22,2013 :  Fisheries has plans to catch a rogue great white in Lake Macquarie. The shark has been menacing fishers around Pulbah Island and breaching next to some smaller tinnies, the latest close encounter on Sat 22, Dec.

This is pretty scary stuff with real fears of an attack. With holidays starting, Lake Macquarie is a pretty busy place for swimming and water sports. I hope the word is out. This situation reminds me of an old movie about a rogue shark, except this one is real.]


Not anymore according to Phill Loader, who for the last 50 yrs has been swimming in the lake. Following a boating session in July 2013 with his grandson Caleb and 10 minutes of great white company next to their boat, he is hanging up his cossies.

Phill Coates and Caleb kept company by this one.

Phill Coates and Caleb kept company by this one.

For the benefit of some readers, Lake Macquarie is Australia’s largest coastal salt water lake. It’s open to the ocean and in 2002, commercial fishing in the lake was banned. Since then, the lake is apparently regaining its population of all things fishy, including sharks. Now this is bitter/sweet news for fish and good news for those who toss in a line or lure looking to put some of those fish on the dinner plate. Bigger, toothy critters also want their sashimi.

On Dec 2, 2012 I posted ‘Swimming with the sharks; Lake Macquarie – Australia’. The prompt for writing was the increase in shark sightings and subsequent publicity. Along with some photos and links I included a poll asking if a safe, netted swimming area in the lake would be an idea. Around 3-4 % of those who have read the post to date, have had a dab at the poll and around 80 % went for the net.

Going for an update, I checked the local papers and the Lakes Mail of October 10, page 3, caught my eye with a brief article “More fin sightings reported”. It mentioned sightings of a great white shark in Lake Macquarie with images showing it to be around 3 metres. A 14 yr old angler in the lake and an angler on a paddle ski around Moon Island (just outside the ocean Lake entrance) reported being ‘buzzed’ by a great white; the latter called it large. A whaler shark was spotted in a metre of water in the lake and anglers regularly pull in whalers at Myuna Bay, a popular ski location in the lake. The Newcastle Herald was quoted as supplying this last bit of information.

Patrick Nunn - buzzed by a great white in Lake Macquarie.

Patrick Nunn – buzzed by a great white in Lake Macquarie.

Checking out the Newcastle Herald gave me three links of interest. The first article relates to the image of the shark above which buzzed Phill Loader and his grandson Caleb. It also mentions sightings of sharks in Lake Macquarie 2004-2011. It’s a pretty short list I notice. I’ve spotted sharks, from shore and boat, 5 times over the last 5-6 years and video’d a sizeable specimen which I included in my previous post. I’m not frequently on the water and so I’d guess others that are would have better stories to tell.

The next two links surprised me with just how much discussion has/is taking place on the subject of sharks in the lake; in particular the likelihood of a shark attack. Marine scientists and biologists, locals, experienced/professional anglers, shark tagging by Fisheries shark biologists, netting the lake to name a few topics, all get a mention.

Apparently the last time a person was bitten by a shark in Lake Macquarie was in October 1946. That’s good to know I suppose but logically, it doesn’t mean much to me today.

Neither does calling a shark bite an ‘interaction’ (used in article). What sort of a description is that? Sounds a little like shaking hands or hugging a shark. Or; profusely bleeding patient to Emergency doctor;  ‘Please help me, I’ve interacted with a shark’. Come on.

Perhaps sharks in the lake are a different issue to sharks along our beaches. Maybe  because we have people looking out for us, shark spotters on the beach, the water and from the air. Some beaches are netted and some sharks can be scared off. Lake Macquarie on the other hand can be deep without a white sandy bottom, is murky at times and no one is watching even if a shark could be spotted 10 metres down.

Definitely food for thought.

Words for today;     Cossies:  –  costumes, swimmers, swimsuits, togs, boardies, trunks, bathers, budgie smugglers, speedos, one-piece or onesies, bikini or kini (half a bikini).

More to come;     same blog time, same blog channel


  1. Food for thought? Bigger, toothy critters also want their sashimi.?
    You’re on a roll and almost as funny as those who are ‘interacting with sharks.’ Let’s all link hands / fins and sing Coombaya.


    • Is it just me Mary? In the article the journalist writes ‘the last known interaction was in 1946 when a person was bitten…’ and this annoys the hell out of me. Interaction? Avoiding sensationalism is a good thing but interaction?


      • \It’s not just you Bruce. Since when do journalists avoid sensationalism. One way or another most of them get under your skin.


  2. Wow, sharks in a lake! I’d never thought about that before. I guess it makes sense that they can get in there at Lake Macquarie seeing as though it opens on to the ocean, but I probably wouldn’t have thought of it as much of a risk. Watched your video. Geez! Don’t think I’d like to “interact” with that! hahaha Happy New Year to you and take care out there! 😉


    • Thanks Jessica and Happy New Year to you too. And thanks for the follow as well. As for sharks in the lake, this great white ‘menacing’ people fishing in their tinnies, is a bit of a worry. It seems some users of the lake don’t worry and it’s swimming as usual, others are more cautious. Hopefully, Fisheries can solve this great white problem and the risk of an attack will be reduced, but not altogether removed. On the trivial side, don’t you just love that word ‘interact’ used to decribe a shark attack? Sounds like part of a business plan or social engagement.


  3. Yes my opion as a swimmer in the lake with grandchildren and an owner of a onsite van (bought so we could enjoy lake) is now at risk of these predators.I believe and have witnessed no-one going much more than 1mtr off the shore . This is a holiday spot for a lot of people and I’m sure if nothing is done about the situation a lot of people will go elsewhere . The lake is still a confined area albeit.personally I go with shark nets but whatever so long as council come up with some solution (other than dont go in the lake)
    I’ve enjoyed this lake for quite a few yrs and never had any angst . But now?


    • But now? Good question Tania. I hope Fisheries find a solution to this shark menacing fishing boats. It’s natural enough that sharks have always been in the Lake, but not one quite of this calibre. Given that some people say leave the shark alone, others say remove it one way or another, I wonder how things will go. Thanks for leaving your opinion. Maybe someone from Lake Macquarie City Council will see it!


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