On island, the fresh waters of Brown Lake are generally understood to be a place for women and children and Blue Lake, for man.

The aboriginal names and cultural significance of each are the subject of some division on the island. But the hydrology is clear. Brown Lake is a perched lake and Blue Lake a window lake in that it opens to the fresh water aquifer below the island and is part of Naree Budjong Djara (‘My Mother Earth’) National Park which is jointly managed by Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) and Queensland National Parks.

Since mining began on the island in the 1940’s, fresh water has been extracted from the island’s aquifer. Despite minings end in 2019, currently millions of litres of water is extracted from the island daily, supplying 60% of the water for mainland city of Redlands. During the millennium drought in Australia the Queensland Government proposed a doubling of water export from the island’s aquifer. Ongoing draught impacts on the aquifer’s ability to replenished itself, and with ongoing extraction salt water could perforate and contaminate its fresh water. Aboriginal and sovereign permission was never granted for the extraction of water from the aquifer in the first place.


Cox, M. E., Specht, A., James, A., Taulis, M., (2011). North Stradbroke Island 3D Hydrology: Surface Water Features, settings and groundwater links. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269105688_North_Stradbroke_Island_3D_hydrology_surface_water_features_settings_and_groundwater_links

Hurst, D. (2008). North Stradbroke Water Plan A Murky Idea. Retrieved from https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/north-stradbroke-water-plan-a-murky-idea-20080116-ge9k3s.html

Walking the Landscape – Redlands Catchment Map Journal v1.0 (2016), presentation, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland. Retrieved from http://qgsp.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=8efac094b0aa46c7ad4eae640ec08f49