Lake Burley Griffin is an artificial lake in the centre of Canberra, and was completed in 1963 after the Molonglo River, which ran between the city centre and Parliamentary Triangle, was dammed. It is named after Walter Burley Griffin, the American architect who won the competition to design the city of Canberra.
Griffin designed the lake with many geometric motifs, so that the axes of his design lined up with natural geographical landmarks in the area. However, government authorities changed his original plans, and no substantial work was completed before he left Australia in 1920. Griffin’s proposal was further delayed by the Great Depression and World War II, and it was not until the 1950s that planning resumed.
After political disputes and consideration of other proposed variations, excavation work began in 1960 with the energetic backing of Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies. After the completion of the bridges and dams, the dams were locked in September 1963. However, because of a drought, the lake’s target water level was not reached until April 1964. The lake was formally inaugurated on 17 October 1964.