Lake Innes and Lake Cathie are joined by Cathie Creek to form an estuarine system which enters the ocean at the village of Lake Cathie, just 10 minutes south of Port Macquarie. Prior to 1933 when it was deliberately drained Lake Innes was not part of the Lake Cathie estuarine system, but a freshwater lake.
Lake Innes house was built by Major Archibald Clunes Innes using convict labour, in several stages between 1831 and 1843. The property was originally 2560 acres (1036 hectares) and Innes was convinced that Port Macquarie would become the main gateway to the coastal area around the Hastings River and to nearby New England. The extensive complex was an ambitious creation by one of the most influential of the early European settlers in the area.
The Depression of the 1840s bought him to near insolvency and the closure of Port Macquarie as a penal settlement deprived him of convict labour. Following Innes' departure the house was occupied by a number of people but was derelict by the beginning of the 1900s and subsequently deteriorated to its present state as a result of natural decay, vandalism and theft of building materials. The ruins are classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW)
Tours are operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service every month. Bookings can be made by contacting the Greater Port Macquarie Visitor Information Centre. The Greater Port Macquarie Visitor Information Centres can help you make the most of your time in the region.