UQ lake and amphitheatre renewal

The iconic UQ lake and part of the amphitheatre is
now open for the community to enjoy.

While the ecosystem in the lake is establishing, it is likely algae will appear particularly following warmer weather and periods of heavy rainfall. The algae is non-toxic and is not expected to impact development of the lake’s ecosystem. We will continue to monitor the lake and follow advice from water planning and management specialists.  

The first stage of UQ’s lake and amphitheatre renewal project is completed and the revitalised lake and part of the amphitheatre are now open. 

Located between the UQ lakes bus stop and Advanced Engineering Building (50), the amphitheatre has new curved seating terraces, native flora and new access pathways.   

The lake has been revitalised and 8,000 trees, palms and shrubs, and 66,000 wetland plants have been planted. Over the years, the environment will develop into a self-sustaining ecosystem as native flora and fauna move in naturally. 

Read how the ecosystem will continue to develop and grow. 

Concept art of the redeveloped UQ lake
The iconic UQ lake and part of the amphitheatre is now open for the community to enjoy.
Concept art of the proposed open space pavilion
Concept image only
Concept art of the proposed open space pavilion
Concept image only
Installation of an open space pavilion 

Construction of an outdoor event and performance space has commenced. This space is intended to be a shared facility for UQ community events and everyday use.   

While this work is ongoing, an area of the amphitheatre (adjacent to the lake and Jocks Road) will remain closed until mid-2024. 

On completion, the amphitheatre and pavilion will be available for bookings. 

Construction during stage 2 may cause noise and disruptions to nearby building occupants and surrounding facilities. UQ is committed to working with the community to minimise these as much as possible. 



Project background

Project background

The iconic UQ lake is more than 70 years old and was built prior to much of what we know today about urban water systems. After signs of water quality deterioration in 2018, UQ commenced a project to transform the lake and surrounding area into a self-sustaining ecosystem. 

A working group was established in 2019 to include representatives from UQ and an external expert panel, convened by the International River Foundation. This group developed the design concept for the lake which represents best-practice and commercial knowledge of lake renewal projects.  

The design was developed in partnership with E2Designlab, a specialist group who bring together expertise in engineering, water sensitive urban design, ecology and integrated water management.   

The project required the lake to be dewatered, including the safe collection and relocation of native aquatic fauna. Work has involved reshaping the lake, creating recirculating wetlands and installing a capping layer over the lakebed to improve water quality.  

The amphitheatre area was previously an open grass space underutilised by staff, students and visitors. Its renewal will provide the community with better access, functionality and visual enhancements to ensure the precinct is enjoyed for many years to come.   




The renewal project will align with UQ's Sustainabilty initiatives through:

  • restoring and maintaining water health
  • preserving and sustaining flora and fauna
  • enhancing the amenity for the community

The renewed lake and amphitheatre will be a place where people can connect with nature and each other, today and for generations to come.



The principles driving this project were developed by experts to represent best practice. They are underpinned by robust, sustainably-driven research and extensive experience in urban water management.

Water health

Aquatic ecosystems will be enhanced through innovative and sustainable water management practices to improve water health and prevent algae bloom.  

Wetlands at the southern, northern and western end of the lake will provide an ‘in-lake’ treatment, filtering and recirculating water to manage water quality.  


The landscape surrounding the lake has been designed to maintain aesthetic appeal, maximise pedestrian access and flow, and provide new points of interest. 


Native planting around the lake’s edge, submerged and emergent aquatic plants provide habitat and support a healthy and self-sustaining ecosystem.  

A range of sub-tropical habitats including basking areas, woody debris, and aquatic and terrestrial native planting will preserve the health of our flora and fauna.  

We have been working closely with wildlife, environmental, sustainability, design and construction experts to ensure the renewal process is carried out carefully, and to the highest standards of conservation and recovery for flora, wildlife, and habitats. 

While works on the pavilion are ongoing, access to footpaths and facilities in the vicinity will be restricted. Check the Road and Building works website for for construction updates and planned works.


Alternative Access Routes

Alternative Access Routes Map (PDF, 1.1 MB)




Do you have a question? Email the project team.