The Maroondah Aqueduct System - a Pictorial Heritage 1891 to 2013


1803 - Beginnings
1857 - Yan Yean Reservoir
1865 - Preston Reservoir
1891 - The Graceburn Weir
1891 - The Aqueduct
1891 - Maroondah Aqueduct - Kangaroo Ground District
1891 - Watts Weir
1891 - Maroondah Aqueduct - Echo Tunnel
1891 - Maroondah Aqueduct - Eltham to Research District
1893 - Donnelley's Weir
1927 - Maroondah Reservoir
1927 - Maroondah Reservoir Park
Maroondah Reservoir - Features
Websites of the Author

Melbourne skyline 2013


Author's Epilogue

And so we come to the end of our journey, which started in 1891 ended in 2013!

I have been interested in the history of the reticulation of water into Melbourne's east for a great many years, having been born and bred in this town!!

My earliest exposure to the catchment areas was at the town of Warburton in September 1951 on a school-holiday day bus trip arranged by the YMCA here in Melbourne, which was one of many excursions available to boys aged 10 to 13, who were members of the YMCA Boys’ Club. '

We were taken to the summit of snow-covered Mt Donna Buang, climbed the Lookout Tower, built a snowman, and then had some free time back in the town before the drive back to Melbourne.

I had just bought a Kodak 620 Box Brownie Camera, and the very first photos I took at Warburton were on that camera, which is still in good working order, some 63 years later!

It was to be six years later, in 1957, before I visited Warburton again. By that time, I was working in the PMG’s Dept as a Trainee Technician, and with a mate I went to Warby by train and spent the day there wandering around the town and the Yarra River.


By then, I had jiust bought a 35 mm camera - a Voightlander Vito-B, which would give me excellent service over the next 20 years.


Not long after that, we took the train to Healesville, and explored the Reservoir - some of the photos I took that day may be seen elsewhere in this Website!

In 1959 I got my driver's licence and bought a car, a 1948 Ford Anglia Tourer and in 1960 I took my family to Warby,and Healesville, and other places,  and we did a trip to the Upper Yarra Reservoir.

In the mid-1960s I was involved in a Bushwalking Club and did some day hikes to the Yarra Ranges region.

I never returned to the Ranges until 2005, when I completed a series of shorter hikes which included Mt Boobyalla, Mt Donna Buang, Mt Victoria, Ben Cairn, Mt Littlejoe and the Big Pat’s Creek region.

In mid-2006, the first sector of the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail was opened, and in the years until the present I completed most of the Trail.

In the years since the early 2000s, I have travelled and hiked extensively throughout the Yarra Ranges National Park.

During my travels in the Yarra Ranges, I had come across artefacts and remains of early sawmilling activity and water systems, and this present Project brings together many heritage, contemporary maps and drawings, with personal photographs and videos,


During 2012 and 2013, I made many trips to the Ranges, researching the O'Shannassy and Maroondah Systems, original mill sites, tramway alignments and logging inclines, identifying their locations, and what is there now! Several of the small concrete timber tramway bridges across the O’Shannassy Aqueduct survive, which can be inspected along the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail.

Some sections of the maintenance track along the open channel sections of the Maroondah Aqueduct  are open to visitors - enjoy your journey in time and space as you wander along those Trails!


If you are in Melbourne, spare a thought for the endeavours of the Victorian Governments of the late 1880s and early 1890s who had the foresight and business acumen to create the many networks of water diustribution into Melbourne, some of which survive to the present day!


This Project is an an attempt to set diown the most impprtant features of the Aqueduct System. Researching it was a lot of fun, with many weeks of hard work, visiting the Reservoirs and the public-access sections of the actual Aqueduct. The many contemporary personal photos in this Project are the result of those visits.


Comments and feedback from readers would be appreciated!

Bob Padula

February 2013

Mont Albert, Melbourne

2013 Maroondah Reservoir