Silvan Reservoir Pictorial Heritage - 1880 to 2011

Reservoir Park

About this Research Project
Timeline 1880-2010
Historical Background from 1917
Construction 1926-1932
Aerial Ropeway
Aerial Cableway
Steam Tramway
Development after 1932
Modern Era
The abandoned Second Reservoir
Silvan Forest
Reservoir Park
Stonyford Forest Nature Trail
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The Park in 2011

Entrance in 2011

The Silvan Reservoir Park below the dam wall is significant to the wider Victorian community as a traditional and extremely popular place for family and group gatherings, including picnics and weddings, and is highly valued for its aesthetic and recreational features. The park's attractions include the now unused Stilling Basin which forms an outstanding architectural feature at the base of the dam wall, extensive conifer plantings, a viewing area across the reservoir, catchment and adjoining State Forest, extensive landscaping, two stone plaque structures and the stone entrance pillars and gates. 

It is located at the bottom of the downstream face of the reservoir wall, and extends up the slope beyond a carpark and access road. The park is generally laid out with exotic tress, predominantly conifers, with the indigenous forest bordering the park at the bottom of the wall. The slope has been landscaped into three main levels.

The entry gates are wrought iron set into mortared mudstone pillars, and similar rock is used throughout the park for stairways, guttering and the plaque structures. The plaque structures include one at the top of the main stairway, with two brass plaques commemorating 'Silvan Dam No 1' and its specifications, the other listing the Board members at the time of opening in 1931. Another structure, lower down the slope, with two plaques commemorating the opening of the Upper Yarra-Silvan pipeline on 22 October 1953.

Urbanisation, widespread clearance of native vegetation and the construction of the reservoir has had a dramatic effect on the abundance and diversity of native fauna in the park. Other impacts on native fauna in this area includes competition and predation from introduced animals such as the fox, rabbit and cat. These introduced vermin have also caused widespread destruction of habitat as a result of their behaviour.

The Park is home to a number of native mammals such as the short-beaked echidna, common brushtail and ringtail possums, sugar glider and the common wombat. These are found in the forested areas of the Stonyford Creek. A variety of bat species also inhabit areas of the Park, and is  frequented by a diverse range of birds. Herons, spoonbills, duck species, rosellas, wedge-tailed eagles, thornbills, treecreepers, robins, owls and cockatoo species can all be observed. 

The Stonyford Creek area consists of remnant native vegetation, ranging from typical riparian to a drier open forest vegetation type. Dominant species within this area include peppermint and messmate eucalypts, grey gums, wattles, banksias and native grasses. A variety of fern species are also common along the creek

Little documented information has been located relating specifically to the development of the park, except for a reference to improvements to the Public Reserve including trees, lawns, etc in 1938. The landscaping, confer plantings, construction of the gates and opening plaque structure appear to have been undertaken at the same time, and more stonework has been added in recent times. The MMBW Annual Report for 1931-32 records the planting out of 2250 Pinus insignus, 50 blackwoods, 300 silver wattles, and 60 willows, but these appear to have been planted in the catchment to revegetate areas cleared for the construction (such as the quarry site). 

Barbecue shelter

Entrance 2011

Gates 2011

Torulosa Stairway 2011

Commemorative Plaques marking 1932 opening

Memorial 2011

Thanks for dropping by and taking a look at my Project!  I'd like to hear from you with any comments or reactions - please Email to  Bob Padula