Silvan Reservoir Pictorial Heritage - 1880 to 2011

Development after 1932

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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No documentary evidence has been located on the construction of the building known as 'The White House', but the architectural features indicate that it dates to c.1930, and it likely that the building was the original Works Office shown on the reservoir construction and presented by Alexander Kelso to the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1935.

The office was later used by MMBW Commissioners for their briefings of the Board's construction activities, and afternoon tea was served here en route to the O'Shannassy Quarters on weekend visits. The tradition ceased in the mid 1980s, when the Board's administrative structure changed.

The painting of the water catchments highlighting associated structures appears to have been painted in c.1960, as indicated by the completion of all except the Upper Yarra Dam, and the low density of development shown around Mitcham and Lilydale.

No documentation has been located on the fish hatchery, although it was the Board's practice to stock the new reservoirs with fish after construction. A hatchery is also located near the O'Shannassy Reservoir, although it has not been inspected.

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).

In 1945 a by-pass connected the inlet and outlet basins so that O'Shannassy water could flow directly into the outlet channel without first passing through Silvan. In 1972 the 2100 mm Silvan-Olinda Main was introduced, and the outlet channel and dissipating basins were abandoned, with only the valve chamber at the Stilling Basins remaining in use. These were made obsolete in 1980 with new mains laid to Mt Waverley and Olinda.

The "White House" in 2011

Melbourne Water management road ()no public access)

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