Yan Yean Reservoir ParkYan Yean Reservoir Park provides visitors with peaceful picnic areas, a variety of walking tracks and breathtaking views of Melbourne's oldest water storage site. The reservoir was Melbourne's first and has supplied the city with water since 1857. It was the plan of James Blackburn, a civil engineer who unfortunately died before ever seeing his dream developed. The historic bluestone valve house and stone water channel are reminders of the reservoir's history.
A variety of birds live on the wetlands including the purple swamp hen. Brush-tail possums and eastern grey kangroos also make their home in the park. River redgums, she-oaks and kangaroo grass surround the lanscaped picnic area and wetlands.
Facilities include toilets at a picnic area and playground near the valve house, which provide an opportunity for children to play safely. Wood-fired barbecues (with wood supplied), two large rotundas and picnic tables are provided. Portable barbecues are permitted in mown picnic areas. Signs mark areas where they are not permitted for fire safety reasons.
Location: Yan Yean Reservoir Park is located about 32 km north of Melbourne, on Recreation Road just off Arthurs Creek Road, Yan Yean (Melway ref: 610 M12).
Yan Yean Reservoir is the oldest water supply for the city of Melbourne. It is built on the Plenty River, a tributary of the Yarra River. An embankment 9.5 metres high holds back 30,000 megalitresof water. Work began at the height of the gold rush and it took four years to construct at a cost of £750,000. Lieutenant Governor Latrobe turned the first sod in 1853. It soon became a popular picnic place, and between 1872 and 1939 was the venue for the Friendly Societies Annual Picnic. These gala events featured brass bands, highland dancing, races and games for the children. At least three hotels were established to cater for visitors and workmen.
At the time of its completion in 1857 Yan Yean Reservour was the largest artificial reservoir in the world. It was designed by James Blackburn, an English Civil Engineer and former London sanitary inspector who was transported to Tasmania as a convict following charges of embezzlement. After being pardoned he came to Melbourne in 1849. The Toorourrong Reservoir system, constructed in 1883 1885, supplies water to Yan Yean via an aqueduct.