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Yan Yean Reservoir celebrates 170 years

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The historic Yan Yean Reservoir celebrated 170 years of supplying water to Melbourne recently.

In an event-packed day on Sunday March 24 a re-enactment of the turning of the first sod that occurred on December 20, 1853, celebrated the history of Melbourne’s first water supply system.

Prior to the construction of Yan Yean Reservoir Melbourne’s drinking water came from the Yarra River – that coincidentally was Melbourne’s main drain.

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The day commenced with Wurundjeri elder, Ian Hunter on didgeridoo and Steve Foy on bagpipes paying homage to the Indigenous and European people who settled in the area.

City of Whittlesea Citizen of the Year 2023, Judith Clements was Master of Ceremonies for the day. A highlight of which was the reenactment by the Woodland Plays of the turning of the first sod to commence the construction of the reservoir.

Other events included old-time children’s games, an historic display of Yan Yean and surrounds, tours of the caretaker’s cottage, horse and carriage rides in the restored Governor’s carriage and musical entertainment by Whittlesea Secondary Collage students.

The Yan Yean Reservoir once enjoyed the status of being the largest manmade lake in the world and was the first of a series of reservoirs that provided water to Melbourne.

Yan Yean Reservoir is still a major player in the provision of water to the community and this is evidenced by the development of a new pipeline between the Yan Yean water treatment plant and Bald Hill, in Kalkallo.

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