Yan Yean Reservoir

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Yan Yean Reservoir
Whittlesea Yan Yean Reservoir.jpg
the Yan Yean reservoir with Whittlesea in the foreground
Coordinates 37°33′S 145°08′E / 37.550°S 145.133°E / -37.550; 145.133Coordinates: 37°33′S 145°08′E / 37.550°S 145.133°E / -37.550; 145.133
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Toorourrong Reservoir via aqueduct (off stream storage)
Primary outflows Plenty River
Basin countries Australia
Water volume 30 mio m³ (30,000 ML)

Yan Yean Reservoir is the oldest water supply for the city of Melbourne, Australia.[1] It is 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of the city and is built on the Plenty River, a tributary of the Yarra River. An embankment 9.5 metres (31 ft) high holds back 30,000 megalitres (1,100×10^6 cu ft) of water. Work began in 1853 at the height of the gold rush and it took four years to construct at a cost of £750,000.[2]

The reservoir is managed by Melbourne Water as part of the water supply system for Melbourne.

At the time of its completion in 1857 it was the largest artificial reservoir in the world.[3]

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.


  1. ^ Ritchie, E. G. (October 1934), "Melbourne's Water Supply Undertaking", Journal of Institution of Engineers Australia 6: 379–382, archived from the original on 2011-04-05 
  2. ^ Melbourne Water Yan Yean Reservoir fact sheet
  3. ^ Clode, Danielle. Continent of curiosities: A journey through Australian natural history. Cambridge University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-521-86620-0.