Yan Yean Reservoir

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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)
Photograph, lightly coloured, of the Yan Yean Reservoir, Victoria 1859.

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.

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


Work began in 1853 at the height of the gold rush[2] and it took four years to construct at a cost of £750,000.[3][4]

The reservoir 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.[5]

The Toorourrong Reservoir system, constructed in 1883–1885, supplies water to Yan Yean via an aqueduct.

At the time of its completion in 1857 it was the largest artificial reservoir in the world.[6] Photographer Fred Kruger was commissioned by the government to provide images of the extensive works for display at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886.


  1. ^ Ritchie, E. G. (October 1934), "Melbourne's Water Supply Undertaking", Journal of Institution of Engineers Australia 6: 379–382, archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-04-05 
  2. ^ R. C. Seeger, ‘The History of Melbourne's Water Supply-Part 1’, Victorian Historical Magazine, vol 19, no 3, June 1942, pp 107-119 and vol 19, no 4, Dec 1942, pp 133-38
  3. ^ R. C. Seeger, ‘The History of Melbourne's Water Supply-Part 2’, Victorian Historical Magazine, vol 22, no 1, June 1947, pp 23-47
  4. ^ Melbourne Water Yan Yean Reservoir fact sheet
  5. ^ Harley Preston, 'Blackburn, James (1803–1854)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/blackburn-james-1789/text2019, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 10 June 2015.
  6. ^ Clode, Danielle. Continent of curiosities: A journey through Australian natural history. Cambridge University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-521-86620-0.