An inspection tour of the Maroondah Aqueduct was undertaken by the Shire of Eltham Historical Society on Sunday, March 22nd, 1981, commening where the aqueduct crosses Main Rd., Research, just below Eltham College.
The Maroondah Aqueduct was part of Melbourne’s water supply system. It carried water over the 66 km from the Maroondah Reservoir on the Watts River at Healesville to the Preston Reservoir. Of this length, 41 km were open channel, 10 km, tunnel through hills and 15 km in 14 inverted siphons across stream valleys.
The route of the aqueduct is north of Tarrawarra and Yarra Glen, along the Yarra escarpment south of Christmas Hills and crossing Watsons Creek into the present Shire of Eltham near Henley Rd. The eastern part of the route lies entirely within the former boundaries of the shire. The aqueduct passes south of Kangaroo Ground to Research and crosses the Diamond Creek by siphon at Allendale Rd., Eltham North. It then extends to Reservoir via St. Helena, Greensborough North and Bundoora.
Water first flowed through the aqueduct in February 1891 when it was fed by a diversion weir on the Watts River. Records of the building of the aqueduct indicate that it was a significant construction achievement.
The present Maroondah Reservoir was completed in 1927 and the aqueduct was enlarged at that time to take increased flows.
About 1971 the section of the aqueduct through and north of Research was replaced by a large pipe and that section of the channel is now unused. The channel has remained largely intact (unlike sections at Greensborough and Bundoora where long lengths of the disused aqueduct have been demolished or filled in). The M.M.B.W. relinquished control of the disused aqueduct reserve which is crown land and the Shire of Eltham took control of this section of the reserve as a linear park.
The Maroondah Aqueduct is considered to be an important historic structure, not just to the local area but to the metropolitan area generally. It is considered important to preserve substantially intact long lengths of the disused aqueduct, together with its bridges and other associated structures.
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