Historical information

The dam at the entrance to the Nerreman Gateway in Eltham was built according to an internationally acclaimed theory developed by the builder's father.

In 1920, Victorian engineer B.A. Smith was awarded the American Society of Civil Engineers J. James R. Cross Gold Medal for his Technical Paper titled 'Arched Dams'. It was the first time this medal had been awarded outside the United States.

The concrete arched dam across the Eltham West Drain was built in 1940 by B.A. Smith's son and engineer, D. B. (Bernie) Smith to water the 24 acre (9.75 ha) hobby farm owned by himself and new wife, Isa Smith. Upon completion of the dam a pump-house was constructed beside the creek but before the water could be pumped up the hill they had to dig a trench and lay 500m of 100mm water main to an elevated holding tank. The Smiths made the pump-house their home for several years until they constructed their home at the top of the hill overlooking Eltham and views extending to Kinglake.

Following Bernie's death in 1983, Nerreman Park was subdivided between 1993 and 1995. Gordon Ford designed the landscaping and the pump-house was demolished.

Covered under Heritage Overlay, Nillumbik Planning Scheme.

Published: Nillumbik Now and Then /​ Marguerite Marshall 2008; photographs Alan King with Marguerite Marshall.; p137


This collection of almost 130 photos about places and people within the Shire of Nillumbik, an urban and rural municipality in Melbourne's north, contributes to an understanding of the history of the Shire. Published in 2008 immediately prior to the Black Saturday bushfires of February 7, 2009, it documents sites that were impacted, and in some cases destroyed by the fires. It includes photographs taken especially for the publication, creating a unique time capsule representing the Shire in the early 21st century. It remains the most recent comprehenesive publication devoted to the Shire's history connecting local residents to the past.

Physical description

Born digital image file