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Melbourne Water Docklands, Victoria

Formerly The Board of Works and Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW), Melbourne Water is owned by the Victorian Government.

For 120 years we have managed Melbourne’s water supply catchments, treated and supplied drinking and (more recently) recycled water, removed and treated most of Melbourne’s sewage and managed waterways and major drainage systems in the Port Phillip and Westernport region.

We are also responsible for managing a large number of historic places and objects. These assets tell us about social changes, technical and creative achievements, and provide a tangible link to past events, processes and people.

As detailed in our cultural heritage strategy, it is our responsibility to not only maintain and protect these valuable assets, but when such infrastructure is no longer used, to ensure heritage values are documented and protected.

Contact Information

Melbourne Water PO Box 4342 Melbourne Vic 3001 (map)



990 La Trobe Street Docklands Victoria

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The Melbourne Water collection consists of many historical objects, photographs, documents, films and oral histories ranging from the late 1800s up until the early years of 2000. Items that can be found within the collection are souvenirs, glassware, signs, textiles, books, photographs and documents relating to places such as the Metropolitan Farm (WTP), the Maroondah System, Yan Yean, Upper Yarra and the Silvan Reservoir. Also included are reports such as sewerage reports, annual reports and review of operations, as well as staff magazines and newsletters that were once distributed by the organisation itself. Promotional material is also included in this collection as well as tapes, DVD’s and CD’s relating to the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) and Melbourne Water. There are also many slides and negatives relating to Melbourne’s waterways that are stored in the collection.

1 items with documents

1 items

Photographic View Book - The Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works - Water Supply, Sewerage etc. ...Photographic Views...

Melbourne Water, Docklands

Photographic view book with hard khaki coloured cardboard cover and blue fabric binding. 120 Pages. Glossy paper with black and white plates and text about the MMBW, and scenic views and places of interest in association with the MMBW.

Historical information

In 1891​ The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) was formed and became responsible for Melbourne's water supply. Melbourne had grown to a city of half a million people. To provide water to this rapidly growing city (especially the eastern suburbs), and to supplement the 1857 Yan Yean Reservoir, Melbourne's first water supply, the Watts River (near Healesville) was tapped. It supplied water to Melbourne, via the Maroondah aqueduct.​ In May 1892 the MMBW's first engineer-in-chief, Mr William Thwaites began construction on Melbourne's sewerage system. A treatment farm was built at Werribee and a pumping station was built at Spotswood (now the site of the Scienceworks Museum) to send the city's waste to Werribee. The first Melbourne homes were connected to the sewerage system in 1897.


This book showcases the MMBW's infrastructure achievements and documents costs, requirements and key personnel involved in the development of the water supply and sewerage schemes.The introduction states "The water supply sources and headworks are in many cases situated in remote places and the sewerage works are chiefly underground. The Board has therefore resolved that these photographs of some of the scenes and works should be collected and bound for general information. August 1908" This book is in excellent condition and provides a detailed insight into the previous 17 years of work and the Board personnel of the MMBW leading up to 1908. It is of historical importance to the history of Melbourne for the photographic documents of places that were not generally open to the public, and for Melbourne Water in its detailed history of the MMBW in the early twentieth century.

Inscriptions & Markings

The Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works - Water Supply, Sewerage etc. ...Photographic Views...