Yarra Brae Dam


Yarra Brae Dam (a non-event!)

In 1973, the State Government announced plans for the  new Sugarloaf Reservoir, to augment Melbourne’s water supply. The proposal was to build two large dams,  one of which was to be across the Yarra, with the dam wall across the gorge, extending from the Yarra Brae property in Wonga Park,  Park to the Bend of Isles.

This vast dam was to inundate the land extending some 20 km as far out as Yarra Glen, which would have flooded large numbers of properties, farms, and orchards, as well as destroy recreational access to the Yarra.

Water was to be pumped from this new dam to the higher level Sugarloaf Reservoir in the Christmas hills.

Work started on pouring concrete foundations in 1974 for the Yarra Brae dam, but the project was abandoned due to public hostility, and only the Sugarloaf Reservoir was built (opened in 1982).

If the dam had gone ahead, recreational features we enjoy today along the Yarra would not exist, including all white water areas, the Canoe Launching Ramps and car parks at Lower Homestead Rd and Reserve Rd. The lower section of the  Clifford Park Scout Activity Centre would have been submerged. The present-day Heritage and Country Club in Chirnside Park would never have been built. Spadoni's Reserve would have been inundated, as well as the Gun Club and Model Aircraft Flying Centre in Victoria Rd.
Indeed, sanity prevailed!

See the Consultant's  Yarra Brae Dam Project Report

This map, marked up by the author, shows the area (in green) which would have been submerged

Photos by the author, taken in 2010, showing beautiful areas which would have been inundated

Yarra at Yarra Brae

Yarra at Spadoni's Nature Reserve, Yering

Canoe launching ramp at Reserve Rd, foot of Mt Lofty 

Heritage and Country Club, Christmas Hills

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