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Melbourne's Water Catchments

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Melbourne's Water Catchments

Perspectives on a World-Class Water Supply

James Viggers  
Haylee Weaver  
David Lindenmayer   Fenner School of Environment and Society

Photographs, Illustrations
144 pages, 245 x 170 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

    Paperback - 2013
ISBN: 9781486300068 - AU $ 29.95

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This book charts the history of the water catchments and water supply for the city of Melbourne, which has many unique aspects that are a critical part of the history of Melbourne, Victoria and Australia. Much of the development of the water supply system was many decades ahead of its time and helped buffer the city of Melbourne from major diseases, droughts and water shortages.

The authors present a chronology of the evolution of the catchment and water supply system pre-1900 to today. They discuss major developments, policies, and construction and management activities. Each chapter is illustrated with historical black and white images as well as newly taken photos that contrast present scenes with those from the past. Chapters also include many fascinating stories of life within the water catchments and working for the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works.

Finally, the book includes many extraordinary insights into current and future issues with Melbourne’s water supply, including issues associated with the highly controversial North-South Pipeline and the desalination plant.


  • Tells the story of how the water catchment system developed for Melbourne has been consistently ahead of its time and has had a massive influence on the development of the city and Australia
  • Includes both historical and current content and photographs
  • Includes issues associated with the highly controversial north-south pipeline and the desalination plant

Conversion table
PART 1: Early History (Pre-1900 to 1960)
Chapter 1: Pre-1900
Chapter 2: 1901–1939
Chapter 3: 1940–1960
PART 2: 1961 to 2012 – a water man’s perspective
Chapter 4: 1961–1984
Chapter 5: 1985–2012
Chapter 6: The future

 Town planners
Water engineers; civil engineers
Melbourne history enthusiasts and historical societies

 Jim Viggers, a civil engineer with the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, worked in Melbourne’s water catchments for 25 years and has researched the history of these areas for 50 years. He was responsible for the management of the catchments and the harvest, storage and distribution of water to Melbourne.

Haylee Weaver is a parasitologist and has written extensively on the biology and ecology of parasites of Australian rodents. Haylee grew up in Melbourne and has an interest in its history.

David Lindenmayer is an ecologist who has worked in the wet forests of Victoria for three decades. Part of his long-term work has entailed extensive field empirical projects in the Maroondah, Watts Creek, Armstrong Creek, Upper Yarra, O’Shannassy and Thomson catchments.


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