The beautifully landscaped picnic areas and open lawns of Silvan Reservoir Park help to make it an ideal location for a day away from it all.
Things to Do
Try one of the forest walking tracks that commence from the Overflow Carpark.
Visit the lookout for views of the reservoir and outlet tower.
Enjoy a family picnic or barbecue.
Follow the Stonyford Creek self-guided nature trail, a 30 minute walk that passes through moist eucalypt forest and gullies of tall tree ferns.
Hot water, wood and electric barbecues, toilets, picnic tables and shelters are provided.
There is an adventure playground at Cypress Picnic Area. Most paths have ramps and toilets are available for people in wheelchairs.
Be self-sufficient with drinking water. Carry it in and/or know how to make untreated water safe for drinking.
In 1914 a severe drought prompted the search for extra water supplies for Melbourne. By 1917 a suitable site for a storage reservoir was located near the township of Silvan which lay across the Stonyford Creek. Water for Silvan Reservoir would come almost entirely from other reservoirs (mainly the O'Shannassy) as Silvan Reservoir's water catchment was quite small.
Construction commenced on the outlet channel and stilling basins in 1926. In 1927 the main construction began. All good timber was cleared from the catchment. This consisted mainly of messmate and grey gum which was used for the construction of camps and offices. All other vegetation was then cleared to approximately 10 metres above the high water level to ensure maximum water quality.
By 1928 building of the dam wall had commenced. Once complete it would measure 644 metres long at its crest, 219 metres wide at its base and 43 metres high.
Silvan Reservoir commenced water storage in June, 1931. By December of that year, Silvan was holding three-quarters of its maximum capacity. The dam was officially opened on 7 July, 1931.
Silvan began to receive water from the Upper Yarra Dam in 1953. In 1983 work began on stabilising the existing dam wall which had begun to show signs of age. During this period the existing picnic ground was also upgraded with new barbecue areas, gardens, rotundas and the Stonyford Creek Walking Track.
Today Silvan Reservoir receives its water supply from the Thomson, Upper Yarra and O'Shannassy Reservoirs. In turn, Silvan Reservoir supplies domestic water to many of Melbourne's suburbs and other large off-stream storage reservoirs such as Cardinia and Greenvale.
The formal landscape qualities of the park have gained recognition by the National Trust of Australia. The Torulosa Stairway and formal arrangement of exotic trees and stonework are an essential part of the cultural and heritage values of the park.
Urbanisation, widespread clearance of native vegetation and the construction of the reservoir has had a dramatic effect on the abundance and diversity of native fauna in the park. Other impacts on native fauna in this area includes competition and predation from introduced animals such as the fox, rabbit and cat. These introduced vermin have also caused widespread destruction of habitat as a result of their behaviour.
Silvan Reservoir Park is home to a number of native mammals such as the short-beaked echidna, common brushtail and ringtail possums, sugar glider and the common wombat. These are found in the forested areas of the Stonyford Creek. A variety of bat species also inhabit areas of Silvan Reservoir Park.
Silvan Reservoir Park is frequented by a diverse range of birds. Herons, spoonbills, duck species, rosellas, wedge-tailed eagles, thornbills, treecreepers, robins, owls and cockatoo species can all be observed.
The picnic grounds of Silvan Reservoir Park are approximately 20 ha in size and consist mainly of exotic and non-indigenous vegetation, representing the cultural history of the area. Created in the 1930's, the gardens were designed to reflect a European style. Cypress, spruce, liquidamber, poplar, and maples are just some of the beautiful exotic trees you will see at Silvan Reservoir Park.
The Stonyford Creek area consists of remnant native vegetation, ranging from typical riparian to a drier open forest vegetation type. Dominant species within this area include peppermint and messmate eucalypts, grey gums, wattles, banksias and native grasses. A variety of fern species are also common along the creek banks.
Looking After the Park
Take your rubbish with you.
Camping is not permitted within the park.
Light fires only in fireplaces provided. No open fires, including barbecues, may be lit on days of Total Fire Ban.
Silvan Reservoir is now closed on days of Total Fire Ban.
Dogs are not permitted along forested walking tracks, but are allowed on a leash in the main picnic areas.
How to Get There
The park is in the Dandenong Ranges, near Mount Evelyn, 50 km east of Melbourne. Visitors can drive along Canterbury Road, turn right at York Road in Mount Evelyn and follow the signs to the park.
The park is open from 8:30 am and closes at 4:30 pm during non-daylight savings times and from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm during daylight savings times. Silvan Reservoir is now closed on days of Total Fire Ban.
There are two picnic areas, one at the top of the hill and the other lower down the hill. There are plenty of picnic tables in both areas (some shaded) and BBQs. Up the hill are some toilets. There is a playground with a decent play structure.
The Stonyford Creek Self Guided Nature trail was closed and looks like it is not going to open any time soon. There was evidence that people had hopped across the fence at one end of the trail (near the playground) and followed the trail. When we visited there was also a massive tree across the fence which provided access to the trail at the other end. Being rather inquisitive, we climbed along the fallen tree and then followed the trail which was generally in a fair condition although it has a number of fallen trees across the track.
You need to cross Stonyford Road to get to the Messmate and Olinda Creek walking tracks (make sure you take a map which is provided in the links).