CREEK DRAINAGE SYSTEM
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To many Melburnians, Moonee Ponds Creek is the watercourse that runs alongside the freeway leading to Tullamarine Airport. Relatively few people are familiar with other sections of the creek, or are aware of the numerous drainage works that have been undertaken along the length of the creek and on the tributary drainage systems since the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Over the past one hundred years, dramatic changes have taken place in the use of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin which has led to major alterations in the regime of flow along the creek. The natural open savannah to lightly timbered landscape was originally used for agricultural and grazing pursuits but urbanisation gradually spread northwards from the City of Melbourne through the municipalities of Brunswick, Essendon, Coburg and Broadmeadows to extend into the fringes of the Shire of Bulla.
The current flow regime of the Moonee Ponds Creek reflects both the characteristic response of urban and rural areas to rainfall. The upper rural areas still respond to occasional heavy rainfalls, but shed little water into the creek from the more regular showers. On the other hand the urban segments of the basin shed waters into the creek from all rainfall patterns resulting in a complete change in the regime of the creek in the Upper and lower reaches. The changes in the flow regime hastened the erosion of the inherently unstable bed and banks along extensive reaches of the creek, while major flooding problems appeared with increasing frequency and severity. Both public and private property was at risk from erosion and flooding.
Therefore over the years a number of works were undertaken by the Board to stabilise the course of the creek, to control flooding and to control the deposition of sediment which is naturally carried by floodwaters from the catchment to the lower tidal reaches.
All these works were undertaken as part of the development of an intense urban infrastructure in accordance with the standards of the day. Each work was co-ordinated with appropriate systems of the infrastructure in accordance with the outline development plans of the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme. In many instances the allocation of space for each of the competing usages of land was of prime consideration in the choice of a solution to the hydraulic problems of creek design. As a result of co-ordination with other units of the urban infrastructure, the valley of Moonee Ponds Creek throughout the urban area can now be used safely for residential and industrial purposes, provides major recreational areas for the surrounding suburbs, provides a route for a major transport system, viz the Tullamarine Freeway, and a route for a major sewerage system, all free of nuisance and damage which would otherwise arise from an unstable flood prone creek.
In recent years there have been a number of criticisms of some of the works that the Board has undertaken, although the criticisms have often been ill-informed and perhaps over-emotive.
This report has been compiled to present the facts: details of the drainage improvement works that have been undertaken along Moonee Ponds Creek and its tributaries are documented and reasons why the works were deemed necessary are given. On reading the report, it will become apparent that on many occasions the Board has undertaken works in response to requests by the municipalities and by local residents whose properties were subject to flooding and erosion. As along other watercourses in the metropolitan area, the Board inherited a legacy of urban development having been permitted to encroach on the flood prone land, and a legacy of steep and crumbling banks being located within subdivisional boundaries.
It has been the Board's experience with respect to Moonee Ponds Creek that drainage works of a temporary or 'cosmetic' nature are of relatively limited long-term value in erosion control and do little to alleviate flooding . A 'beautified' channel that appears to be adequate in dry weather may be frequently overtopped by flood flows, but few proponents of such channels have seen the creek during times of flood.
The Board has, for the most part, successfully overcome the problems of flooding and erosion along Moonee Ponds Creek by constructing a large retarding basin - and others are planned- and by partially hard-lining some sections of the creek. The lined sections have a number of advantages over the unimproved sections : they are stable and of acceptable hydraulic capacity, they are hydraulically more efficient, cost less to maintain, and along some reaches, for example between Flemington Road and Ormond Road, have allowed former swampy, flood prone land to be developed for recreational purposes.
The complexities of drainage management and maintenance are frequently overlooked, and for this reason a section of the report is devoted to these topics, with particular attention being given to the legal framework within which the Board operates, to the types of maintenance works carried out by the Board along Moonee Ponds Creek and its tributaries, and to management responsibilities for the land adjoining Moonee Ponds Creek.
Management of a creek of the size of Moonee Ponds Creek necessitates an understanding of the many natural phenomena, such as rainfall, topography, soils and vegetation, that affect surface runoff, creek flows, erosion, and sediment transport within the basin. The natural processes and their interrelationships are complex, and are made even more complex by the introduction of urban development into the basin with resultant increased runoff and the introduction of pollutants into the runoff.
The purpose of this report is to summarise the development of the drainage system of the Moonee Ponds Creek catchment over the past 140 years, so that future managers of the creek will have an understanding of the problems which have occurred in the past, the causes of the problems and the constraints upon the administrators of the day in arriving at solutions. If the lessons of the past are understood, it should be possible to continue to advance management and control techniques for the overall benefit of the community.
The drainage problems that have arisen within the Moonee Ponds Creek basin as a result of urban development are discussed, the drainage works that have been undertaken are documented and their effectiveness assessed. The nature of the basin at the time of European settlement is described and reference is made to the reclamation of the West Melbourne Swamp and the cutting of channels to convey the waters of Moonee Ponds Creek to the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers. Details of the recurrent flooding that occurred on the low-lying land in the lower part of the basin, and of the remedial measures that were proposed and executed are given.
During the 1950s and 1960s the middle part of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin was developed for residential purposes and erosion of the steep-sided watercourses ensued. The drainage improvement works that were undertaken to combat this problem are described. In 1960 the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works decided that it would eventually be necessary to construct three large retarding basins an the upper part of the basin and to improve the downstream reaches of the creek along its existing alignment. Details of the Jacana Retarding Basin, which became operational in 1967, and of the works undertaken along Moonee Ponds Creek and its tributaries during the 1960s and 1970s are presented, with particular attention being given to the drainage works associated with the Tullamarine Freeway. In the final two sections of the report current and planned drainage management policies and problems are presented and discussed. Maps showing planning, zoning and land ownership/management for the land adjoining Moonee Ponds and Yuroke Creeks are included.
The assistance of staff from the local and state government authorities listed below for Providing information, maps and photographs that have been used in this report, and for willingly giving their time to discuss and clarify certain matters is gratefully acknowledged:
Moonee Ponds Creek rises some three and a half kilometres to the north of Tullamarine Airport and flows in a south to south-easterly direction to join the Yarra River at Appleton Dock (Fig 1-1). The basin of Moonee Ponds Creek is elongate and narrow, and the tributaries, with the exception of Yuroke Creek, are relatively short. The basin covers an area of 139 km2, and drains parts of the Cities of Melbourne, Brunswick, Essendon, Coburg and Broadmeadows, and parts of the Shires of Bulla and Keilor (Fig 1-2). With the exception of the area to the west of Greenvale Reservoir the basin is located within the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works drainage boundary.
The topography of the basin is closely related to lithology (Figs 1-3 and 1-4). In their upper reaches, Moonee Ponds and Yuroke Creeks flow across the flat to gently undulating surface that has developed on the Younger basalt and the Gellibrand Hill granodiorite. The elevation of this surface ranges from 130m to 250m above sea level. To the south of the surface the valleys of both creeks are well defined and follow geological boundaries: the valley of Moonee Ponds Creek is located along the contact of the basalt and the Gellibrand Hill granodiorite, and that of Yuroke Creek along the contact of the basalt and Silurian sedimentary rocks. The valleys along these reaches tend to be asymmetrically shaped, with particularly steep slopes having developed on the basalt. To the south of Gellibrand Hill relatively unresistant Silurian sedimentary rocks have been exposed and a small amphitheatre has developed in the Westmeadows area, hemmed in by steep basalt slopes on three sides and by the Gellibrand Hill intrusion to the north.
Along its middle reaches, Moonee Ponds Creek has cut through the Younger basalt, giving rise to steep valley sides. Between Broadmeadows and Strathmore the valley bottom is relatively narrow, but downstream of Strathmore it becomes much wider (Fig 1-3). To the south of Essendon Airport the basalt is replaced by Silurian sedimentaries, Tertiary sands and highly weathered Older Volcanics which give rise to a generally subdued topography. The creek is quite deeply incised along a number of reaches in this area, and Silurian rocks have been exposed at a number of locations.
To the south of Ormond Road, the original creek course meandered across a floodplain before flowing into a tidal swamp between the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers. However, during the 1870s and 1880s, when reclamation of the swamp was commenced, cuts were excavated to carry water from the Moonee Ponds Creek directly to the Yarra and Maribyrnong. This part of the basin is underlain by sands, silts and clays of Quaternary age (Fig 1-4). These sediments form part of the extensive 'Yarra Delta' deposits which accumulated at the head of Hobsons Bay during the Quaternary Period.
The gradient of Moonee Ponds Creek downstream of Ormond Road is extremely gentle, the fall in elevation between Ormond Road and the Yarra River being only nine metres. Deposition has been a recurring problem along this length of the creek in contrast to the problems of erosion that have been encountered along the steeper more incised sections further upstream. Land use within the basin is extremely varied. To the north of Broadmeadows the basin remains in an essentially rural state with most of the area devoted to grazing. Between Broadmeadows and North Melbourne land use is predominantly residential. In the lower part of the basin the creek flows through a mixed residential/industrial area and through land occupied by the Victorian Railways Board and the Port of Melbourne Authority (formerly the Melbourne Harbour Trust). Descriptions of the 'Yarra Delta' deposits, and a discussion of their relationship to Pleistocene sea-level changes are given in Refs 1 to 4.
The earliest residential development within the basin took place in North Melbourne during the 1850s and by the turn of the century had spread westwards and north-westwards to Kensington, Flemington and Essendon and northwards to Brunswick and Coburg. Railway lines to Broadmeadows and Coburg were opened in 1878 and 1882 respectively, and tram lines were extended to Brunswick and Essendon during the 1880s (Refs 7 and 8). Development was particularly rapid during the land boom of the 1880s (see, for example, Refs 8 and 9). By 1931, when the first set of aerial photographs of the Melbourne area were taken, the suburbs of Ascot Vale, Moonee Ponds, Essendon, Brunswick and much of Coburg and Strathmore had been developed (Fig 1-5). During the Depression and the war years urban growth was relatively limited but extensive development took place during the 1950s in the Oak Park, Glenroy, Pascoe Vale, Broadmeadows and Strathmore areas. In the past two decades residential development has been mainly confined to the Westmeadows and Broadmeadows area. The most significant development in this period, however, has probably been the construction of the Tullamarine Airport complex and the associated freeway works.
Much of the early development within the Moonee Ponds Creek basin was undertaken with relatively little forethought for the potential problems of flooding and erosion, and created a situation in which modifications to the drainage system became essential in subsequent years. Along its middle reaches the creek is quite deeply incised and bank erosion, particularly on the outsides of bends, would have been a naturally occurring phenomenon. Bank erosion was undoubtedly exacerbated by the destruction or modification of the riparian vegetation by the early pastoralists; present-day conditions along the upper rural reaches of the creek are probably indicative of what the situation must have been like further downstream prior to urban development.
As urban development gradually engulfed the lower and middle parts of the basin, the sections of Moonee Ponds Creek and its tributaries which drain those areas received greater volumes of runoff and experienced more frequent and severe flood flows. As a result, bed and bank erosion was accelerated, often at alarming rates, and sediment was deposited along the watercourses, particularly along the lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek where gradients are low.
The twin problems of erosion and flooding along Moonee Ponds Creek assumed far greater significance than they might otherwise have done simply because of the lack of controls upon urban development. During the last decades of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century, residential and industrial development was allowed to take place adjacent to the Moonee Ponds channel on the low-lying land that had been reclaimed from the West Melbourne Swamp, even though the area was known to be flood prone. Along the middle reaches of the creek, residential subdivisions extended to the edge of the creek, the local councils at the time apparently considering it unnecessary to create drainage reserves. Economic losses suffered because of the development of the flood prone land, and the damage to private property associated with both flooding and erosion, made expensive drainage works essential.
In an attempt to alleviate flooding and to control erosion, a number of projects have been undertaken along various reaches of the creek during the past forty years. These include the partial hard lining of a number of sections, and the construction of a large retarding basin at Jacana in the middle part of the basin. This report outlines the history of the Moonee Ponds Creek drainage system from the time of European settlement to the present day. It examines the drainage problems that have arisen in the course of urban development, documents the remedial measures that have been taken, and assesses their effectiveness.
1 Gill, E D, 1961. "Eustasy and the Yarra Delta, Victoria, Australia", Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 74, 125-134.
2 Gill, ED, 1971. "The far-reaching effects of Quaternary sea level changes on theflat continent of Australia", Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 84, 189- 205.
3 Bowler, J M, 1966. "Geology and geomorphology", In, Port Phillip Bay Survey 1957-1963 Part 1; Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria, No 27, i9-68.
4 Neilson, J Land Jenkin, J J, 1967. "Quaternary", In, Geology of the Melbourne District, Victoria; Geological Survey of Victoria Bulletin No 59, 4 7-50.
5 Mattingley, A, 1916. "The early history of North Melbourne, Part 1 ", Victorian Historical Magazine, 2, 80-91.
6 Mattingley, A, 1917. "The early history of North Melbourne, Part 2", Victorian Historical Magazine, 5, 97-106.
7 Harrigan. L J, 1962. Victorian Railways to 1962. Victorian Railways Department; Melbourne.
8 Davison, G. 1978. The rise and fall of marvellous Melbourne . Melbourne University Press; Melbourne.
9 Cannon, M, 1966. The Land Boomers. Nelson & Sons; Melbourne.
On Robert Hoddle's map of 1837 (Ref 1), Moonee Ponds Creek is depicted as a sinuous watercourse with water-holes strung along much of its length (Fig 2-1 ). Hoddle describes the watercourse as a chain of ponds, and gives its name as Monee Monee (Refs 1 and 2). Hoddle's map indicates that the quality of the Creek water was relatively good in the vicinity of what is now Westmeadows but brackish or bad further downstream. The creek is shown as terminating near the Geelong Road (Flemington Road). To the south, between the end of the creek and the Yarra River, there was an extensive "Salt Water Marsh". The description of the creek given by Westgarth in 1857 (Ref 5) confirms a number of the features noted by Hoddle :
Two miles from Melbourne, we crossed the Moonee Ponds, by the excellent macadamised road that now aids the traveller. These 'Ponds', as they are called, forming a winding chain of water-holes, afford, close to Melbourne, a genuine specimen of Australian river peculiarities. After a course of twelve or fourteen miles, they terminate in a salt lagoon, having no outlet. This lagoon at its eastern extremity, touches upon the western bounds of the city, from whence the Williamstown railway emanates, skirting the eastern and northern margin of the lagoon flat. The Moonee Ponds have seldom any stream in the winding-bed excepting during very wet weather. The water, in many of the holes or ponds, is brackish; in others, it is fresh, according to the components of the soil on which the waters rest. When there is a stream therefore - generally a very feeble one - the whole has a brackish character, rendering the water unsuitable for drinking to the population, although still available for cattle and for other uses. This little creek meanders through a very fine agricultural country, particularly in its lower course near Melbourne, where there are many new farms, country-houses, and gardens.
Balliere's Victorian Gazetteer of 1865 (Ref 6) also suggests that the creeks flowed only during wet weather. The chain of ponds that the early settlers found along Moonee Ponds Creek would appear to have been a characteristic feature of many of the watercourses in parts of Victoria and New South Wales. Charles Darwin, for example, who visited Australia on the homeward voyage of the 'Beagle' noted, much to his surprise that the Macquarie River in New South Wales was no more than "a mere chain of ponds, separated from each other by spaces almost dry (Ref 7).
Most of the creeks, however, were significantly modified by the hydrological changes that accompanied European settlement and agricultural development. In the Avoca basin of Central Victoria, for example, many of the water-holes were either filled by the deposition of sediment or drained as a result of channel incision (Ref 8). The destruction of the riparian vegetation by stock, and increased rates of runoff resulting from forest clearance, are considered to have been the causal factors in that area. In a study of ponded creeks on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Eyles (Refs 9 and 10) suggests the following sequence of change: chain of scour ponds, discontinuous gully, continuously incised channel, channel containing 'fixed bar' ponds, permanently flowing stream. Although there is no direct evidence, it would seem logical to assume that a similar sequence of events may have occurred along Moonee Ponds Creek during the later decades of the Nineteenth century.
The derivation of the word Moonee is uncertain. G Aldous, in his History of Essendon (Ref 3) notes that The Argus of 1 September 1934, lists three possible origins for the word: that Moonee Moonee is an aboriginal word meaning plenty of small flats; that the name is derived from John Long Moonee, a British soldier who took up allotments in the area now occupied by the Moonee Valley Racecourse; and that 'Moonee Moonee’ was an aborigine attached to the Mounted Police.
In L. Blake's Place Names of Victoria (Ref 4), the following entry appears : MOONEE PONDS: Part of City of Essendon; Abor. used word as personal n. but it also referred to lizard; in 1841 Variously as Monee Monnie, Moonee Moonee, Mooney, Money; in 1845 Trooper Moonee Moonee of Danas Native Mounted Police Corps died in Wimmera.
The lagoon and surrounding swampy area which was located to the south of Moonee Ponds Creek between the Saltwater (Maribyrnong) and Yarra Rivers was a prominent feature in the landscape of early Melbourne, and proved to be a barrier to the westward development of the city (Plate 2-1). It is clearly marked on a number of early maps of the area - on Grimes' map of 1803 the word swamp appears (Ref 11) on Batman's map of 1835 a small lagoon is indicated, accompanied by the words "Extensive marsh reserved for Public Common"(Ref 12); on Hoddle's map of 1837 (Fig 2-1) the outline of a "Salt Water Marsh" appears; and on Russell's map of 1837 (Fig 2-2) it is referred to as a "Salt Lake", and is similar in shape to the marsh depicted on Hoddle's map. Early descriptions of the swamp and lagoon are scanty. James Fleming, one of Grimes' party, included the following comments in his journal (Ref 12) :
Saw a large lagoon in the distance. Went over the hill to a large swamp. Soil black, eighteen inches, with blue clay at bottom. No trees for many miles. It is a large swamp between two rivers; fine grass, fit to mow,· not a bush on it. The soil is black rich earth about six to ten inches deep, when it is very hard and stiff. It is better further back.
Grimes and his party were probably the first Europeans to explore the northern part of Port Phillip Bay. In February 1803, some thirty-two years before Batman's arrival and the establishment of the settlement of Melbourne, they journeyed up the Yarra as far as Dight's Falls and also visited the lower reaches of the Maribyrnong River. Batman, in his journal (Ref 13), describes the swamp as being :
About one and a-half mile wide, by three or four miles long, of the richest description of soil - not a tree. At the upper end of this marsh is a lagoon. I should think, from the distance I saw, that it is upwards of a mile across, and full of swans, ducks, geese etc.
A more detailed description of the area, as it appeared in the 1840s, is given by G G McCrae (Ref 14), who at the time was living in a house near the corner of King and Little Lonsdale Streets :
Nearly all the country to south, north, and west of us was at this period in a state of nature, with just a few cottages dotted over it here and there. On our side of Batman's Hill (then a beautiful green knoll thickly covered with round headed she-oaks) stood the white tents of a detachment of the 26th Regiment, producing a very pretty effect as relieved against the verdant and flowery mead on which they were pitched. To the west of us and just a little to north, stretching away from beyond the base of the Flag-staff Hill, lay a beautiful lake. You may search for it in vain to-day among the mud, scrap-iron, broken all sorts of red-rusty railway debris - the evidence of an exigent and remorseless modern civilisation. Yet; once, it was there: a real lake, intensely blue, nearly oval, and full of the clearest salt water; but this, by no means deep. Fringed gaily all round by mesembryanthemum ( 'pigs-face') in full bloom, it seemed in the broad sunshine as though girdled about with a belt of magenta fire. The ground gradually sloping down towards the lake was also empurpled, but patchily, in the same manner, though perhaps not quite so brilliantly, while the whole air was heavy with the mingled odours of the golden myrrnong flowers and purple-fringed lilies, or ratafias. I often used (this was in 1841) to visit this lake along with my father on his shooting expeditions, in the early mornings, surprising the numerous wild-fowl that frequented its margin or waded about unconcernedly in its waters. It was there that, for the first time in my life, I saw snipe killed. and there that I had my first exciting chase on foot after that elusive and noisy bird, the spur-winged plover. Curlews, ibises, and 'blue cranes' were there in numbers, and the alert little black-capped sandpipers scuttled along the brink in pairs. Black swans occasionally visited it, as also flocks of wild ducks in passing. In those times, this sheet of water was termed indifferently 'The Blue Lake' and 'The Salt-water Lake' or 'Lagoon'', also I have heard it styled 'Batman's' or the 'North Melbourne Swamp'.
It would appear that in addition to the main lagoon, three smaller lagoons were located between the present day Macaulay and Flemington Roads (Fig 2-3). The extent of the lagoons would have undoubtedly varied throughout the year. During periods of high flood from Moonee Ponds Creek would have filled the lagoons and Inundated the land between the Yarra and Saltwater Rivers and the whole area would also have been inundated during exceptionally high tides. Sir John Coode, for example, reports that the sea level on 17 December 1863 was sufficiently high to submerge virtually the whole of the West Melbourne Swamp to a depth of around three feet (Ref 15). Apart from occasional fishing and shooting, little use seems to have been made of the swamp area, although one early visitor (Ref 16) to the City thought that the land had considerable potential, stating that :
Though to a stranger the swamp appears unsightly, and apt to lead one to form an unfavourable opinion, yet it is fair to expect, drawing on inference from the rapid growth of this wonderful city, that a very short time will see it form an additional ornament, as it becomes converted into blooming gardens, rich fields, or beautiful lakes.
Contemporary descriptions indicate that the original vegetation cover of the Melbourne region ranged from quite thickly timbered country in the east to open grassland with occasional trees to the north and west of the city. The earliest description of the timber in general is gum, oak and Banksia; the two latter are small; the gum two to four feet in diameter, and from ten to thirty high; on some of the low ground they are something larger" (Ref 12). In the immediate environs of Melbourne the timber cover would appear to have been relatively open. A letter written by Thomas Winter of Hobart in the late 1830s (Ref 17) described the area in the following manner :
Melbourne is ... beautifully situated on a gently sloping hill, upon the banks of the Yarra, and surrounded by a lovely country, lightly covered by trees, chiefly eucalypts and acacia ... For some miles around Melbourne, the country bears the same beautiful character - grassy and luxuriant, with trees scattered over it, as in the least woody parts of the old forests in England.
A number of early writers commented on this naturally sparse tree cover characteristic of the basaltic plains to the north and west of Melbourne and pointed out the potential of these areas for grazing (Refs 18, 19 & 20). It has been suggested that the general absence of trees from the basaltic plains can probably be attributed to climatic factors, in particular to the lack of storms of sufficient duration and intensity to wet the soil to allow seedlings to escape competition from the spreading roots of grasses and herbs. (ref 21).
The original vegetation of the Moonee Ponds creek basin would appear to have been similar in character to that of the surrounding area, with open forest on the sedimentary rocks, and grass cover with scattered trees on the basalt plains. On Hoddle's map (Fig 2- 1), the area to the north of Flemington Road, where sands of Tertiary ago outcrop, is shown as "well wooded country", and Mattingley (Ref 25) described the North Melbourne area, which is mainly underlain by Silurian sedimentary rocks, As “consisting of undulating land richly carpeted with grass and studded with noble red gum trees, which give it a beautiful park-like appearance".
The basaltic areas within the basin are shown on Hoddle's map as being lightly timbered and good sheep country. The only areas of thickly timbered country depicted on Hoddle’s map are the granodiorite slopes of Gellibrand Hill. The generally open nature of the original landscape can be appreciated from two contemporary paintings (Plate 2-2), one, painted in 1839, of John Fawkner's property 'Grandview Park' at Pascoe Vale, and the other a view from the Flemington escarpment across the Saltwater Lagoon and towards Mount Macedon painted by Eugene von Guerrard in 1858. On Gellibrand Hill, and on the areas underlain by sedimentary rocks, the predominant trees were various species of eucalypts, but on the basalt plains casuarinas may well have been equally, or more, common. Batey (Ref 26) mentions that in the 1840s, quite dense belts of she-oaks grew on the uplands fringing Jackson's Creek, which is located only a few kilometres to the west of Moonee Ponds Creek, and Howitt (Ref 27) gives the following description of the vegetation along the Mount Macedon Road in the vicinity of Moonee Ponds during the mid 1850s:
As we advanced ... nearly all the trees were she-oaks, - not the eternal gum-trees, - and these interspersed with Banksias, now in fresh foliage, and new pale yellow cones, or rather bottle-brushes, with a sprinkling of gums and golden wattles, give what you rarely see in this country, a variety of foliage and hue.
The vegetation growing along the creeks in the area was probably more varied than that on the uplands. Batey (Ref 26) describes Jackson's Creek as being" nicely timbered with a variety of eucalypts, wattle and other shrubs", and it would seem likely that the watercourses of the Moonee Ponds Creek system were similarly vegetated. The lower floodplain reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek, and the banks of the Yarra, were clothed with stands of Swamp paperbark (Melaleuca ericifolia) (Refs 20 and 28), while the West Melbourne Swamp was covered with grasses and moisture loving plants such as pigsface. Indigenous vegetation survives in only a few areas within the Moonee Ponds Creek basin. Agricultural development was accompanied by the replacement of many native species by introduced ones, and large numbers of trees were undoubtedly cleared to facilitate grazing (Plate 2-3), or to provide firewood, casuarinas being particularly favoured for the latter purpose (Ref 22).
In the lower and middle parts of the basin, urban development resulted in the almost complete obliteration of the original vegetation. Significant remnants of the original flora remain on Gellibrand Hill, but elsewhere within the basin only isolated patches are to be found. The settlement of the area was accompanied by the introduction of a number of plants that are now classified as noxious weeds. As early as 1857, Westgarth (Ref 5) was able to write that in the nearby Keilor area Scotch thistles "waved to and fro like a cornfield''. Thistles and other noxious weeds such as box thorn, furze, fennel. and blackberry are today found in many parts of the basin and pose a maintenance problem along the creek courses.
The earlier settlers reported that there was a rich animal and bird life in the area. Kangaroos and emus were undoubtedly common (Ref 20) and large numbers of birds were apparent. Mattingley (Ref 25) reports observing "hundreds of parrots and parakeets" in the "parkland" around North Melbourne. The West Melbourne Swamp with its thick ground cover and lagoons was a haven for birds such as snipe, curlews, ibises, blue cranes, and ducks (Refs 14 and 15). An extensive list of birds observed during the 1840s in the Jackson's Creek area is given by Batey (Ref 26), who comments that wedge-tailed eagles were common at that time. Predictably as development proceeded within the basin, numbers were drastically reduced.
1 Hoddle, R, 1837, Plan shewing the Surveyed Lands to the Northward of Melbourne and Allotments contiguous to it by Robert Hoddle Surveyor. Held at the Old Central Plan Office, Department of Crown Lands and Survey Victoria, Melbourne. Reference Number, Port Phillip 104.
2 McComb, H S, 1937. "Surveyor Heddie's field books of Melbourne", Victorian Historical Magazine, 16, 77-101.
3 Aldous, G, 1980. The stop-over that stayed. A history of Essendon. City of Essendon; Melbourne.
4 Blake, L, 1977. Place names of Victoria. Rigby; Melbourne.
5 Westgarth, W, 1857. Victoria and the Australian Gold Mines in 1857; with notes on the Overland Route from Australia, via Suez. Smith, Elder and Co; London.
6 Whitworth, R P, 1865. Balliere's Victorian Gazetteer 1865. Balliere Ltd; London.
7 Barlow, N (Ed), 1923. C. R. Darwin's Diary of the voyage of the H. M. S. "Beagle". Cambridge University Press; Cambridge.
8 Quayle, E T, 1923. "The increasing run-off from the Avoca River Basin (due apparently to deforestation)", Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 35, 143-152.
9 Eyles, R J, 1977. "Changes in drainage networks since 1820, Southern Tablelands, N. S. W.", Australian Geographer, 13, 377-386.
10 Eyles, R J, 1977. "Birchams Creek: The transition from a chain of ponds to a gully", Australian Geographical Studies, 15, 145-156.
11 Selby, I, 1924. The Old Pioneers' Memorial History of Melbourne 1835 to 1852. Ferguson and Mitchell; Melbourne.
12 Shillinglaw, J J, 1879. Historical Records of Port Phillip: The first annals of Colony of Victoria. Republished by Heinemann, Melbourne in 1972.
13 Bonwick, J, 1867. John Batman the founder of Victoria. Samuel Mullen; Melbourne. Republished by the Wren Publishing Co, Melbourne in 1973.
14 Mccrae, G G, 1912. "Some recollections of Melbourne in the "forties" " Victorian Historical Magazine, 2, 114-136. '
15 Hoare, B, 1927. Jubilee History of the Melbourne Harbor Trust. Peacock Bros Pty Ltd; Melbourne.
16 Stoney, H B, 1856. Victoria: with a description of its principal cities, Melbourne and Geelong: etc. Smith, Elder and Co; London.
17 Bride, T F, 1898. Letters from Victorian pioneers. Public Library of Victoria; Melbourne. Republished by Heinemann, Melbourne in 1969.
18 Wedge, J H, 1836. "On the country around Port Phillip, South Australia". Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 6, 419-424.
19 Peel, L J, 1974. Rural industry in the Port Phillip region 1835-1880. Melbourne University Press; Melbourne.
20 Government of Victoria, 1977. "Victoria at the time of settlement", In, Victorian Year Book 1976. Government Printer; Melbourne.
21 Forster, G, Hallam, M and Moore, RM, 1976. Vegetation in an urban environment: a study of the western surrounds of Melbourne for the Department of Urban and Regional Development. CSIRO Division of Land Use Research, Tech Memo No 76/14; Canberra.
22 Sutton, C S, 1916. ''A sketch of the Keilor Plains flora", Victorian Naturalist, 33, 112-123 and 128-143.
23 Patton, R T, 1935. "Ecological studies in Victoria. Part IV - Basalt Plains Association", Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 48, 172-191.
24 Willis, J H, 1964. "Vegetation of the Basalt Plains in western Victoria", Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 77, 397-418.
25 Mattingley, A, 1916. "The early history of North Melbourne. Part 1 ", Victorian Historical Magazine, 18, 80-91.
26 Batey, I, 1907. "On Fifteen Thousand Acres: its bird-life sixty years ago", The Emu, 7, 1-17.
27 Howitt, W, 1855. Land, labour and gold. Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans; London. Reprinted by Sydney University Press in 1972.
28 Bunce, D, 1859. Australasiatic reminiscences. Steam Press; Melbourne.
The early drainage projects undertaken in the lower part of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin must be viewed as an integral part of the broader changes which took place in the Lower Yarra basin during the latter half of the nineteenth century. The modifications made to the course of Moonee Ponds Creek and to the southern part of the Moonee Ponds basin during this period were closely associated with the expansion of railway and port facilities in the area to the west and south-west of the city, and with related developments, the most notable of which was the drainage and reclamation of the West Melbourne Swamp. An essential task in the early stages of reclamation was the provision of outlet channels to convey the waters of Moonee Ponds Creek directly to the Saltwater and Yarra Rivers. The reclamation of the West Melbourne Swamp was formally commenced in 1877, but was not really completed until the early 1970s. Prior to 1877, some modification of the Swamp occurred during the course of railway construction.
The essentially natural state of the West Melbourne Swamp did not persist for long into the second half of the nineteenth century. By the 1860s large parts of the Swamp had been transformed into an unsightly and unhealthy mire. Night-soil and refuse were deposited in the Swamp, and hundreds of the city's milking cows were pastured there, or rather "wallowed up to their bellies in ... mud, sewerage and dumped garbage" (Ref 1). The first significant modifications to the Swamp were made by the Victorian Railways Department. During the early 1850s there was a scramble to float railway companies in Victoria (Ref 2). Eight companies were launched, but only three, the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Company, the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company, and the Melbourne, Mount Alexander and Murray River Railway Company, gained government approval to construct lines (Ref 3). The economic climate of the time did not favour such enterprises, and it became apparent that any company planning to construct country lines would almost certainly fail.
A Commission recommended that the government should be responsible for the construction and operation of such lines, and in March 1856 the Government purchased the Melbourne, Mount Alexander and Murray River Railway Company and formed the Victorian Railways Department. The newly formed Department pressed ahead with the construction of a line between Melbourne and Williamstown that had been started by the Melbourne, Mount Alexander and Murray Valley Railway Company. The Melbourne terminus was located at the southern end of Spencer Street, on the edge of the Swamp, and from there the line extended north-westwards along the edge of the Swamp, crossed the northern tip of the Lagoon, and then proceeded westwards across the northern part of the Swamp to the Saltwater River. Considerable difficulties were experienced in constructing the line across the Swamp, particularly between Dudley Street and the western side of the Lagoon, and a total of some 164 000 cubic yards of spoil excavated from the Swamp were used in the construction of embankments. The line was officially opened in 1859.
The eastern margin of the Swamp was further modified with the construction of the Melbourne - Coburg line which was completed in 1884. The line was built across the north-eastern corner of the swamp necessitating the construction of an embankment between Arden Street and Flemington Road. The embankment, and the drainage channel that was built along its western side, formed a well-defined boundary to the Swamp, and the low-lying land to the east of the line was gradually developed for industrial and residential purposes.
The growth of Melbourne and its hinterland was accompanied by an increasing volume of trade which could not be readily handled by Melbourne's limited port facilities. With the increase in the average size of ships using the port, the narrow and relatively shallow course of the Yarra between Hobson’s Bay and Queen's ('Falls') Bridge had become difficult to navigate, and wharfage and dock facilities were generally inadequate. In 1858 the Victorian Parliament appointed a Select Committee "to inquire Into the best means of promoting improved Harbour Accommodation for the Port of Melbourne, and to consider the desirability of instituting a River and Harbour Trust, and the best mode of connecting Hobson's Bay with the City of Melbourne" (Ref 4).
The Committee recommended that a Board or corporate body would need to be appointed to supervise any large scale improvement works, and proposed that a Commission should be appointed to pursue the matter further. The Committee's advice was taken and a Royal Commission, with a brief similar to that given to the Select Committee, was appointed the following year (Ref 5). The Commission recommended, among other things, that a Harbour Trust should be formed, but no immediate action was taken.
Related to the question of the provision of more adequate port facilities was the problem of frequent flooding of the port area and the low-lying lands along the Lower Yarra and between the Yarra and Hobson's Bay. These areas would have been inundated by the severe floods of December 1839, July 1842, October 1842, October 1844, October 1848, and November 1849, and the lowest parts would have been inundated by less severe events and also by high tides. A particularly severe flood in December 1863 almost completely inundated the low-lying areas of South Melbourne and the West Melbourne Swamp causing considerable damage and disruption (Plate 3-1 ). A Flood Board was immediately established to look into the problem of flooding along the Yarra. The Board made a number of recommendations concerning river improvements and the development of the port area, but again no action was taken.
Quite severe floods occurred again in 1868 and 1870, and in August 1872 Parliament appointed a Royal Commission, the Low Lands Commission, "to enquire into and report upon certain matters connected with the low lands on the south and west of the city" (Ref 6).
The Commission's brief was:
• To indicate, after consulting existing engineering plans, sections and reports, and after considering evidence of engineers, merchants, shipowners, marine surveyors, and nautical men, what lands ought, in the opinion of the Commission, to be now definitely withheld from sale or occupation for the purpose of constructing on such lands a ship-canal, docks, wharves, or other works for the improvement of the Port of Melbourne, also works for rapidly carrying off flood-water from the Yarra.
• To suggest some definite scheme, based on reliable engineering data, for the reclamation of the swamps and other low-lying badly-drained land west and south of the City of Melbourne, and for the improvement of the approaches to Melbourne, by the removal of the present repulsive aspect of such land.
• To devise measures for fixing the sand drifts in the Sandridge Bend, and along the beach south of Emerald Hill, and for creating a sward of grass on the land covered by such sand drifts.
• To define boundaries of a portion of land to be occupied for the purpose of carrying on noxious trades, subject to the stringent provisions suggested by the late Commission on noxious trades.
The Low Lands Commission took evidence from a large number of witnesses, several of whom put forward plans for the drainage and reclamation of the West Melbourne Swamp. Nearly all of the plans stressed the need to convey the waters of Moonee Ponds Creek directly to the Yarra River. One witness, Clement Hodgkinson, the Deputy Surveyor-General of Victoria, suggested that a channel should be cut for this purpose and that soil excavated from the channel, and from an accompanying dock, could be used to reclaim the Lagoon and adjacent low-lying land thus "rendering salubrious and pleasant a disgusting swamp, as repulsive in its present aspect as it is pestilential in its influence".
Hodgkinson envisaged that the reclaimed land in the vicinity of West Melbourne could be used for residential purposes, that stores and factories could be established on land reclaimed along the Yarra, and elsewhere garden crops and animal fodder such as grass, lucerne and sugar beet could be grown. He also proposed that an extensive area should be reserved for a public park commenting that "it would be the finest piece of grass land in any park in Melbourne ... ".
In their Progress Report (Ref 6), the Commission stated that :
After careful enquiries relative to the levels of such swamp and cost of raising portions of it to such height as to be above level of flood, we have arrived at the conclusion that it would be inexpedient to incur the enormous expenditure to render any portion of the low-lying ground west of the railway eligible for the extension of the city for purposes of residence. We therefore recommend that the West Melbourne Swamp be enclosed and drained, as to be made suitable for purposes of recreation as a park or for cultivation or grazing, but not in any case for residences or as sites for manufacturers.
The plan for the reclamation of the Swamp, which the Commission described as "a nuisance, injurious to health, and a disgrace to the city", is shown in Figure 3-1. The Commission proposed that an embankment should be built around the Swamp and that it should be drained by a series of ditches with the land between the ditches gradually being filled.
The concept of constructing an embankment around the Swamp was not, in fact, a new one, having been proposed some fifteen years earlier by A K Smith, who suggested that water could be removed from the drains by wind-driven pumps supplemented by a steam pump (Fig 3-2; Ref 7). The Commission acknowledged that if the reclamation and drainage of the low-lying lands was to be a practical proposition it would be necessary to reduce the frequency and severity of flooding along the Lower Yarra. Three river improvement schemes were considered. One scheme involved widening the Yarra from Princes Bridge to the Gasworks and then cutting a new channel south-westwards to Hobson's Bay, the second involved the widening of the river from Princes Bridge to Fishermans Bend and then cutting a new channel across the bend to rejoin the river below the junction with the Saltwater River, while the third proposed that a new channel should be cut from the Gasworks to a point near the mouth of the Yarra.
The third alternative was favoured by a majority of the Commissioners. The Commission also recommended that land should be reserved along the north bank of the Yarra between the Gasworks and Princes Bridge for two new docks (Refs 6 and 8). It was envisaged that the material excavated during the construction of the new channel and the docks, and in widening the Yarra, could be used in the reclamation of the West Melbourne Swamp and other low-lying areas.
In the period after 1877, a number of projects were undertaken to modify or improve the channel of Moonee Ponds Creek and to alleviate the problem of flooding. Some changes to the drainage pattern in the lower parts of the basin were obviously required if the recommendations for port development and reclamation made by the lowlands Commission were to be put into effect. Other changes to the channel of the creek were necessitated by the construction of railway facilities.
In 1877 the Public Works Department commenced work on the reclamation of the West Melbourne Swamp. As recommended by the Low Lands Commission, a perimeter embankment was built and a number of drainage ditches were dug. In order to prevent the waters of Moonee Ponds Creek from inundating the reclaimed areas, a channel was excavated between Arden Street and the present Dynon Road Bridge, and from the latter point two cuts were made, one westwards to the Saltwater River, and the other eastwards and then curving south-westwards to join the Yarra (Fig 3-3). The reed-choked Tidal Canal (Plate 3-2) which runs along the southern side of the present Dynon Road is a remnant of the western cut.
During the construction of the Coburg line the Railways Department straightened the channel of Moonee Ponds Creek between Flemington Road Bridge and the cut below Arden Street, using the material excavated to build the railway embankment. It is interesting to note that a contemporary map (Fig 3-4) shows a well-defined sinuous watercourse between Flemington Road and Arden Street, whereas on Hoddle's map of 1837 it is clearly indicated that the watercourse petered out in the vicinity of Flemington Road. The extension of the channel can probably be attributed to increased runoff resulting from agricultural and residential development within the basin. It is also possible that there may have been some excavation, although no evidence for this has been found.
Following the completion of the Coburg line in 1884, the Public Works Department reconstructed the channel between Flemington Road and the cut below Arden Street. A wide channel was excavated (Fig 3-5) and an embankment was raised on its western side and on the eastern side between Arden Street and the cut; between Arden Street and Flemington Road the existing railway embankment was utilised. A central low-flow channel lined with bluestone pitchers was constructed along the length of the embanked section. The form of the pitched channel and the embanked sections can be seen in Plate 3-3 and in Figure 3-6. Although the photographs were taken some fifty years after construction, the general appearance of the area had probably changed very little. For most of its length the lined centre channel was 11 feet wide and the sides were lined with three rows of bluestone pitchers (Fig 3-6), although as Plate 3-3C indicates the sides of the channel between Flemington and Racecourse Roads only had a single row of pitchers in 1929. It is not known whether the original design was modified along this section, or whether two of the rows had been removed by this date. In the vicinity of the North Melbourne Railway Bridge the original plans provided for a wider stepped centre channel (Fig 3-6), but it has not been possible to establish whether this was in fact constructed.
Although the construction of the embanked channel alleviated flooding from Moonee Ponds Creek, it aggravated drainage problems in the low-lying areas behind the embankments. Local floodwaters were unable to drain away when Moonee Ponds Creek was in flood, and although flap gates were installed on the drains leading into the embanked channel (Fig 3-5) they persistently malfunctioned, causing the frequent back-flooding of a number of areas behind the embankments.
By way of compensation, the Railways Department excavated a 'new cut' to the Yarra running due south from the end of the Moonee Ponds channel. At the same time, the Department improved the unlined section of the channel below Arden Street. The new cut was not, however, connected to the old channel, but was stopped so that only floodwaters above a level of 6.80 feet could discharge into it. In 1889 the Railways Department began to excavate a dock, from which coal could be unloaded, along the line of the new cut. The dock which became known as the Coal Canal, was completed in January 1891 (Fig 3-3).
On the night of 12/13 July of that year a major flood along Moonee Ponds Creek breached the bank of the Coal Canal. The creek continued to flow into the Coal Canal after the flood had abated and the channel which had been cut to the Saltwater River in 1877 was abandoned and subsequently partially filled. The outlet of the creek through the Coal Canal has been maintained up to the present day, although filling has altered the original form of the Canal and dock works have considerably modified the form of the creek at the point where it joins the Yarra.
Fill for the reclamation of the West Melbourne Swamp was obtained from river and port improvement works. The improvement works were carried out by the Melbourne Harbour Trust which was formed by an Act of Parliament in 1876. One of the first actions of the Trust was to engage Sir John Coeds, an English engineer, to prepare a comprehensive plan for the development of Melbourne's port facilities. Sir John's report was submitted to the Trust in April 1879. He recommended that the course of the Lower Yarra should be maintained, except for the Fisherman's Bend loop (Humbug reach) which should be by-passed by a new cut (Fig 3-7). and that the river should be deepened to accommodate vessels with a 25-foot draft (Ref 9). Sir John also recommended that the south-eastern part of the West Melbourne Swamp should be developed as a dock complex. His plan was accepted, although subsequently slightly modified, and work commenced on the excavation of the new cut in 1884. The cut, which became known as the Coode Canal. was officially opened in 1887. It was estimated that some 700,000 cubic yards of earth were removed, most of which was used for the reclamation of the West Melbourne Swamp.
The excavation of the Victoria Dock (Fig 3-7) also provided a considerable volume of fill for the reclamation of the Swamp. Work on the Dock commenced in April 1889 and was completed in January 1891 (Ref 9). Some of the fill was used in the construction of a new road across the Swamp from Dudley Street to Footscray, and to raise the height of the harbour Trust's land located between this road and the old course of the Yarra (Refs 9 and 10).
Although the Low Lands Commission had recommended that the Swamp should not be developed for residential purposes, there was considerable pressure for the extension of the city westwards beyond Spencer Street Station. In 1887 the Government appointed a Royal Commission to report on the advisability of such a development, and on the best means of connecting the city with the proposed dock complex west of Spencer Street Station. The Royal Commission recommended that the city should not be extended westwards, but a minority of three Commissioners strongly disagreed and proposed that Spencer Street Station should be relocated further north to facilitate the westward extension of the city. In addition they proposed that some 550 acres of the Swamp should be developed for residential purposes (Fig 3-8). The Government upheld the recommendation of the Royal Commission, but only after a heated clash in Parliament between the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition, with the Leader of the Opposition arguing that the extension of the city was financially sound and in the best interests of the Colony and the Premier intimating that the vested interests of land syndicates were involved (Ref 11).
Sediment dredged from the Yarra and from Hobson's Bay by the Harbour Trust was used as fill. Progress during the early decades of the twentieth century was relatively slow. The construction of the New Footscray Road in the late 1920s further compartmentalised the Swamp, but by 1931 extensive areas still remained to be filled. Even as late as 1960 much of the area remained in an Undeveloped state, Although by this date the area to the north of the New Footscray Road had been filled, the Dynon Road and South Dynon Freight Terminals built, the area to the north of the old course of the Yarra had been developed, and the Appleton Dock constructed.
Between 1960 and 1966 the Northern part of the area was further developed with the construction of the international Freight Terminal, and an oil and bulk liquid storage terminal had been built along the Maribyrnong River.
By 1976 the transformation of the Swamp was virtually complete (Plates 3-5 D and 3-6 D). During the decade between 1966 and 1976, the Swanston Dock complex was completed, obliterating what remained of the old course of the Yarra, the extensive Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market was built to the north of the new Footscray Road, and the vacant land behind the Appleton Dock was developed into a container terminal and for warehouses. The only vestige of the Swamp that now remains is a small poorly-drained, undeveloped piece of land lying between the eastern end of the Appleton Dock and Moonee Ponds Creek, although even this area is covered by fill.
1 Cannon, M, 1975. Life in the cities, Australia in the Victorian Age . Nelson; Melbourne.
2 Serie, G, 1971. The rush to the rich. The history of the Colony of Victoria 1883- 1889. Melbourne University Press; Melbourne.
3 Harrigan, L J, 1962. Victorian Railways to 1962. Victorian Railways Department; Melbourne.
4 Report from the Select Committee upon River and Harbour Trust. Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly, 1858-9 Session, Vol 1, D No 23.
5 Report of the Royal Commission on Harbour Improvements and a River and harbour Trust. Papers presented to Parliament, 1860-61 Session, Vol Ill, No 5.
6 Low Lands Commission, Progress Report. Papers presented to Parliament, 1873 Session, Vol Ill, No 62.
7 Smith, A K, 1858. "On the reclamation and cultivation of Batman's Swamp", Transactions of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria, 3, 9-18.
8 Low Lands Commission • Final Report. Papers presented to Parliament, 1873 Session, Vol Ill, No 88.
9 Hoare, B, 1927. Jubilee History of the Melbourne Harbour Trust. Peacock Bros Pty Ltd; Melbourne.
10 Government of Victoria, 1950. Report from the Parliamentary Public Works Committee.
11 Parliamentary Debates. 1887 Session, Vol 56, 2658-2668.
12 Report of the Royal Commission on the Extension of Melbourne Westwards, 1887. Papers presented to Parliament, 1887 Session, Vol Ill.
The growth of Melbourne during the second half of the nineteenth century was accompanied by a deterioration in sanitary conditions: human wastes were discharged directly into open drains; cesspools, ill-kept privies and earth closets abounded; and night-soil was dumped in close proximity to residential areas (see, for example, Refs 1 to 4). A Royal Commission appointed to examine the sanitary conditions in Melbourne reported in 1889 that "Almost every watercourse or lagoon within the metropolitan area is ... used as a receptacle for sewage. Although the general mass of night-soil is kept out of the channels, the liquid sewage flowing in them is foul and dangerous to health" (Ref 3).
The Yarra was described as an "open sewer- inky black with foul gasses emanating from it", and the channels which conveyed sewage across the West Melbourne Swamp were described as being "foul beyond description" (Refs 1 and 3). In addition, some rivers and creeks were grossly polluted by wastes from slaughter Houses bone-mills, boiling-down works and fellmongeries. The general condition of the Canals and drains was such that it prompted one observer, writing in a Sydney periodical, The Bulletin, to refer to the city as 'Marvellous Smellbourne’ (Ref 5). It is not surprising that diphtheria and typhoid were rampant and that infant mortality was high.
Like most other creeks in the inner metropolitan area, the lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek were heavily polluted. In his report to Parliament On the Sanitary Condition and Sanitary Administration of Melbourne and Suburbs, Gresswell (Ref 6) noted that: The Moonee Ponds Creek is a shallow tidal creek with sandy bed, covered thickly (a foot or two deep) with sewage-sludge, and forming a main trunk outlet for sewage from Essendon, Flemington and Kensington, and Footscray on the one side, and from Brunswick and North Melbourne on the other.
Not surprisingly there were frequent complaints to the Railways Department, who owned the land through which the lower reaches of the creek flowed (for details see Figure 9-68), about the unwholesome nature of the watercourse. In March 1889, for example, a deputation from the Flemington, Kensington, and North Melbourne Councils complained about the disgraceful state of the creek, which, in their opinion, was endangering the health of the local residents, and requested the Railways Department to clean out the creek. The Railways Department refused, however, claiming that it was the responsibility of the municipalities in which the polluted water had originated. The Department took a similar stand some twenty-five years later when the Public Health Department complained about the insanitary nature of the creek. On this occasion it was suggested that the maintenance of the creek was the responsibility of the local authorities and also the Public Works Department which had constructed the channel.
The Public Works Department, for their part, maintained that the Railways Department should clean out the creek because ponding behind the Railway Gravitation Bridge's "forest of piles" was the main reason for the deposition of the foul-smelling wastes. The debate concerning responsibility for the maintenance of the creek remained unresolved, with the result that little, if any, action was taken. A report in The Age of 9 June 1921, gives a good indication of the state of the lower part of the creek in the early 1920s:
A FILTHY SUBURBAN SEWER
Complaints by Kensington People.
A serious epidemic of diphtheria raging in North Melbourne and Kensington District and residents are attributing the cause to the filthy state of the Moonee Ponds Creek, which runs through the suburbs. For many a year, this stream has been a source of complaint, not only from people living in the vicinity, but from residents of the suburbs further out, who have to pass over it in the railway trains when travelling to and from the city. The creek is channelled from Flemington to within about two chains of the railway line at North Melbourne, but thence upward, where it runs - or creeps - through railway property, it is a mere gutter of filth. The only time it is ever cleaned is when flood waters come down and scour the deposits away, but that scouring comes too rarely and too irregularly. At times the foul odour from this stagnant stream is carried over the thickly populated part of Kensington, which begins quite close to the creek.
Conditions gradually improved during the 1920s and 1930s as the urban areas within the basin were connected to the Metropolitan sewerage system. The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, which was constituted by Act of Parliament in 1890, undertook a program of sewer construction in the inner suburbs during the 1890s and by 1900 parts of North Melbourne, Flemington, and Kensington had been sewered (Fig 4-1; Ref 7). It was not until the 1920s, however, that the sewerage network had been extended to most of the urban areas within the basin (Ref 8). Even by this time many properties had almost certainly not bean connected, and effluents from industrial premises were undoubtedly still discharged into the creek. Nevertheless, by the 1930s, the creek was no longer the open sewer that it had been in earlier years.
Severe floods are reported to have occurred along Moonee Ponds Creek in October 1842 and November 1849. A heavy storm on 26 October 1842 caused widespread flooding in the Melbourne area, and Garryowen (Ref 9) records that "The crops around Melbourne suffered severely, and were in some places utterly destroyed, especially at Moonee Ponds, the Merri and Darebin Creeks ... ".
On 29 November 1849, The Argus reported that:
Great quantities of farm produce, agricultural implements, casks, hides, etc continued to come down from the Moonee chain of ponds, and were secured at the bridge [Main's or Flemington Road Bridge]. Along the whole line of waters from this point to the base of Batman's Hill, the wreck of property, and the bodies of animals were strewed in melancholy profusion. Fat cattle, cows, calves, goats and pigs in scores were lying in all directions, and showed the suddeness of the invasion of the waste of water. So impetuous was the flood in the valley of Moonee Ponds, that large logs were deposited upon the causeway of Main's Bridge at a height above the ordinary level of the creek which would appear incredible from the width of its embanchure.
Prior to the construction of the embankment around the Swamp and the excavation of the Moonee Ponds channel, the low-lying areas to the south of Flemington Road were also quite frequently inundated by high tides and by back flooding from the Yarra.
Despite the extremely low-lying nature of the land below Flemington Road and its known susceptibility to flooding, part of the area was subdivided into two-acre blocks in 1849 and 1851 (Fig 4-2). These blocks were subsequently further subdivided and developed for residential and industrial purposes. A number of the premises were undoubtedly flooded on December 19 1863, and the area was flooded again on 7 September 1870, when the waters came up Harris-Street as far as Curzon-Street and
Numbers of large logs of timber, which had been unloaded from vessels and stacked in the neighbourhood of the Melbourne Gas Works, were washed across the swamp and left strewn along the south-side of Shiel-Street, and a fine yacht was stranded on the Macaulay-Road opposite the same street”. (Ref 10).
The excavation in 1877 of the cuts to convey the waters of Moonee Ponds Creek to the Yarra and Saltwater rivers, and the subsequent embanking of Moonee Ponds Crook from Flemington Road to below Arden Street, reduced the frequency and severity of flooding in the area, but also undoubtedly created a false sense of security. The local councils allowed subdivision to continue in the area between Racecourse and Macaulay Roads, and by the 1890s much of the area had been developed (Fig 4-2).
Flooding continued to be a problem, however, because local stormwater was unable to enter the embanked channel during periods of high flow in the creek. Extensive flooding occurred on 12 July 1891, The Argus of the following day reporting that :
Below Flemington Bridge ... at least 50 houses have been completely surrounded by the flood-waters and a great deal of suffering and damage will probably be the result. Most of the people living there are working men, with families, the buildings being mostly small weatherboard cottages. The damage here is only indirectly a result of the flood in the creek, which from the bridge follows a straight canal bounded by the Coburg railway on one side and a retaining bank on the other. The flood-waters from further up the valley have so far been confined between these natural embankments, and the damage is purely a result of the local flood-waters. Flood-gates have been fixed at intervals on the canal bank to admit these local flood-waters, but as the canal is banked up by the flood in the Yarra and is further susceptible to tide influences these flood-gates have been quite useless, and the banks have served as a dam to retain them.
The Argus also reported that the water level behind the embankments had continued to rise after flood flows in the canal had begun to subside. On a number of occasions flooding behind the embankments was aggravated by the malfunctioning or failure of the floodgates. On 19 June 1911, for example, a number of premises were 'flooded between Racecourse and Macaulay Roads, including the Kensington Preserving Company's works which had been built over the old course of the creek. According to the Railways Department', the water ponded behind the levee banks was deeper on this occasion than during either the July 1891 or May 1900 floods because " the floodgates, where not missing altogether, were in such a state of disrepair as to allow practically free outlet for the floodwaters on to the low areas between Racecourse and Macaulay Roads, and Macaulay Road and Chelmsford Street". A number of complaints were made to the Railways Department, but although the Railway authorities acknowledged that the channel of Moonee Ponds Creek and the levee banks were located on land owned by the Department, they disclaimed any responsibility for protecting the low-lying areas beyond the banks from inundation. They suggested that the maintenance of the floodgates was the responsibility of the Public Works Department.
In an attempt to alleviate the problem the Melbourne City Council prohibited in 1918, under Section 274 of the Health Act 1915, the erection of any house or building on land adjoining the canal between Flemington Road and Arden Street (Ref 11; Fig 4-3). It is doubtful, however, whether this regulation was rigidly enforced because by 1931 most of the area was occupied by residential and industrial premises (Fig 4-2).
Flood flows in Moonee Ponds Creek were contained within the levee banks until the flood of August 1924 when the western bank was breached just upstream of the Racecourse Road Bridge (Plate 4-1). Floodwaters poured into Debneys Paddock (now filled and occupied by Housing Commission flats) and caused considerable damage to property in the area. The breach occurred at a point where a box containing high tension electricity cables had been buried the previous year by the Electricity Commission. Water had seeped along the line of the cable box, weakening the levee bank, and the bank collapsed during the flood peak.
Far greater damage was caused on Christmas night 1933 when the levee banks were overtopped. Extremely heavy rain from a thunderstorm began to fall about a quarter to five on Christmas afternoon and most parts of the basin received between 150 and 250 points of rain during the following hour (Fig 4-4; Table 4-1). The return interval of the storm in the Broadmeadows and Kensington areas was estimated to have been in the order of 1 in 200 and 1 in 300 years respectively. The axis of the storm was centred over the Moonee Ponds Creek basin (Fig 4-4) and flood flows were experienced along the length of the creek. Between 9 and 10pm floodwaters overtopped the levees in a number of places (Table 4-2) and inundated the surrounding low-lying areas (Fig 4-5). Floodwaters which overtopped the banks of the creek above the Flemington Road Bridge flowed across Mt Alexander Road along the old course of the creek and flooded Debneys Paddock. Peak discharge in Moonee Ponds Creek below Flemington Road was estimated to be in the order of 7,000 to 8,000 cusecs.
At the height of the flood some 190 houses and 45 factories in the lower part of the basin were inundated (Plate 4-2) and several hundred people had to be evacuated. Apparently many of the occupants paid little attention to the localised flooding that accompanied the torrential rain because flooding of this nature recurred frequently, but were startled when without warning, a great volume of muddy water burst into their homes and rose four feet in 15 minutes.
A panic alarm was raised that the earthen bank had given way in three places – at the foot of Hardiman Street, off Chelmsford Street, and near Racecourse Road. The canal was running a banker at high speed, and had spread over the flats on the east side. But the bank had not burst, the flood waters having actually poured over the top of the levee. Women rushed from their houses with their children and struggled waist deep in swirling water. Husbands hastened to get their wives and children to higher ground.
Many people leaped from beds into three feet of water. Others were terrified to find water suddenly sweeping over the bed clothes. The roar of the flood in the canal added to the panic. On the other side of the bank the avalanche of water cascaded directly into two terraces of wooden houses in Bent Street and Stubbs Street.
Within 20 minutes it rose so high the occupants who had not been able to escape were forced first to take refuge on the window sills and later to climb on to the roofs of their verandahs. In Hardiman and Chelmsford Streets, which lay down towards the canal, the position was soon equally serious. Rescue parties were quickly at work, and men floundered through the water carrying women und children to safety. Neighbours helped neighbours, and women pluckily joined in the efforts of parents to save children who had been caught in the flooded homes. (The Herald, 26 December 1933)
Damage in the area was estimated to be in the order of £ 30000. Further upstream, the floodwaters undoubtedly eroded the vertically-sided banks along some reaches, and at Hope Street, Brunswick, a footbridge was washed away (Plate 4-2 C).
Between 29 of November and 1 December 1934, heavy rain fell over the eastern and northern part of the Melbourne region giving rise to severe flooding along the Yarra River and Merri and Gardiners Creeks. Moonee Ponds Creek, however, was not severely affected. Although the amounts of rain received over much of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin were twice as high as those received during the Christmas 1933 storm (Fig 4-4), rainfall intensities were far lower. Peak discharge along the creek was estimated to have been no more than 2,500 cusecs, and flood flows were contained within the levee banks. However, moderate to severe flooding was experienced in the low-lying areas below Flemington Road (Plate 4-3) because the flood peak on Moonee Ponds Creek coincided with an exceptionally high tide of 6.70 feet. The high tide ponded water in the embanked channel, preventing local stormwater runoff from draining away. The resulting flood in the low-lying areas beyond the levee banks was only six inches lower than that of the Christmas 1933 flood (Plate 4-3). An MMBW report suggested that had such a tide coincided with the 1933 flood (when the tide level was only 2.09 foot) the water ponded behind the levee banks would have been in the region of eight to nine feet deep rather than only three to four feet deep.
Throughout the period from the 1880s to the early 1930s, the problem of flooding along the lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek was aggravated by a number of factors. Siltation and vegetation growth, which reduced the Hydraulic capacity of the channel (Plate 4-4) and blocked drain outlets, were constant problems. Considerable quantities of silt and debris were trapped by the piles of the bridges that crossed the channel, causing floodwaters to head-up at these points. This problem was most acute at the Railway Department's Gravitation Bridge (Fig 4-6; Plate 4-5), where the "forest of piles and whalings" caused a 12-inch head-up of floodwaters. As the question of responsibility for the maintenance and cleaning out of the creek was never satisfactorily resolved, little action was taken to clear accumulated sediment and debris.
The passage of floodwaters was also impeded by the gradual in-filling of the Coal Canal and by modifications to the channel outlet. In 1924 work commenced on the excavation of the Appleton Dock and the construction of a wharf between the Victoria Dock and the entrance of the Appleton Dock. The construction of the new wharf blocked the outlet of the Moonee Ponds channel, and a new outlet into the Appleton Dock was cut (Plate 4-6, A, B &.C), with some of the excavated material being used to reclaim part of the Coal Canal. The new outlet was extremely narrow and far from ideal (Plate 4-6 C). It was estimated that during the Christmas 1933 flood, when the outlet was partially blocked by two dredges and two temporary bridges (Plate 4-7), the flow through the cut was in the order of eight to nine knots per hour; conditions in the cut at this time were described as being "more choppy than the Rip". In order to alleviate the situation, the Harbour Trust excavated a much wider and straighter outlet in 1935 (Plate 4-6 A & D).
During the latter decades of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century, the division of responsibility for the lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek militated against the effective maintenance of the creek and the adoption and implementation of flood alleviation measures. The channel and levee banks between the Flemington and Dynon Road Bridges, and the northern part of the Coal Canal and adjoining land, were owned by the Railways Department, while the remainder of the Coal Canal and the outlet of the Creek was vested in the Harbour Trust (Fig 4-7). The Harbour Trust accepted responsibility for the maintenance of the sections vested in it, but the Railways Department consistently disclaimed responsibility for the embanked channel between Flemington Road and Dynon Road, contending that maintenance along this section should be undertaken by the Public Works Department and the local councils.
The situation was further complicated in October 1923 when the Metropolitan Drainage and Rivers Act (No 3284) was passed. The Act, which became operative on 1 January 1924, entrusted the Board with “making further and better provisions with respect to Main Drains, Main Drainage Works, and Rivers, Creeks, and Watercourses within the Metropolis". Under the provisions of Section 11 (3) of the Act, Moonee Ponds Creek upstream of the south-western side of the Railway Gravitation Bridge was vested in the Board with the proviso:
that before defining the extent of the banks of that portion of the Moonee Ponds Creek between the south-west side of the bridge in existence at the commencement of this Act over the said creek and carrying the railway tracks of the North Melbourne gravitation sidings and Flemington-Road a joint report on the definition of such banks shall be obtained from the Surveyor-General, an officer in the Railways service, and an officer in the service of the Board.
The Act also stated that should the Railways Department or harbour Trust Commissioners construct any drain from any point on Moonee Ponds Creek south-west of the Gravitation Bridge to either the Yarra or Maribyrnong Rivers, such a drain could be declared to be a Main Drain by the Governor-in-Council and would thus vest in the Board of Works.
In 1925 the Board of Works commenced an investigation into the flood problem along the lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek (Ref 12). A number of cross-sections were surveyed, and between 1926 and 1928 sections of the creek were cleaned out (Refs 13 and 14). In 1930 seven alternative flood alleviation schemes were drawn up for consideration (Table 4-3). The Board's Engineer of Water Supply favoured either Schema 3 or 4. both of which proposed that the outlet into the Yarra and the channel between the outlet and the Gravitation Bridge should be improved, that the berms of the existing lined channel between the Gravitation Bridge and Flemington Road should be trimmed, and that the channel should be excavated between Flemington Road and Brunswick Rd. The Engineer also supported the possible combination of one of these scheme with Scheme 5, which proposed that pumps should be installed to remove any water ponded behind the levee banks. Scheme 1, the construction of a retarding basin upstream, was dismissed as being unsound because of the elongate shape of the basin, while Scheme 2, the construction of a channel to the Maribyrnong River, and Scheme 7, the construction of a by-pass channel for waters from the upper part of the basin, were dismissed as being too expensive. Scheme 6, the construction of a tidal channel, was also considered to be too expensive, particularly as it would have required considerable alterations to some of the bridges, especially the Railway Gravitation Bridge.
The schemes proposed in 1930 were not designed to alleviate flooding altogether , but to accommodate flows of up to 3,000 cusecs. It was estimated that a 3,000 cusec flood would have a 1 in 10 year recurrence interval by about 1940 if building development proceeded as anticipated. It was suggested that much of the low-lying land should be filled, and that the municipal authorities should establish suitable building levels and regulate floor levels for new factories. In a Board of Works memorandum discussing the Proposals, it was noted that before any work could commence in the section between the Flemington Road Bridge and the Gravitation Bridge, a meeting with the Surveyor General and the Railways Department would be necessary in order to define the banks, and that a conference with the Railways Department and the Harbour Trust should be convened to discuss plans for the improvement of the channel downstream of the Gravitation Bridge.
No action was taken until after the Christmas Day flood of 1933. As a direct result of the flood a Conference was held in August 1934 between representatives of the Melbourne City Council, the Board of Works, the Harbour Trust, the Railways Department and the Surveyor-General:
to inquire into and furnish an expert opinion on the best measures to improve the flood conditions in the Moonee Ponds Creek and adjacent land between Flemington Road and the confluence of the creek with the River Yarra.
The Conference concluded that to reduce floods effectively in the section of the creek under consideration it was essential that :
1 Adequate waterway be provided in all sections of the creek to take the anticipated rate of flood discharge that may be expected from the catchment, at such a grade as is available during an exceptionally high tide which may occur during the flood.
2 The flood waters in the creek be prevented from backing up along the local drains and from overtopping the levee banks, and so escaping on to the low-lying ground which is below creek flood level.
3 The local rain water, which collects outside the creek and is unable to flow into it by gravity owing to the flood water being above ground level, be removed. This may be effected by the provision of large low lift pumps to elevate the local waters and discharge them into the creek, or, alternatively, the land below flood level may be reclaimed, the buildings removed or raised, and then the whole of the low-lying area filled to above the creek flood level.
This could be done either by -
(a) purchasing or taking the land, reclaiming and then selling it for building purposes: the increased value of the land would help to defray the cost of the work), or
(b) prescribing certain areas as betterment areas. reclaiming them. and imposing a betterment rate in consideration of their permanently increased value.
In order to achieve these objectives the Conference made the following recommendations (Ref 15) :
1 That the Melbourne Harbour Trust Commissioners improve the outlet of the creek by enlarging the section between Dudley Street and the Yarra River.
2 That the Victorian Railways Commissioners prevent the tipping of spoil and rubbish in the neighbourhood of the disused coal canal which would cause restriction of the waterway.
3 That the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works call the Conference referred to in Section 247 (3) of the M.M.B.W. Act to report on the definition of the banks of the creek between the Railway Gravitation Bridge and Flemington Road, and the Governor in Council define the banks as reported by the Conference.
4 That the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works define the maximum rate of discharge and surface gradient of flood waters in the section between the Flemington Road Bridge and the River Yarra and that the Melbourne Harbour Trust Commissioners, the Victorian Railways and the Melbourne City Council accept this definition and abide by it in any future work affecting the creek whether temporary or permanent which may be carried out by them.
5 That the provision of adequate waterway and the maintenance of the bed and banks of the creek between the Gravitation Bridge and Dudley Street is the responsibility of the public authority in whom the creek is to be vested. Legislation is required to determine responsibility.
6 That, subject to 1 and 2, the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works after the definition of the banks improve the section under their control by enlarging the waterway where considered necessary, and regular clearing of silt and weeds and the maintenance of the bed and banks as defined by the Governor in Council.
7 That improvements to local drainage in the area outside the banks is the responsibility of the Melbourne City Council and that they should give consideration to either the provision of a drainage pumping or reclamation scheme.
At a second Conference held in early December 1934, the Melbourne City Council stated that they were prepared to take responsibility for the drainage of the areas beyond the levee banks between Arden Street and Flemington Road, while the Melbourne Harbour Trust agreed to widen the outlet to the Yarra, and the Railways Department agreed to stop dumping fill into the Coal Canal. At a meeting held in January 1935, the Board of Works was required to state the discharge for which works were to be designed and to determine the flow line for that discharge below the Flemington Road Bridge. In response to this request, the Board prepared designs for channels to accommodate discharges of 4,000 and 9,000 cusecs, the latter discharge being considered to have a recurrence interval of between 1 in 50 and 1 in 100 years. A 9,000 cusec scheme was recommended by the Board because it considered that this would be necessary if there was to be significant reduction in the flood problem. Nevertheless, it was appreciated that the expense involved would not be entirely justified on purely economic grounds.
The designs prepared by the Board included three alternative plans for channels with a capacity of 9,000 cusecs. One of these, which involved widening the channel and alterations to all bridges but no deepening of the channel was considered to be unsound. The second plan involved widening and deepening of the channel and modifications to a number of the bridges, while the third involved widening and deepening, but bridge alteration at Dynon Road only. Of these, the latter was preferred because it was less costly.
The 9,000 cusec plan recommended by the Board was presented to a third conference between the parties concerned in July 1935. The scheme was approved, but both the Harbour Trust and the Melbourne City Council felt that the estimated cost of £89,000 was out of proportion to the benefits that could be expected to accrue, and the Melbourne City Council presented an alternative scheme for a 6,500 cusec channel between Flemington Road and the Gravitation Bridge costing approximately £20,000. At a fourth conference held in late July 1935 the representatives rescinded their decision made earlier in the month and approved the Melbourne City Council's proposal for a 6,500 cusec channel. The Council suggested that the existing channel should be cleared of silt which would be used to raise the levee banks by some three feet. The Board of Works was opposed to this plan, pointing out that if the levee banks were overtopped, as they inevitably would be, the problem of flooding would be aggravated rather than alleviated. In response to the criticism that its earlier plans were too expensive, the Board proposed a new scheme for a 5,000 cusec channel, similar in principle to the 9,000 cusec plan, but only costing £20,000.
The Board's proposed 5,000 cusec scheme was adopted at a conference held in September 1935. The Board obtained a loan for the works from the State Government in February 1936 and the Board's Water Supply Committee gave approval for the work to commence in March 1936. The work was completed by September 1937 when tree planting on the batters was in progress.
The State Government was prepared to advance £2,000 for improvements to Moonee Ponds Creek downstream of Dynon Road, but this offer was not taken up because agreement could not be reached concerning responsibility for this section of the creek. The question of the definition of the bed and banks in the section between the Gravitation Bridge and Flemington Road had also not been resolved, a situation that persists to the present day.
The 5,000 cusec scheme which was adopted and implemented along the lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek did not require any significant changes to be made to the existing channel between the Flemington and Macaulay Road Bridges (Fig 4-8). The pitched centre channel was retained although some minor modifications were made and the berms were reshaped.
Downstream of Macaulay Road, however, a 95-foot to 105-foot wide tidal channel was excavated (Plate 4-8). Stones from the pitched centre channel were used for the beaching along the sides of the tidal channel. The 5,000 cusec design was based on a tide of RL 5.0 feet in the Yarra and for a freeboard of two feet between the top water level of a 5,000 cusec flow and the top of the levee bank. In 1938, as an integral part of the 5,000 cusec channel project, the Melbourne City Council installed five pumping stations to remove storm runoff from the low-lying areas behind the levee banks. The location and layout of the five stations is shown in Figure 4- 9, and the areas drained by each station and the times required for the pumps to clear a 10-year flood are given in Table 4-4. The penstocks were manually closed when the creek began to rise, while the rising water in the street drains behind the penstocks automatically activated the pumps by means of float switches. Two other projects associated with the 5,000 cusec channel were the excavation of a new outlet to the Yarra (Plate 4-6), and the modification of the Railway Gravitation Bridge. In order to reduce the heading-up of floodwaters and the trapping of debris at the bridge the Railways Department removed some of the whalings of the bridge and relocated a number of the braces at a higher elevation above the channel.
During the 1930s bank erosion became quite a serious problem at a number of points along the middle reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek, the result of natural stream processes accelerated by sand mining activities (Plate 4-9) along the creek and by the greater volumes and rates of runoff from the developing residential areas. The majority of the sand mining operations were illegal, although the Board of Works did give permission to the Essendon City Council to remove sand in the early 1930s. Permission was subsequently withdrawn in 1935. The removal of the sand was accompanied by accelerated bank erosion and by deposition further downstream. Along some reaches deposition raised the bed of the creek to such an extent that the banks were overtopped by relatively minor flows. The major problem, however, was erosion. The excavation of sand from the banks, and the construction of access ramps and tracks down to the creek bed, made the banks extremely vulnerable to erosion during flood flows, While the excavation of depressions in the bed of the creek (Plate 4-9A) and the deposition of sand bars, deflected flows towards the banks, resulting in undercutting and slumping.
Although sand mining activities had pronounced effects locally, the expansion of the built-up area and the resultant increase in volumes and rates of runoff was probably a more important factor contributing to serious and extensive erosion observed along the middle reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek. One contemporary report noted that at a number of points between Primrose Street and the eastern end of Vanberg Road in Essendon the creek had shifted more than thirty feet in the previous fifty years. On a number of allotments adjoining the creek fences were undermined and washed away, strips of land were washed into the creek, and houses were threatened (Plates 4-10 and 4-11 ). At some sites wooden retaining walls were built in an attempt to arrest the erosion (Plate 4-12).
The erosion of privately owned land bordering the middle reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek proved to be a recurring problem. At the time of initial alienation subdivision had been permitted down to the water's edge (Fig 4-10), or more specifically, to the edge of the low-flow channel. When the land was further subdivided for residential purposes there was no attempt by the local councils to create drainage reserves. Thus, along many reaches of the creek, the steep and easily eroded banks were located well within allotment boundaries.
In the two decades prior to World War Two the floodplain of Moonee Ponds Creek between Flemington and Ormond Roads and in the vicinity of Moonee Valley Racecourse was modified by filling. Part of the Moonee Valley Racecourse was laid out on filled land adjacent to the creek, and an embankment was constructed along the outside of a bend between Dean and Wilson Streets cutting off a swamp that probably marked the course of a former channel (Fig 4-11 ). A retaining wall was built along the creek immediately north of Dean Street in 1930, but a plan to cut across the neck of the bend between Dean and Wilson Streets did not materialise; The filling of the floodplain between Ormond Road and Flemington Road by land developers reduced storage capacity and affected flood flows (Plate 4-13). The modification of the floodplain in this area was of concern to the Board because of the potential effect on flood flows entering the 5,000 cusec channel at the Flemington Road Bridge. However, the Board was unable to take legal action to prevent the filling except within a 25-foot wide strip along the creek banks. Under Section (b) of the Board's By- Law No 25, which was gazetted in December 1927, all persons or corporations were prohibited from depositing or discharging material into or within 25 feet of any river, creek or watercourse specified in the First Schedule of the Metropolitan Drainage and Rivers Act 1923.
As the urban area expanded within the lower and middle parts of the basin during the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century (Fig 1- 5), the local councils undertook improvement works along some of the tributary watercourses. The Melbourne City Council undergrounded the Arden Street drain from the Moonee Ponds Channel to just east of Bridge Street as early as 1887 (Fig 4-12) and duplicated this drain along the southern side of Arden Street in 1907.
Most of the early works, however, involved the construction of pitched channels to improve the sanitary state of the creeks and to reduce erosion. Increased runoff from the suburban areas had accelerated erosion along a number of watercourses. Leach (Ref 16), writing in 1907, refers to the badlands and canyons of Coburg (see also Ref 17), and describes vertically sided eroded sections up to 20-feet deep. The severity of erosion along some of the tributary watercourses is clearly illustrated in Plate 4-14. The photographs, which were taken during the 1930s, show that both vertical and lateral erosion was extremely active.
Along a number of creeks private properties were threatened, because, as in the case of Moonee Ponds Creek itself, subdivision had been permitted down to the water's edge. In improvement schemes along the smaller creeks the whole of the channel was often pitched (Fig 4-13), but along the larger watercourses only a pitched centre channel tended to be constructed (Fig 4-14). On Melville Creek, a stone weir was built at the end of the pitched channel below McLean Street Bridge to reduce velocities and retard erosion. At a bend on Melville Creek just downstream of Everett Street, erosion was so bad that a cut was made across the neck of a bend in 1935.
Under the Metropolitan Rivers and Drainage Act 1923, the Board assumed responsibility for creek maintenance along the tributaries of Moonee Ponds Creek, replacing the local councils. Between 1926 and 1940, the Board of Works carried out improvement works along some of the tributary watercourses; some sections were cleaned out, some were lined with pitchers (Plate 4-15), while underground drains were constructed along others. Underground drains were installed as a permanent solution to the erosion problem and for sanitary reasons. They were constructed along sections of the Royal Park, Melville, Hope Street, Albion Road, Coonans Road, and Five Mile Creek Main Drains (Fig 4-12). Detailed locality plans and details of the various drain designs are given in Appendix A. Of particular interest are the horseshoe drains that were constructed along parts of the Royal Park and Melville Drains (Plate 4-16). The shape of this type of drain was ideally suited to the morphology of the deeply incised Melville Creek. Of historical interest is the fact that parts of the Melville Drain were constructed by the pneumatic core process, whereby the formwork consisted of a long inflated rubber tube which supported the concrete until it set (Plate 4-17). This process, which was first used by one of the Board's contractors in 1928 on the Westley Street Drain in Hawthorn, was not a great success because the finished work tended to be irregular and misshapen, and its use was discontinued.
1. Royal Commission to Inquire into and Report upon the Sanitary Conditions of Melbourne. Progress Report. Papers presented to Parliament, 1889 Session, Vol II, No 27.
2. Royal Commission to Inquire into the Report upon the Sanitary Conditions of Melbourne. Second Progress Report. Water Supply of the Metropolitan Area.
3. Papers presented to Parliament, 1889 Session, Vol IV, No 103.
4. Davison, G, 1978. The rise and fall of marvellous Melbourne. Melbourne University Press;. Melbourne.
5. Gresswell, D A, 1890. Report on the Sanitary Condition and Sanitary Administration of Melbourne and Suburbs. Papers presented to Parliament, 1890 Session, Vol IV, No, 205 .
6. Thwaites, W, 1900. "Sewerage System", In, The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Sewerage Scheme. Periodicals Publishing Company; Melbourne, 24-42.
7.Gibbs, G A, 1925. Water supply and sewerage systems of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works. The Engineering Publishing Company; Melbourne.
8. Garryowen, 1888. The character of early Melbourne 1835 to 1852. Ferguson and Mitchell; Melbourne.
9. Mattingley, A, 1917. "The early history of North Melbourne", Victorian Historical Magazine, 5, 97 - 107.
10. Victoria Gazette, Vol 1, 30 January 1918, 487-488.
11. Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Report for the Year ended 30 June 1925.
12. Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Report for the Year ended 30 June 1927.
13. Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Report for the Year ended 30 June 1929.
14. Report of the Conference of Engineers on Flooding of the Moonee Ponds Creek. Dated 6 August 1934. Attached to MMBW File No D & R 35/155.
15. Leach, J A, 1907. "Surface tension as an aid in canyon formation", Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 19, 54 - 59.
16. Pretty, R B, 1927. "On the bad land deposits of Coburg, Victoria, and their mapping by elutriation methods", Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 39. 59 - 75.
In the post-war years bank erosion continued to be a major problem along the middle reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek between Broadmeadows and Ormond Road. It was undoubtedly exacerbated by the more frequent flood flows that accompanied the spread of urban development within the basin during the 1950s and 1960s (Fig 1-5). As a result of bank erosion, fences were undermined and swept away, parts of allotments were lost, and in some localities houses and other buildings were threatened. Not unexpectedly, there were numerous complaints to the Board of Works from local residents and local Progress Associations. As in the 1930s, the Board responded by repairing badly eroded sections as the need arose. At some sites boulders were placed along the toe of the bank to prevent further erosion, while at others the lower parts of the banks were beached and the upper parts smoothed and grassed. Financial constraints and shortages of manpower prevented the Board from undertaking works of a more extensive and permanent nature along the creek during the 1940s and early/mid-1950s (Ref 1 ). Such resources as were available were utilised for what were deemed to be more important projects within the metropolitan area. In 1953 the Board of Works produced a plan for the realignment of Moonee Ponds Creek between Francis Street, Broadmeadows, and Flemington Road. The plan, together with plans for a number of other creeks in the metropolitan area, was formulated in conjunction with a planning scheme for the Melbourne and Metropolitan area that the Board of Works was commissioned to prepare in 1949. The proposed alignment of the improved creek is shown in Figure 5-1 and type sections in Figure 5-2.
The main objectives of the plan were to alleviate bank erosion and to eliminate a number of pools that became stagnant during dry weather and were considered to be a health hazard. It was proposed that the channel would be constructed in two stages: stage one would be designed to accommodate one-third of a flood of expected 10-year frequency from a fully developed catchment, and stage two would be designed to accommodate two thirds of such a flood. The Rational Method was used to calculate the discharges. The formula adopted was:
Q = 640 A0:8
where Q = discharge in cusecs and
A = area of catchment in square miles
which was the formula that had been derived for the Gardiner’s Creek catchment in a fully developed state. The computed flood discharges for Moonee Ponds Creek are given in Table 5-1.
The proposed plan was never executed, presumably because of financial constraints. Instead, a number of relatively small-scale improvement works were undertaken along those reaches where erosion was most severe, particularly where houses and other buildings were being threatened. Details of these projects, which were implemented in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and details of some of the minor protection works undertaken in the 1940s and early 1950s, are given below.
In 1948 erosion on the outside of a bend of the creek at Hodgins Nursery in Pascoe Vale threatened to undermine a shed on the property. A tentative plan to cut across the neck of the bend was mooted, but was rejected because of the cost involved. Instead, the bank was excavated and filled, beaching stones were placed along the toe of the bank and the channel was deepened (Fig 5-4B). Similar work was carried out along a reach of the creek at the rear of some allotments on Kernan Avenue (Fig 5-4C) where a house was threatened by the rapid erosion of the bank. The effectiveness of the repair work is illustrated in Plate 5-2 which was taken in 1955. The bank is well grassed and fluvial erosion has been arrested. The beaching stones that were placed at the toe of the bank are no longer visible, having been covered by grass and silt. However, as can be seen from the photograph, the upper part of the bank is being eroded by runoff from the allotments.
The location of areas of active bank erosion in 1949 and 1953, and of works completed up to 1953, are shown in Figure 5-3. A typical example of the type of bank erosion that generated complaints to the Board of Works is shown in Plate 5-1. The photograph, which was taken in late 1952, shows bank erosion near The Boulevard, Pascoe Vale, just downstream of Reynard Street Bridge (Fig 5-3). Recent bank slumping is evident, and surface runoff has cut a gully into the bank. Bank erosion by surface runoff was reported at a number of points along the creek; on some allotments it could be directly attributed to runoff from the roofs of buildings. Bank repair works were undertaken at a number of sites along the middle reaches of the creek. but three examples will suffice to illustrate the general nature and scope of these minor projects. In 1946, the Pascoe Vale Central Progress Association drew the attention of the Board of Works to the problem of erosion along the creek adjacent to Gaffney Street in Pascoe Vale. Following inspection, the Board decided to excavate and shape a length of badly eroded bank, and to place beaching stones along the toe of the bank (Fig 5-4A). The work was commenced in January 1947 and completed two months later.
Complaints about bank erosion from property owners living along the middle reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek continued to be received throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In addition, a number of complaints were received from local residents who were concerned that the vertical, crumbling banks were a hazard to children. It had become increasingly apparent that unless remedial measures were taken. the situation would deteriorate further as development proceeded within the basin. Between 1959 and 1966 the Board of Works undertook a number of major improvement straightening and partial hard-lining of the creek, and in two localities meander loops were cut off. The location of the various works is shown in Figure 5-5 and the costs involved (excluding the costs of land purchase) in Table 5-2. In a number of cases the need to acquire land for the works added to the total cost of the project. It also often resulted in a considerable delay between the granting of approval for a particular project and the start of construction as legal transactions were completed.
Complaints about erosion along Moonee Ponds Creek in the vicinity of Hilda Street, Essendon (Figs 5-3 and 5 -5) date from early 1947. In June 1956, the City Engineer of Essendon reported to the Board of Works that the banks at Hilda Street were being severely eroded and commented that the erosion was being aggravated by debris in the creek which raised the water level and diverted the flow. The City Engineer requested that the Board of Works should immediately inspect the area with a view to implementing remedial measures. The severity of the erosion and the precarious position of the houses at the eastern end of Hilda Street is clearly shown in Photographs A and B in Plate 5-3.
The Sewerage Committee of the Board of Works gave approval for the construction of improvement works along this section of the creek in December 1958. Work commenced on the project in August 1959 and was completed by mid 1960. The creek was realigned, moving it away from the houses that were endangered on Hilda Street (Plate 5-4). The new channel was constructed with a 20 ft-wide concrete invert, and the toes of the banks were lined with bluestone pitchers (Fig 5- 6). The channel banks were shaped to a slope of 1 ½ to 1, filling being added where necessary. The appearance of the section in August 1960, immediately after construction, is shown in Plate 5-3C and D, while Plate 5-3E and F shows the channel in 1980.
No record of design calculations for the Hilda Street improvements, and also for a number of subsequent improvements, has survived. It would appear, however, that the Rational Method formula that was proposed in 1953 was used (see Section 5.1 .1 ), and that it was assumed that the southern two-thirds of the basin would be developed (see Drawing No W S 53-0-164 now 4310/0-43, and Reference 3). On this basis, a design discharge of some 7 000+ cusecs (198 cumecs) is obtained. Such a discharge lies approximately midway between the discharges from flows with one-third and two-thirds of a ten-year recurrence interval, the design frequencies proposed in 1953. The accuracy of this method of calculation is, however, extremely dubious; estimates of flows obtained from the Unit Hydrograph method are between one-third to a half lower.
Since the completion of the Jacana Retarding Basin in 1967, flow characteristics along Moonee Ponds Creek downstream of the basin have been considerably modified. Estimates of design discharges and frequency at Hilda Street, using the Unit Hydrograph method, and assuming current planning zoning, are given in Table 5-3/ It will be noted that both full bank flow and design flow (i.e. flow with 0.5 m freeboard) are in excess of 1 in 100 year frequency, while flow at the top of the lined portion has a less than l in 5 year frequency.
There were a number of complaints during the 1950s about bank erosion to the south of Dean Street Bridge, Essendon. As at Hilda Street, property owners were naturally concerned that their allotments were being eroded, and there was also concern that the eroded banks constituted a hazard to children. In 1957, the City Engineer of Essendon drew the attention of the Board of Works to erosion that was taking place at the rear of a number of allotments on Pattison Street (Fig 5-7 A; Plate 5-5A). Approval for remedial works was given by the Board's Sewerage Committee in December 1958 (at the same time as the Hilda Street works were approved), and construction commenced in September 1959. The channel was slightly realigned to move it away from the eroding western bank, the invert of the new channel was concrete-lined, and bluestone pitchers were placed above the concrete lining (Fig 5-7B and C). The form of the new channel is shown in Plate 5-58. This photograph was taken in 1966, and it can be seen that by this time quite thick vegetation had become established along the banks of the creek.
The design discharge for the improved section, based on the '1953 formula', is estimated to have been approximately 4 500 cusecs (127.4 cumecs), which represented one-third of a ten-year flood. This section of the creek was further modified in 1972 when improvement works were carried out between Evans Street and Gordon Street, Essendon (see Section 8-2). The original improvement works were incorporated into the new design.
Between 1940 and 1958 a strip of land up to 40 feet wide was eroded from the outside of a bend of Moonee Ponds Creek immediately downstream of the Gaffney Street Footbridge in Pascoe Vale (Fig 5-8). By 1958 the east bank had migrated to within a few feet of the back fences of properties in Somerset Street (Plates 5-6A and 5-7 A). Quite understandably, the Board of Works received a number of requests from the property owners for protection works to be undertaken.
Orders were issued by the Board of Works for improvement works to commence in December 1961, and the job was completed during 1962. The creek was realigned, moving it away from the eroded bank and property fences (Fig 5-9A; Plates 5-6 and 5-7). An embankment was constructed along the eastern side of the new channel (Fig 5-9B) and the depression between the embankment and the old bank of the creek was gradually filled (Plate 5-6B). The invert of the new channel was not concrete lined, but the lower six feet of the banks were pitched, with the bottom pitcher resting on a toe stone below the level of the invert(Fig 5-9C). It is estimated that the new channel had a capacity of 544 cusecs (15.4 cumecs); flows in excess of this utilised the natural floodplain.
Within four years of the completion of the works, considerable quantities of silt had been deposited in the new channel and weed growth on the depositional material was prolific (Plate 5-6B). The siltation was almost certainly caused by ponding during flood flows, the watercourse downstream of the improved section being of inadequate capacity. The lined section of the creek was subsequently cleaned out and the weed growth and silt removed from the banks (Plate 5-6C). In late 1975, the section was further modified when it was incorporated into the improvement works undertaken between Gaffney Street and Margaret Street (see Section 8-4). The invert was concrete lined, the bluestone pitchers were replaced by concrete, and an access ramp was constructed (Plate 5-60).
During the early/mid-1950s, frequent complaints were made about erosion along Moonee Ponds Creek between Albion Street and Fanny Street, Essendon. As reference to Figure 5-1 OA will show, the steep banks of this section of the creek were located well within the boundaries of some of the allotments, and not surprisingly, fences and gardens were frequently undermined (Plates 5-SA and 5-9A). In 1957 a request to subdivide land on the southern side of Waxman Parade prompted the Board of Works to prepare a number of alternative plans for creek improvement in the area. The alternative schemes considered were :
(i) The deviation of the creek through Board land to the rear of subdivisions on the southern side of Waxman Parade.
(ii) The deviation of the creek along Waxman Parade and across Crown Land at the front of the subdivisions; this would have required the acquisition of a number of allotments.
(iii) The improvement of the creek along its existing alignment.
(iv) The construction of an underground drain along Waxman Parade.
The plan to deviate the creek around the rear of the allotments was favoured by the Board, but no immediate action was taken. In late 1959, the Board's Engineer-in-Chief recommended that minor remedial work be carried out along a short section of the creek immediately upstream of Waxman Parade. Work commenced on the project in mid 1960. The creek was straightened and the old course filled (Fig 5-1 OA; Plate 5-SA and B). The banks at the ends of the new section were pitched and the invert at these points concrete lined.
In early 1962, the Board decided to implement Scheme 1 of the alternative proposals for creek improvement put forward in 1957. A deviation was cut through. In 1972, the deviation, and the improvement works immediately upstream, were modified when the creek was improved between Evans Street and Gordon Street, Essendon (see Section 8-2).
The steep banks between the western end of Donald Avenue and Hopetoun Avenue were extremely susceptible to erosion, particularly during floods. During the 1950s, the backs of several allotments along Donald Avenue were being eroded, and a house on a block of land at the end of Morrow Street was perilously close to the actively eroding bank of the creek (Plates 5-10 and 5-11 A). Quite severe erosion accompanied the flood of 1960, and the residents of Donald Avenue forwarded a petition to the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission, who forwarded it to the Board of Works. The Board decided that improvement works were urgently required between Morrow Street and Vanberg Road, but the job was not issued to construction until June, 1963. The delay was due to the time required to obtain land necessary for the works from a number of property owners (Fig 5-12A).
The new channel was slightly realigned (Plate 5-11 ), moving it away from the rear of the allotments along Donald Avenue. The invert was concrete lined and the lower banks pitched (Fig 5-12). A considerable quantity of fill was required along the Essendon side of the new channel. The incised nature of this section of the creek makes access for machinery difficult; this hindered construction, and makes maintenance difficult (see Plate 5-12).
The original design discharge for the improved section is estimated to have been 4,500 cusecs (127 cumecs), which represented one-third of a ten-year flow. This section of the creek has not been modified since construction, but the construction of the Jacana Retarding Basin in 1967 has considerably affected the flow regime through it. Estimates of discharge capacity and frequencies for the channel since 1967, based on the Unit Hydrograph method, are given in Table 5-4. Full bank flow has a recurrence interval of greater than 1 in 100 years, while flow at the level of the top of the bluestone pitchers can be expected to occur, on average, at least once in every five years.
(f) Improvements from Avoca Crescent to Gaffney Street, Coburg.
Between Gaffney Street and Avoca Crescent the creek flowed in a tight loop (Fig 5-13A; Plate 5-13A), and quite predictably erosion was a recurring problem on the outside of the bends. In addition, flooding was also a problem (Plate 5-14). During the severe flood of January 1963 the land within the loop was inundated and the owner of the market garden located there reported that he had lost seventy-three fruit trees and numerous vegetable plants, and during the July 1963 flood the occupant of No 2 Somerset Street reported that the house had been flooded to a depth of three feet. The Board of Works accepted that remedial measures were urgently required and decided to cut a new channel across the neck of the loop. Before work could commence, however, land had to be acquired. Work commenced in late 1965 and was completed in mid 1966. The alignment of the diversion can be seen in Figure 5- 13A and Plate 5-13B, and a type section of the new channel is shown in Figure 5- 13B. The land within the old meander loop has been developed for passive recreation (Plate 5-13C).
The original design discharge for the new channel is estimated to have been 5 500 cusecs (156 cumecs), which lies approximately half-way between one-third and two-thirds of a ten-year flow. The channel has not been modified since construction, and post Jacana discharge capacities and frequencies are given in Table 5-5 below.
The Country Roads Board constructed new bridges across Moonee Ponds Creek at Moreland Road and Albion Street in the mid 1950s (Fig 5-5). In order to protect the new bridges, and the approaches to the bridges, from erosion, the Board of Works agreed to reconstruct the channel at the two localities (Fig 5-14). The inverts of the new sections were lined with bluestone pitchers and the sides were shaped and grassed. The estimated cost of the work at Moreland Road was £16 000 and at Albion Street £8 000. The original design discharge at Moreland Road Bridge is estimated to have been 9 100 cusecs (258 cumecs) which is the equivalent of two-thirds of a ten-year flow.
In 1960/61 a section of Moonee Ponds Creek a short distance upstream of Moreland Road Bridge was realigned cutting off a sharp bend (Fig 5-15). The realignment was not carried out to alleviate flooding or to prevent erosion, but to facilitate the construction of a section of the Moonee Ponds Relieving Sewer. The invert of the new cut was paved with concrete, and pitchers were placed along the sides of the channel (Fig 5-158 and C; Plate 5-15). The old course of the creek was filled upstream of the junction with Five Mile Creek but the downstream section of the old course was left open to serve as an outlet for Five Mile Creek. The original design capacity is estimated to have been 4 500 cusecs (127 cumecs - one-third of a ten-year flood).
As discussed in Section 4, flooding was a recurring problem prior to the Second World War in the low-lying parts of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin downstream of Ormond Road. As a result of particularly severe flooding in 1933 and 1934, a major drainage improvement scheme was implemented downstream of Flemington Road in 1936-37. The improvement works considerably alleviated the problem, but did not eliminate it; flooding occurred on a number of occasions between 1946 and 1963, and several remedial measures were undertaken. In addition, prior to the construction of the Jacana Retarding Basin in 1967, flooding was also a problem at some localities further upstream.
5.2.2 The Flood of February 1946
Steady rainfall started to fall over the northern suburbs of Melbourne at around 6.30 pm on 25 February 1946, and with the exception of a five-hour break in the middle of the night, continued falling until late in the afternoon of the following day. Five hundred and twenty-five points (134 mm) were recorded in twenty-five hours at Brunswick, and according to a Memo written by the Board of Works Engineer for Main Drains, the rainfall intensities reported from the northern suburbs were records for practically all durations from two hours upward. isohyets for the period 24 to 27 February are shown in Figure 5-16. Flows along Moonee Ponds Creek were the highest since 1933 and flooding occurred at a number of localities. A report on the flood for the area downstream of Ormond Road was prepared by the Melbourne City Engineer, the main points of which are summarised in Figure 5-17. Flood levels along the lower reaches of the creek were generally lower than during the Christmas day flood of 1933, except at Arden Street and immediately upstream of the Flemington Road Bridge. The floodwaters rose to the tops of the levee banks at a number of points along the 5,000 cusec channel, but only overtopped the banks at two localities : at Bent Street, and along the western levee between Arden Street and the Railway Gravitation Bridge. The levee bank was quickly built up at Bent Street and further flooding was prevented, but the floodwaters overtopped the western bank by six inches for a considerable distance below Arden Street. The Melbourne City Engineer estimated peak flow downstream of Flemington Road Bridge to be approximately 4 700 cusecs, but a Board of Works estimate placed it much higher; a value in the order of 6 000 cusecs was extrapolated from gauge readings taken upstream at Reynard Street. Tidal conditions in the Yarra are not thought to have contributed significantly to the flooding. The improvements to the outlet carried out by the Melbourne Harbour Trust in 1935 (see Plate 4-6) proved to be successful; the flood level at the southern end of Dudley Street was three feet four inches lower than the maximum level during the 1933 flood even though the tidal level in the Yarra was higher (3.67 ft compared with 2.09 ft).
The areas flooded during February 1946 are shown in Figure 5-17. With only one exception, the Melbourne City Council's pumping stations below Flemington Road worked satisfactorily and prevented flooding by local stormwater runoff. In the Langford Street area, flooding occurred because the pumps at No 4 Pumping Station were unable to cope with overflows from MMBW sewers and stormwater drains. The relatively high flood levels between Arden Street and the railway gravitation Bridge were undoubtedly caused by the heading up of floodwaters at the Gravitation Bridge, and to a lesser extent at the low level Main Lines bridge and at Dynon Road Bridge (Plate 5-16). Between the upstream side of the Macaulay Road Bridge and the upstream side of the Gravitation Bridge, the fall in water level was only five and a half inches, whereas between the upstream side of the Gravitation Bridge and the upstream side of the Melbourne Footscray Road Bridge the fall was five feet four inches. There was at least a one-foot difference in water level between the upstream and downstream side of the Gravitation Bridge, and a ten-inch difference in level at the Dynon Road Bridge. At the Gravitation Bridge flow was restricted by accumulated debris and by the piles and whalings (Plate 5- 16B, C, D), even though some of the lower whalings had been removed in 1937. At Dynon Road Bridge the passage of floodwaters was hampered by siltation of the floodways under the outer arches of the bridge (Plate 5-16F). Flooding downstream of the Gravitation Bridge can probably be attributed to the inadequate capacity of the channel between the Gravitation Bridge and Dynon Road Bridge; this section was not improved when the 5,000 cusec channel was constructed.
The filling on the floodplain immediately upstream of Flemington Road Bridge constricted the floodway to such an extent that there was a five-foot nine-inch fall in water level during the flood between O'Deas Service Station (just to the north of the bridge) and the southern side of the bridge (Plate 5-17 A). Further upstream the extensive river flats were inundated, and the low point on Mt Alexander Road, which is located on the line of the old course of the creek, was flooded to a depth of one foot four inches (Plate 5-17C and D). As discussed in Section 4.5.2, the filling of the floodplain in the area between Flemington Road and Ormond Road Bridges commenced during the 1920s and 1930s. Theoretically the Board of Works had the power to prevent filling within 25 feet of the creek bank, but as Plate 5-17B indicates, filling had encroached almost to the bank edges at some points.
In reviewing the 1946 flood, the Melbourne City Engineer suggested that if the improvement works that had been proposed in the 1930s for the reach immediately upstream of Flemington Road Bridge had been carried out, the additional waters released would have overtopped the levee banks for considerable distances in the Bent Street and Stubb Street area. He considered that it was imperative that improvement works to this reach of the creek should not be contemplated until the channel capacity downstream of the Gravitation Bridge had been increased.
The Board of Works and the Melbourne City Engineer both agreed that the constriction of the channel downstream of Dynon Road was a contributory factor in the flooding of the Low lying land downstream of Flemington Road Bridge during February 1946. In March 1946 the Board's Water Supply Committee proposed that channel improvement works should be carried out at Dynon Road Bridge, and also for a distance of 50b feet downstream, although it was noted that legal responsibility for this section of the creek had . never been resolved. The Water Supply Committee's recommendation was adopted by the Board on 2 April 1946 (Ref 4). It was estimated that the work would cost £1 400, and it is assumed that the work was subsequently carried out. It is also assumed that a proposal to dredge the channel between Macaulay Road and Dynon Road was executed. On hearing of the proposals for improvement works, the Melbourne City Council sought the Board's advice about the possibility of waiving or modifying restrictions to building activities on the low-lying areas adjoining the channel. The Board recommended that the restrictions should remain; pointing out that the improvement works would not completely eliminate the flood problem.
In July 1947, the Minister of Public Works authorised the Board of Works to convene a conference to be attended by all public authorities interested in the area adjacent to Moonee Ponds Creek between Flemington Road and Ormond Road to discuss a proposal to realign and reconstruct the creek) and to build a new road alongside it. The conference was held the following month and was attended by representatives from the Town and Country Planning Board, the Country Roads Board, the MMBW, the City of Melbourne, the City of Brunswick, and the City of Essendon. The conference passed a motion supporting the proposal for the construction of a new road and for the realignment of the creek. In December 1949, the Board of Works produced a plan for a 150-foot wide open channel floodway between Flemington and Ormond Roads (Fig 5-1 BB). It was proposed that the bed of the floodway would be between one and three feet below the level of the existing creek flats, and that the flats would be protected by levee banks. The design of the floodway allowed for an 11 ft wide beached centre channel. It was noted that for an additional £106 000 the beached centre channel could be replaced by twin 8 ft by 5 ft covered conduits. The Board of Works gradually purchased the land that was required for the proposed improvement works. It acquired a number of parcels of land immediately upstream of Flemington Road Bridge during the late 1940s and the early 1950s, and together with the Cities of Melbourne, Brunswick, and Essendon acquired the unsightly floodplain land owned by the City of Melbourne Golf Club downstream from Ormond Road. The Board of Works obtained title to a 150-foot wide strip of land that was intended for use for drainage purposes, and the three municipalities obtained title to the remainder, which it was intended should be filled and developed for recreational purposes. The proposed works were never carried out, presumably because of financial constraints. In December 1952 the Board of Works produced a slightly modified design for a 800-foot long section of the creek from Flemington Road Bridge to opposite Delhi Court. The ultimate design capacity for this section of the channel was 9 000 cusecs, which was considered to be two-thirds of the 10-year flood. The first stage design was for a nominal 5,000 cusec capacity at an estimated cost of £12 000. Due to financial restrictions, however, the project was shelved until 1962 (see Sub-section 5.2.5).
Flooding occurred along Moonee Ponds Creek in October 1954 and September 1960, refocusing public attention on the problem. On 25 October 1954, heavy rain fell over the City and several areas were flooded. One hundred and forty four points (36.6 mm) were recorded at Flemington, while at Essendon 173 points (43.9 mm) were recorded. The levee banks downstream of Flemington Road Bridge were not overtopped, but there was localised flooding along Stubbs Street, the pumping station being unable to cope with the heavy storm runoff. Between Flemington and Ormond Roads the creek flats were inundated, and the low point on Mt Alexander Road was flooded. The flood of 17 September 1960 was far more severe. The water lapped the tops of the levee banks downstream of Flemington Road and overtopped the bank at one point. Upstream of Flemington Road Bridge water flowed across Mt Alexander Road flooding properties in the area to a depth of two feet six inches (Plate 5-1 BA), and then flowed through Debneys Paddock and across Racecourse Road flooding houses in Stubbs Street. Further upstream, the creek overtopped its banks at several points and inundated a number of allotments (Plate 5-18B).
Peak discharge along the lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek during the September 1960 flood was estimated to have been in the order of 6 000 cusecs, which was of comparable magnitude to the February 1946 flood. The 1946 flood occurred after a fall of some five inches (127 mm) of rain on a dry catchment, whereas the September 1960 flood occurred after a fall of less than two inches (50.8 mm) on an already wet catchment.' The Board of Works Executive Engineer postulated that if the amount of rainfall received in February 1946 had fallen on the pre-wetted and more extensively developed catchment in September 1960, the discharge would have been 10 per cent higher, and severe flooding would have occurred along the lower reaches of the creek.
In his report on the September 1960 flood, the Board of Works executive Engineer made a number of observations and recommendations with regard to possible remedial measures. He noted that by raiding the levee banks below the Flemington Road Bridge two to three foot, a discharge of 7,000 cusecs could be accommodated for a cost of between £85,000 to £100 000. He also noted that any additional increase in capacity could only be achieved by widening and concrete-lining the channel, but pointed out that this would necessitate the raising of a number of bridges and require the acquisition of adjoining land which would add considerably to the cost of the project. To provide for the ultimate capacity of 13 000 cusecs that it was envisaged would be required in fifty to one hundred years time was, in the opinion of the Executive Engineer, "impracticable if not impossible". The Executive Engineer suggested that flows could be restricted to 7 000 cusecs by the construction of retarding basins within the catchment, and identified three potential sites: at Jacana in the central part of the basin, upstream of Westmeadows Township, and on Yuroke Creek (see Section 6).
The remedial measures that could be implemented along Moonee Ponds Creek were constrained by the limited funds available, and had to be considered along with proposals for improvement works along other Metropolitan watercourses. Bearing this in mind, the Board's Engineer-in-Chief made the following recommendations in order of priority:
(a) that improvement works should immediately be carried out near Flemington Road Bridge,
(b) that bank protection works should immediately be undertaken at selected sites upstream of Ormond Road [see Section 5.1.3 ],
(c) that the necessary land should be acquired at the three retarding basin sites, although it was considered that there was no urgency to acquire the land at the Westmeadows [Tullamarine] and Yuroke Creek [Broadmeadows] sites,
(d) that the Jacana Retarding Basin should be designed and constructed.
The Engineer-in-Chief recommended that the tidal section below Macaulay Road should not be dredged because previous experience indicated that such action was not justified for flood control purposes and was undesirable for health reasons. In order to alleviate flooding on Mt Alexander Road, the creek was realigned immediately upstream of Flemington Road Bridge in early 1962 at a cost of approximately £30 000 (Plate 5-19; Fig 5-19A). The bed of the constructed channel was 80 ft wide and contained a 6 ft wide concrete-lined centre channel (fig 5".' 19B). The design discharge for the channel is calculated to have been 9 800 cusecs (278 cumecs), which is estimated to have been approximately two-thirds of a one in ten-year flow.
In order to prevent the sides of the centre channel from being undermined, a four-foot wide strip of concrete was laid along the berms on either side of the channel, while to prevent the.banks of the main channel from being eroded, the bank toes were lined with bluestone pitchers (Fig 5-19B). It was assumed that the velocity of flow over the berms would be sufficient to prevent siltation, although it was appreciated that floodwaters would head up at Flemington Road Bridge because of the sharp bend in the channel at this locality (Plate 5-19B). In order to minimise this problem and to prevent siltation from occurring on the inside of the bend under the bridge, timber training walls were constructed against the bridge piles to divert flows more evenly under the bridge (Plate 5-20). Between the Flemington Road and Macaulay Road Bridges, accumulated deposits of silt were removed from the berms in order to restore the design capacity of the channel. It was hoped that a grass cover could be rapidly established on the levelled berms, and that once established the berms would look aesthetically pleasing and be relatively easy to maintain.
Quite serious flooding occurred along parts of Moonee Ponds Creek on 28/29 January and 13 July 1963. On 28/29 January between five and six inches (127 and 152 mm) of rain fell over much of the basin. The levee banks were not overtopped, but some areas downstream of Flemington Road were flooded by stormwater runoff. Flooding was exacerbated along Stubbs Street by the failure of an old four-foot diameter underground brick drain in Parsons Street. Rainfall was heaviest during the January storm over the central-eastern part of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin, and flooding occurred along the lower reaches of Westbreen Creek. Floodwaters overtopped the entry structure to the newly constructed underground section of the drain immediately upstream of Railway Parade, breached a protective levee, and flowed at high velocity towards Railway Parade. Several shops and a hotel were flooded at the intersection of Railway Parade and Gaffney Street, and damage was estimated to have been in excess of £3 000.
The July flood was generally more severe. Floodwaters just overtopped the levee banks downstream of Flemington Road at a number of points, and sand bags had to be used to stem the flow. Local residents complained that the banks had not been maintained, and had been worn down in a number of places (Ref 5). According to a report by the Melbourne City Council the flood problem downstream of Flemington Road Bridge was aggravated by a number of factors :
• by Board of Works sewers back-flooding during times of peak rainfall, the problem being compounded by the fact that the Board had sealed some of the sewer manholes,
• by blockages in stormwater drains that discharged into the Moonee Ponds channel,
• by filling - the policy of requiring all new buildings to have floor levels above flood level resulted in reduced storage area and higher water levels in the streets.
A further problem was encountered during the July flood. At the height of the storm the No 2 pump at the Macaulay Pumping Station failed, and according to a local newspaper report (Ref 6) it took the SEC four and a half hours to repair the fault. As a result of the failure, water banked up in Bent, Hardiman and Chelmsford Streets flooding a number of houses (Plate 5-21 ). Some forty houses were inundated during the July flood, and a residents' action group, the Kensington-Macaulay Ratepayers' and Citizens' Advancement Association, was formed to press for damages for losses incurred (Ref 5). There was considerable public pressure for flood alleviation works to be carried out. The Melbourne City Council installed three additional pumps, two at the Macaulay Road/Stubbs Street Station and one at the Macaulay Road/ Langford Street Station, and the Maintenance Branch of the Board of Works built up the low spots oh the western levee bank between Macaulay Road and Arden Street, although it was noted that the low spots were a foot above the design flood level of the 5,000 cusec scheme. The Board did not respond to calls to raise the levee banks (see, for example, Ref 7), which would have been extremely costly, but maintained that the problem would be considerably alleviated when a retarding basin that was planned had been built at Jacana in the middle part of the basin.
The floods caused a very different problem along the improved section of the creek immediately upstream of Flemington Road Bridge. The new improvement works prevented extensive flooding during the 1963 floods (the flood level during the January flood was four feet lower than during the 1960 flood), but together with other flood flows eroded the edges of the lined centre channel (Plate 5-22). Frequent flushing flows of relatively high velocity had prevented grass from growing on the berms, with the result that they were progressively eroded. In addition, erosion also occurred at the entry to the new channel where the sudden drawdown of flood flows resulted in considerable turbulence. It was recommended that, as it appeared unlikely that grass could be permanently established on the berms, it would be advisable to concrete-line them at an estimated cost of £20,000. It was subsequently noted, however, that a similar problem had occurred on Elster Creek, and that there the eroded sections had been filled with rock over which silt had been deposited and a grass cover established. It was decided to treat the eroded section immediately upstream of Flemington Road in a similar manner. The work was completed in 1964 at a cost of £2,000.
In the meantime, the local councils were pressing for the creek to be completely realigned between Flemington Road and Ormond Road so they could fill and develop the land that they owned for recreational purposes. The Town Clerk of the City of Essendon informed the Board of Works on 22 July 1962 that at a council meeting held on 16 July 1962, the following resolution had been passed:
That the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works be advised that it is the Council's intention to fill the area of land on the Moonee Ponds Creek, south of Ormond Road Bridge, owned by the Essendon Council, and requests that the Board straighten the Creek to allow the Council to carry out the proposed work.
In January 1964, at a meeting held between representatives of the Board of Works and the City of Melbourne, the latter urged that the creek be realigned to enable the existing watercourse and the adjoining land owned by the council near Manningham Road to be filled and developed.
The question of the realignment of Moonee Ponds Creek between Flemington and Ormond Roads was finally resolved when the Tullamarine Freeway was constructed during the late 1960s. The Freeway was constructed on the land that had been acquired for the realignment of the creek, and a new channel for Moonee Ponds Creek was constructed immediately west of the Freeway. Details of the drainage works associated with the Tullamarine Freeway are given in Section 7.
During the war years and the immediate post-war years, relatively few houses were built within the Moonee Ponds Creek basin, but during the 1950s and early 1960s extensive residential development took place in parts of Essendon, Coburg and Broadmeadows. As reference to Figure 1-5 will show, the central part of the basin between Bell Street, Coburg and Camp Road, Broadmeadows was developed between 1946 and 1960, and quite extensive areas in the Municipality of Broadmeadows have been developed since 1960. The existing drainage network was generally unable to cope with the increased volumes of runoff generated, or with the higher and more frequent flood flows that occurred, with the result that flooding and erosion became recurrent problems along many of the tributary watercourses. In addition, there were frequent complaints concerning the offensive nature of sullage waters that were discharged into surface drains and creeks, and about the poor state of many of the unmade streets. During wet weather some of these streets became little more than quagmires (Plate 5-23). It became obvious that drainage improvement works would have to be undertaken. and in most localities the problems were solved by undergrounding.
As drainage problems arose in an area, local residents and Progress Associations usually complained to their councils and MLAs, and to the Board of Works. A recurring request in letters received by the Board of Works was for the drainage to be undergrounded in order to eliminate flooding and erosion, to ensure access to properties, to eliminate the open steep-sided watercourses which were considered to be a hazard to children, and to remove the polluted waters which were considered to be a potential health hazard. Extracts from typical letters are quoted below:
From a local Progress Association concerning the Cardinal Road Drain:
Although drainage is necessary in the area we strongly condemn an open drain which has not been faced and will be scoured even deeper by the excess water during wet weather. We also note that no fence has been erected alongside the drain and that no crossing has been provided at Melbourne Avenue, Glenroy. As there are numerous children in the area we suggest that this matter receive your early attention. We would also appreciate your advice as to why the drain was not undergrounded by use of concrete pipes.
From the Town Clerk of the City of Broadmeadows concerning the Widford Road Drain:
I am directed by Council to request that action be taken to underground the open drain in Eleanor Street. Jacana, for its full length to the point where it discharges into Moonee Ponds Creek. Council has received complaints from the School Committee regarding the foul state of this drain and Council's Health Inspector has reported that it is a harbourage for rats.
From a local MLA concerning the Chapman Avenue Main Drain :
At the request of the Oak Park Progress Association and a number of local residents, I write to direct your attention to the very urgent need for this drain to be placed underground. As you know the drain crosses the Oak Park district from north east to south west and collects effluent on the way. This has been aggravated by the erection of a large bakery, adjacent to the railway line at Devon Road and local residents are complaining very bitterly at the nuisance which this drain now causes. Would you be kind enough to advise me whether there is any prospect of this drain being placed underground or an amount being placed on the estimates in the near future for this work.
Where deemed appropriate, and as funds permitted, the Board of Works agreed to underground sections of several watercourses. The undergrounding of drainage in residential areas was standard engineering practice at the time, and was seen as a permanent solution to many of the problems that had arisen. The location of drainage improvement works undertaken by the Board between 1941 and 1967 is shown in Figure 5-20. Descriptions of the various projects are given below, while detailed location plans and details of the works are summarised in Appendix C.
The only constructional work of any significance that was undertaken along the Royal Park Drain between 1941 and 1967 was the extension of the culvert under Popular Road (Fig 5-20; Appendix C). The culvert was extended on the downstream side to allow the road to be widened. The work was undertaken in mid 1958 and cost £319.
The deviation of Moonee Ponds Creek at Waxman Parade in 1962 [see Section 5.3 .1(d)] necessitated the extension of the Bent Street Main Drain (Figs 5-20 and 5-21). The extension, which consisted of a 200-foot length of 6-foot diameter concrete pipe, was connected to the existing 6- foot diameter brick drain along Fanny Street. Work on the extension was completed in August 1962 at a cost of £9,013.
The middle reaches of Melville Creek were undergrounded between 1930 and 1940 (see Section 4-6 and Figure 4-12). As development proceeded within the catchment of Melville Creek. it became apparent that improvement works would be required along some of the upper and lower reaches. In 1941, the Coburg Council drew the attention of the Board of Works to the occurrence of flooding in Soudan Street, immediately upstream of the existing undergrounded section of Melville Creek. The Board's Engineer of Main Drainage noted that upstream of Bell Street the drainage from an area of some 500 acres "has to be carried by what are no more than slightly enlarged street channels", which he considered to be completely inadequate, and forecast that the situation would deteriorate further as development proceeded. The problem did become more acute, and in 1947-48 the Board of Works extended the existing underground drain from Bell Street northwards to Daphne Court (Fig 5-20; Appendix C). For a short distance along Cramer Street, a rectangular reinforced concrete drain was installed, but along the rest of the section concrete pipes of varying diameter were laid.
The only other work undertaken along the upper reaches of the Melville Main Drain between 1941 and 1967 was the construction in 1959 of an 80-foot section of pitched drain leading into the existing underground drain at Anketell Street (Fig 5- 20). The pitched drain, and the improved entry pit that was constructed at the same time, were installed to alleviate localised flooding from stormwater runoff. Between 1938 and 1946, the Board of Works received several complaints about erosion along the lower reaches of Melville Creek downstream of McLean Street Bridge. In 1926, the creek had been pitched under McLean Street and for a short distance upstream. At the same time a weir was constructed below McLean Street Bridge to reduce velocities and retard erosion (see Fig 4-14). However, the weir did not prevent severe erosion from taking place immediately downstream of it. In 1946, the Board's Sewerage Committee recommended that a culvert should be installed at McLean Street. The City of Brunswick requested that the proposed work should be extended downstream by fifty to sixty feet to protect a property that was being eroded. The Board agreed to the request, and recommended that the work should be extended 110 feet downstream from the culvert.
The work was undertaken in 1947 and cost £2 700. A 10 ft by 7 ft 6 in horseshoe drain was constructed under McLean Street, and an open horseshoe drain was built downstream of the bridge (Fig 5-22). The open section was designed so that it could be roofed at a later date if required. Immediately downstream of the culvert under McLean Street, the batters above the concrete were lined with pitchers. The works solved the erosion problem in the vicinity of the McLean Street Bridge, but erosion continued unabated further downstream. In 1950, the City of Brunswick offered to supply the labour if the Board was prepared to extend the improvement works downstream. The Board accepted the Council's offer, and the extension was undertaken in 1951 at a cost of £5,461.The existing open horseshoe drain was roofed, and an additional 190-foot long section of open horseshoe drain was constructed (Fig 5-22).
The section of the Coonans Road Drain that is located within the City of Brunswick was undergrounded in 1928, and the section within the City of Coburg between Moreland Road and Woodlands Avenue in 1946-47 (Figs 4-12 and 5-20). The latter project was financed by the Board of Works, but was undertaken by the City of Coburg. As residential development proceeded to the north of Woodlands Road, drainage problems arose. Between Woodland Street and Reynard Street, the watercourse was ill-defined, and floodwaters spread out over the valley floor. In late 1949, complaints were received from local residents concerning flooding and the foul state of the watercourse. Building construction, however, continued apace, and by 1951 the watercourse had further deteriorated, particularly in the Reynard Street and Winifred Road areas. The Board's Planning Engineer for Sewers and Main Drains visited the latter area and commented that "The streets are not made, and the drain, having filled up, water spreads over the area forming an insanitary quagmire, receiving drainage from an almost fully built on area of 150 acres upstream".
Remedial measures were clearly urgently needed, and in May 1952 the Board of Works excavated an open earth-lined channel from Reynard Street to the intersection of Parkstone Avenue and Coonans Road (Fig 5-20; Appendix C). However, the works did not prove to be successful. By January 1953, the channel was badly eroded; the gardens of some allotments were being undermined, access to several allotments had been blocked, and a number of gas and water mains had been uncovered. The Board decided that it would be desirable to underground this section of the drain, and work commenced on the project in May 1953.
(e) Five Mile Creek and Magdala Avenue Main Drains. Essendon.
The Magdala Avenue Main, Drain, from Carnarvon Road to its junction with Five Mile Creek, was undergrounded by the Board of Works in 1948 (Fig 5-20). The drain was undergrounded for the specific purpose of conveying runoff from Essendon Airport. A pitched channel was constructed along much of the length of Five Mile Creek in pre World War Two years (see Plate 4-15). It was however of limited capacity, and as development proceeded within the catchment, flooding and erosion became progressively more problematical, with the result that there were frequent complaints from local residents. A relatively short section of the creek was undergrounded immediately downstream of Napier Street in 1959 to enable a block of private land to be subdivided, but it was not until 1966-67 that the reaches upstream and further downstream of Napier Street were undergrounded. The flooding of several houses in Napier Street during July 1963 provided the impetus for these works. The section of the creek from below Napier Street to just west of the Essendon-Broadmeadows railway line was undergrounded in 1966, and the section between Napier Street and Woodlands Park in 1967 (Fig 5-20; Appendix C). At Woodlands Park, the new drain was connected to an existing underground drain that had been installed by the Board of Works in 1929 to alleviate drainage problems on Bulla Road and Woodlands Street.
The Westbreen Creek sub-basin was developed for residential purposes between 1946 and 1960. In the northern part of the basin an extensive area was developed by the Housing Commission of Victoria. A familiar sequence of events followed: as development proceeded, flooding and erosion became more problematical, and sullage waters rendered the watercourses foul smelling and unsightly. There were numerous complaints, and between 1952 and 1967 the Board of Works constructed underground drains along part of Westbreen Creek and some of its upper Tributaries (the Acacia Street, West Street and Cardinal Road Drains - Fig 5-20; Appendix C). Drainage improvements were most urgently required in the upper parts of the basin where the watercourses were generally ill-defined. There was a complaint as early as 1940 from a resident on Glenroy Road concerning the "foul and unhealthy" condition of the creek. and in 1946 the Shire of Broadmeadows forwarded a complaint to the Board of Works from the Glenroy Progress Association about the state of one of the upper tributaries (the Acacia Street Drain). The situation was improved between Glenroy Road and Blenheim Street in 1948 when the Shire of Broadmeadows installed 27-inch pipes (supplied by the Board of Works) along the bed of the creek.
Housing construction, particularly by the Housing Commission, continued apace, and in 1953 a number of Glenroy ratepayers forwarded a petition to the Board of Works complaining about the state of the Acacia Street Drain. They complained that the stench from stagnant water in the drain was overpowering, that the pools were breeding grounds for mosquitoes, that the creek frequently flooded, and that the roads in the area turned into bogs when it rained. The ratepayers requested that the drain should be undergrounded, and were supported by the Shire of Broadmeadows. In late 1953, the Board agreed to underground the Acacia Street Drain from Cardinal Road to Glenroy Road (Fig 5-20), and decided to replace the 27- inch pipe upstream of Glenroy Road with a 36-inch diameter pipe. Residential development in the upper parts of the basin also necessitated the construction of drains along Cardinal Road and West Street (Fig 5-20) to alleviate problems similar to those described for the Acacia Street Drain. An open earth drain was excavated along Cardinal Road in 1954, and a small pipe was laid along the invert to convey sullage waters. A number of timber drop structures, the downstream sides of which were protected with rock spalls, were built along the drain to prevent erosion, but proved to be unsuccessful. The Broadmeadows Council and local residents pressed for the drain to be undergrounded, and this was undertaken by the Board of Works in 1956-57. The West Street Drain was undergrounded in 1955 for virtually the whole of its length.
The undergrounding of the Acacia Street, Cardinal Road and West Street Drains transferred the drainage problems downstream to Westbreen Creek; sullage water was conveyed more rapidly to the creek, and flood flows became more frequent. In 1952, the Board of Works undergrounded the lower section of Westbreen Creek between Park Street and Railway Parade (Fig 5-20) to enable the Shire of Broadmeadows to construct roads and drains on the new Greengables Housing Estate. Between 1958 and 1967, other sections of Westbreen Creek were undergrounded for health reasons, and in order to prevent erosion and to alleviate flooding. In 1958-59, the section of the creek immediately south of the Northern Golf Club (Northumberland Road to Rhodes Parade) was undergrounded, the section immediately upstream of Railway Parade was undergrounded in 1962, and the sections between Pleasant Street and west of Northumberland Road were undergrounded in 1967 (Fig 5-20; Appendix C). In addition, a short section of the creek was straightened at Arndt Street in 1962-63 when the existing footbridge was replaced by a road and culvert.
In April 1949, the Shire of Broadmeadows requested the Board of Works to underground the section of the Chapman Avenue Main Drain that ran along Pascoe Vale Road upstream of Victoria Street (Fig 5-20) because the existing open pitched drain was proving to be inadequate to convey runoff from the new residential subdivisions in the area. The Board of Works agreed to underground the section of the drain between Victoria and Prospect Streets, and added the project to its list of works in mid 1950. The work was eventually undertaken in early 1953.
In October 1955, residents living along Pascoe Vale Road requested the Board of Works to underground the Chapman Avenue Main Drain along Pascoe Vale Road between Victoria Street and Winifred Street. Their request was supported by the Broadmeadows Council. Now residents complained that the open drain was a menace to health, was rat infested, overflowed frequently in winter. and that as more houses were built the increased effluent load would make the drain even more unpleasant, particularly during the summer months. The Board agreed that this section of the drain needed to be improved, and undergrounded it in 1957-58. The lower reaches of the Chapman Avenue Main Drain were undergrounded in 1963-64 (Fig 5-20). Erosion was the main problem along this steeply-graded section of the creek. The steeply sloping banks were being severely eroded at a number of sites, and fences were being undermined. The Board received complaints from a number of local residents and from the Oak Park Progress Association. The Board finally decided to underground this section of the drain because of the impending construction of the Moonee Ponds Creek Main Sewer. If the drain had not been undergrounded, the sewer crossing would have formed a four-foot high obstruction across the drain invert.
Two sections of the Mascoma Street Drain were undergrounded between De Havilland Avenue and the Board's drainage limit in 1965-66 (Fig 5-20; Appendix C) at the time that residential subdivisions at Strathmore Heights were being developed. The City of Broadmeadows was emphatic that the drain should be undergrounded. The council felt that an open drain would be a hazard to children, and would be aesthetically unacceptable. The underground drain was designed and constructed by the Board of Works, but was financed by the subdivider.
In 1955, the Board of Works undergrounded the section of the Widford Road Drain from Eleanor Street to Jacana Avenue (Fig 5-20) because it was felt that the existing watercourse would be unable to cope with runoff from the Housing Commission's proposed Broadmeadows Estate. The outlet was extended downstream along Eleanor Street in 1959 (Appendix C). In May 1961, the City of Broadmeadows requested that the undergrounding should be extended downstream to the junction with Moonee Ponds Creek because of the foul state of the watercourse, but no action was taken. In August 1962 the Board of Works constructed a culvert and associated drop structure under Freeland Grove at cost to a subdivider (Fig 5-23). During the January 1963 storm, severe erosion occurred along the steeply sloping open section of the drain between Eleanor Street and the new culvert (Plate 5-24). Large rocks were scoured from the creek bed and deposited on the culvert grating, and a six- to eight-foot high embankment constructed by a subdivider was washed away. The Board agreed to underground this section of the drain at cost to a subdivider. The work was completed in August 1963.
In November 1958, the Housing Commission advised the Board of Works that it intended to proceed with the development of the Railway Crescent and King William Street areas, and requested that the Board should underground the drain along Railway Crescent. The Board agreed to the request; and undergrounded the drain along Railway Crescent between Dora Street and King William Street and under the Broadmeadows railway line and Pascoe Vale Road (Fig 5-20). Downstream of Pascoe Vale Road, a new open earth drain was excavated for a distance of 1 000 feet.
1 Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Annual Reports for the years 1947, 1952 and 1953.
2 Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Annual Report for 1950.
3 Borrie. E F. 1947. The future urban boundaries of Melbourne and the distribution of population therein. MMBW; Melbourne.
4 Minutes of 1 366th Board Meeting of the MMBW. 2 April 1946.
5 The Age, 22 July 1963.
6 The Northern Advertiser. 18 July 1963.
7 The Age, 6 August 1963.
As discussed in Section 5.1.1, the Board of Works prepared an improvement plan for Moonee Ponds Creek in 1953. It was proposed that the creek should be partially concrete-lined for much of its length, and that it should be realigned at several localities. Lack of funds, however, prevented the plan from being implemented. Immediately after the flood of September 1960, the Board decided to review its drainage policy for Moonee Ponds Creek. In October 1960, the Engineer-in-Chief approved a report recommending that certain channel improvement works should be expedited without delay (see Section 5.1.3 and 5.2.5), and that threes retarding basins would ultimately be required to control flood flows. The retarding basins were deemed to be necessary because it was considered to be impractical to improve to any significant extent the capacity of many of the incised middle reaches of the creek where subdivision had been permitted down to the bank or water's edge. In addition, it was not considered to be viable economically to increase the capacity of the 5,000 cusec channel downstream of Flemington Road Bridge.
The sites selected for the retarding basins were at Jacana and upstream of Westmeadows Township on Moonee Ponds Creek, and on Yuroke Creek at the junction with the Otway Crescent Drain (Fig 6-1 ). On 7 November 1960, the Board's Sewerage Committee approved the report and recommended that the necessary land should be acquired at Jacana, and that a retarding basin should be constructed on the site without delay. No recommendations were made at the time concerning the purchase of land at the other two sites.
The acquisition of land for the Jacana Basin was inevitably a protracted business, and it was not until late October 1965 that the Board was able to recommend that authority be given for the basin to be constructed by day labour. Work commenced on the project on 5 November 1965, and the job was completed on 30 June 1967 at a cost of $698,147. The Jacana Retarding Basin site, with the exception of two strips of land that were retained as Proposed Main Road Reservations, were reserved for Public Purposes (Board of Works) on 11 February 1970 as part of Amendment No 2 to the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme. The location of the two road reservations that traverse the basin can be seen in Figures 9-5 and 9-6F: one of the reservations crosses the upper part of the basin from south to north, while the other crosses the lower part of the basin from west to east.
The Jacana Retarding Basin is by far the largest of the Board's twenty-five retarding basins. Its total length is in the order of 2 000 m, and its average width is approximately 325 m (Plate 6-2 ). The storage capacity of the basin at design top water level is 2 899 Ml, although it has never been filled to this level. Water ponded in the basin after a storm in November 1971 is shown in Plate 2; unfortunately there are no photographs of reproducible quality of water ponded in the basin after the severe storm of May 1974, when the water level rose to within about a metre of the main (glory hole) overflow spillway.
Visually, the most impressive features of the Jacana Basin are the 12.2m-high (40 ft) compacted earth fill embankment (Plate 6-3A and B), the glory hole spillway that is sited on the upstream side of the embankment (Plates 6-3A and 6-4A), and the main outlet. Some of the land at the upper end of the basin was not acquired until after the basin had been constructed: one piece of land was not acquired until January 1971 and another until June 1980. In addition to the glory hole spillway, there is also a sidelong spillway at the western end of the embankment (Plates 6-1 and 6-3). The base of this spillway is 1.53 m (5 ft) higher than the top of the glory hole, and it will rarely be operational. It is essentially an emergency spillway which will come into operation during a rare storm of exceptional magnitude, or if the glory hole and/or normal outlet should become blocked. A number of statistical details concerning the basin are summarised in Tables 6-1 and 6-2, and the form of the embankment and outlet structure is illustrated in Figure 6-2. The normal outlet pipe is 2. 7 m (9 ft) in diameter (Plate 6-4A), and the discharge through the pipe at glory hole spillway level is 62.3 cumecs (2 200 cusecs).
When the basin was designed it was assumed that the glory hole spillway would become operational if a 1 in 20 year or greater storm occurred, and the sidelong spillway would become operational if a 1 in 100 year or greater storm occurred. It has been estimated that discharge through the glory hole spillway at design top level (that is the level of the base of the sidelong spillway) would be 135.95 cumecs (4 800 cu secs), which combined with a flow of 65.15 cumecs (2 300 cu secs) through the normal outlet, gives a total outflow from the basin of 201.10 cumecs (7 100 cusecs). In the extremely unlikely event of water flowing over the sidelong spillway, this would be added to the discharge from the normal and glory hole outlets. As the height of water flowing over the sidelong spillway increased, discharge through the glory hole spillway would also progressively increase because of the additional head created (Table 6-2).
To date, neither spillway has been operational. The hydrograph peaks for the storms of 15 - 16 May 1974 and 8 April 1977 (the Easter Storm) reached levels of 65.16 m AHO (RL 215.5 ft) and 64.68 m AHO (RL 213.9 ft), which is 1.37 m and 1.85 m respectively below the level of the glory hole spillway. The stage hydrographs for these two events are shown in Figure 6-4. Discharges of any magnitude from the outlet pipe have relatively high velocities.
The two severe storms that have occurred over the Moonee Ponds Creek catchment since the basin was completed are those of 15-16 May 1974 and 8 April (the Easter Storm) 1977. During the May 1974 storm between 80 to 90 mm of rain fell on a prewetted catchment, and on 8 April 1977 between 80 and 150 mm of rain fell over the upper part of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin during an extremely intense storm (Figure 6-5). As noted, considerable volumes of water were stored in the basin on both occasions (Fig 6-4), with the result that the flood peak was attenuated downstream and the banks were not overtopped. Flooding did, however, occur during the May 1974 and April 1977 storms within a number of neighbouring basins ; in May 1974 there was serious flooding within the Maribyrnong, Merri and Plenty basins, and in April 1977 flooding occurred along the Maribyrnong River and Merri Creek. The fact that flooding did not occur along the middle and lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek can be attributed to the retarding effect of the Jacana Basin and that, efficiency of the sections of the creek downstream of the basin that were realigned and partially hard-lined between 1967 and 1975 (see Sections 7 and 8).
The storage capacity of the Jacana Retarding Basin will be reduced if roads are constructed along the two main road reservations that traverse it. The amount of storage lost would depend on the type of structure built. If earth-fill embankments were to be used a considerable volume of storage would probably be lost, but if the roads were elevated on structural piles far less storage area would be sacrificed. A small amount of storage has already been lost in the upper part of the basin as a result of the construction of a new road linking Mickleham Road and Johnstone Street. In addition to the roadworks, an elongated, landscaped earth mound has been constructed to the south of the new road.
It has not generally been the Board of Works' policy to allow the public access to its retarding basin sites (see Ref 6), but in 1965 the Board leased the major part of the Jacana Basin to the City of Broadmeadows for recreational purposes. To date, the City of Broadmeadows has laid out two sports ovals at the upper end of the basin where the land would be rarely inundated. In February 1973, the Broadmeadows Council requested permission to sublet a large part of the basin to sports clubs. It was proposed that the Broadmeadows Club, which is located just outside of the basin, should develop and operate a nine-hole golf course within the basin. The Board of Works would not consent to the Council subletting part of the basin because it was felt that the basin should be retained for passive recreation for the potential benefit of a greater number of people.
In 1977, a report entitled The Moonee Ponds Creek Open Space Study (Ref 7), which was commissioned by the City of Broadmeadows, was released. One of the recommendations contained in the report was that part of the Jacana Retarding Basin site should be developed as a golf course. The Broadmeadows Club submitted a request to the Broadmeadows Council asking them to sub-lease part of the basin to the Club. The Club indicated that it wished to develop a nine-hole golf course on the site. The Council reapproached the Board of Works, but the Board reaffirmed its earlier decision.
In 1960, when the Board of Works decided that the best method of controlling flood flows along Moonee Ponds Creek would be through the construction of retarding basins in the upper half of the basin, the land upstream of two of the three proposed basin sites, those at Broadmeadows and at Tullamarine (Figs 6-1 and 6-6), was rural in character with little immediate prospect of being developed for residential purposes. No attempt was therefore made by the Board to acquire land at these two sites. By the late 1960s, however, the situation had changed. In December 1967, the Shire of Bulla notified the Board of Works that under Amendment No 6 of its planning scheme it proposed to rezone some 150 acres of land in the vicinity of Mickleham Road and Kenny Street from Rural to Residential, and it was becoming increasingly apparent that the land owned by the Housing Commission in the upper part of the basin would be developed in the not too distant future.
In order to ensure that the two sites were not developed for other purposes, the Main Drainage section of the Board of Works requested the planning authority (the Board of Works) to reserve the sites for Public Purposes. The planning authority complied, and the sites were declared Proposed Public Purpose Reservations (for the Board of Works) on 11 February 1970 under Amendment No 2 to the Metropolitan Planning Scheme. During the 1970s the Board acquired titles to land within the Tullamarine basin site as it became available from private owners. The extent of the land currently owned by the Board is shown in Figure 6-68. The land within the Broadmeadows basin site is owned by the Housing Commission. The Board first approached the Housing Commission with a view to arranging transfer of the land in 1963, but by mid 1980 the transfer had still to be finalised.
The construction of the Broadmeadows basin is scheduled for the early/mid 1980s if funds permit. Part of the catchment area of the proposed basin has already been developed and much of the remaining area is zoned Reserved Living or Corridor A, and it is assumed that these areas will be developed in the coming years. There are no plans for the construction of a retarding basin at the Tullamarine site in the near future. Much of the land upstream of the site is zoned General Farming A and Conservation A (the Gellibrand Regional Park), which should ensure that residential development will be minimal. Two situations can be envisaged, however, which would necessitate the construction of a basin at this site: if the planning scheme was amended at some future date to allow extensive residential development to take place, and if the storage capacity of the Jacana Basin were substantially reduced. The Board intends to retain the Tullamarine site, and will acquire the balance of the land within the basin site as it becomes available.
As development proceeds in the upper parts of the basin that are zoned for residential purposes, consideration will be given to controlling flows along the tributary watercourses by the construction of local retarding storages. However, the existence of minor storages along such tributaries as the Broad Street Drain and tributary No 4363, will not substantially affect the need for the construction of a major basin on Yuroke Creek, or for the need to retain the Tullamarine basin site.
In 1980, a developer applied to the Board of Works for conditions relating to the provision of main drainage facilities for a proposed subdivision straddling the Broad Street Drain immediately downstream of Mickleham Road, Broadmeadows (Fig 6-7). Downstream of the proposed subdivision the Broad Street Drain is badly eroded (see Plate 9-20); gullying has occurred and bare vertical banks up to 10 metres high have developed. The Board was anxious that runoff from the proposed subdivision would not exacerbate the problem and informed the developer that "on-site detention of stormwater runoff will be required on the Board's Broad Street Drain traversing the land to minimise downstream erosion of the watercourse". The Board stipulated that two small retarding basins should be constructed within the existing drainage and recreation reserve (Fig 6-7), and that the basins should be designed and constructed by the developer to the Board's approval with costs being met by the developer. The basins were constructed in early/ mid 1981, and the works will vest in the Board by virtue of the provisions of Section 269A(4) of the MMBW Act 1958 (No 6310).
When Tullamarine Airport was being planned it was apparent that a new road link with the City would be required. In the MMBW's 1954 Planning Scheme provision had been made for a new highway running northwards along the valley of Moonee Ponds Creek from Flemington Road to Broadmeadows, and during the early 1960s the Country Roads Board had been planning to extend Bell Street to link up with the Calder Highway (Ref 1 ). It was decided, therefore, that a Freeway should be built along the line of these two planned routes, and then swing northward along the western side of Essendon Airport to Tullamarine (Fig 7-1 ). It was decided that the Country Roads Board would be responsible for the construction of the Freeway between Tullamarine and Bell Street and the Board of Works for the section between Bell Street and Flemington Road. The State Government agreed to the works undertaken by the Board being classified as a 'Special Project', which meant that the Government provided three-quarters of the necessary finance with the Board providing the balance. The construction of the Freeway commenced in January 1967.
For financial and other reasons it was considered to be impractical for the Freeway to follow the sinuous course of Moonee Ponds Creek, or to construct a large number of bridges across the creek. It was therefore decided that the creek would have to be realigned at three localities : between Flemington Road and Ormond Road, from Dawson Street to Evans Street, and in Bell Street area (figs 7-1 and 7-2). In addition, the construction of the Freeway necessitated modifications to three tributary drains. The realignment of the creek between Flemington Road and Ormond Road necessitated the extension of the Royal Park Drain, an underground section of the Coonans Road Main Drain had to be relocated to pass under the Freeway, and a section of the Melville Main Drain was undergrounded immediately upstream and downstream of the Freeway. The location of the various drainage works associated with the construction of the Freeway is shown in Figure 7-2.
In addition to the planned Freeway, there were also proposals for the construction of a railway line between the Airport and the existing Essendon -Broadmeadows line, and for the construction of an aero-train track between the Airport and the centre of the City. A Bill to authorise the construction of a railway line between Glenroy and the Airport was read before the Legislative Assembly on 27 June 1965. It was intended that a line should be built from the vicinity of Jacana Station westwards to Mickleham Road and then north-westwards alongside of the Freeway. The line would have bisected the Jacana Retarding Basin site, and the Board of Works was concerned that it would have impaired the functioning of the proposed basin. The Bill was not, however, passed by Parliament and the project lapsed.
Following the rejection of the proposal for a conventional rail link, the State Government gave approval to a consulting group of companies to carry out a feasibility study for a futuristic aero-train link between Tullamarine and the Central Business District of the City. The consultants proposed that the track should run along the western side of the Freeway. The Board of Works was not in favour of the proposal for financial and aesthetic reasons and the project was dropped.
Between Flemington Road and Ormond Road the Freeway was constructed across the floodplain of Moonee Ponds Creek necessitating the almost complete realignment of the watercourse (Plate 7-1 ). Work commenced on the realignment of the creek in January 1967, and the job was completed in the December of that year at a cost of $765 419. As reference to Plates 7-1 and 7-2 will show, a partially concrete-lined, embanked channel was constructed along the western side of the Freeway. Two types of lined channel were constructed (Fig 7-3). Immediately downstream of Ormond Road the channel invert is 10. 7 m (35 ft) wide and the lower 2.7 m (9 ft) of the banks are concrete lined (Plate 7-2A). From a point 191 m (627 ft) south of Ormond Road downstream to Flemington Road the channel invert is wider(24.4 m - 80 ft) and there is a 1.8 m -wide(6 ft), 0.9 m -deep (3 ft) concrete-lined centre channel (Plate 7-2 A and B).
The estimated discharge capacities and recurrence intervals for this section of the channel are given in Table 7-1. The values were obtained by the Unit Hydrograph Method assuming current planning zoning (see Appendix 8). The design discharge for both type sections is in excess of the one in a hundred year flow, and considerably in excess of the capacity of the 5,000 cusec channel downstream of Flemington Road.
A considerable amount of criticism has been levelled at the Board of Works over the design of this section of Moonee Ponds Creek. It has been criticised on the grounds that the channel is unnecessarily large, although few people have probably seen it during times of high flow (see Plate 7-3 and Fig 7-4), and as being aesthetically unpleasing because of the concrete lining. However, many critics have failed to appreciate the design constraints that were placed upon the Board. Prior to the construction of the Freeway, the 'natural' channel was incapable of accommodating flood flows, and the floodplain acted as a natural storage area (Plate 7-3). The construction of the Freeway, and the subsequent filling of parts of the floodplain severed by the Freeway, reduced the floodplain storage area to a minimum (Fig 7-4), and it was apparent that if frequent flooding of the Freeway and adjacent private land was to be avoided, the new channel had to be designed to convey all but the most severe flood flows within the confines of its banks.
The potential width of the channel that could be built was limited by the Freeway along one side and by private allotments, some with houses, along the other (Plate 7-1 ). In these circumstances the only practical solution was to construct a partially hard-lined channel. A fully grass-lined channel would have been incapable of conveying the required flows, grass producing far greater resistance to flow than concrete. A partially lined channel was also deemed to be necessary to prevent the channel invert and the lower banks from being eroded. In the realignment of the creek immediately upstream of Flemington Road in 1962, the channel design included a grass invert with a concrete lined centre channel. In this case the grass invert proved to be unsatisfactory because of its high susceptibility to erosion (see Section 5.2.6 and Plate 5-22). In view of the development that was anticipated within the Moonee Ponds Creek basin during the decade after the construction of the Freeway and the concomitant increase in the frequency of flood flows, the use of a grass invert in the creek realignment accompanying Freeway construction was regarded as being completely unsound, and a fully lined invert was seen as the only satisfactory alternative. The constructed creek occupies the minimum of space and has permitted the municipal councils to develop the former swamp lands as valuable recreational land.
Between Ormond Road and Evans Street, the projected line of the Freeway crossed Moonee Ponds Creek no fewer than eight times. In order to eliminate the need for four creek crossings, the creek was realigned to the east of the Freeway between Dawson Street and Hope Street (Plate 7-4; Fig 7-2). Because it was not possible to acquire one residential allotment, the realigned section has a sharp bend about half way along its length, which is far from desirable from a hydraulic point of view (Plates 7-4 and 7-5). During flood flows turbulence is generated at the bend which increases the likelihood of erosion if the flow is above the level of the concrete lining. A tragedy occurred at this spot during a flood in April 1977 when a person illegally canoeing down the creek capsized at the bend and was drowned.
Between Ormond Road and Dawson Street the existing course of the creek was retained, and the existing improvement works at Pattison Street (see Section 5.1.3 (b)) were incorporated into the new channel. A slight modification was made to the original design for this section of the creek in order to preserve an outcrop of Silurian rock on the eastern side of the creek approximately one hundred metres upstream of Ormond Road (Plate 7-6). The Director of the National Museum of Victoria requested that the outcrop should be preserved because it is the type of locality for the widespread rocks of the Melburnian Stage (Silurian) in Victoria. Rocks of this age form the bedrock of Melbourne, but fossil localities such as this are rare.
A detailed scientific investigation of this key outcrop has not yet been carried out. An on-site inspection was held by representatives of the National Museum and by officers of the Board of Works, and a mutually acceptable solution was arrived at. It was agreed that no alterations would be made to the eastern bank of the creek in the vicinity of the outcrop above the level of the concrete lining, which meant that less than a metre of the outcrop would be affected by the creek works. It was also agreed that care would be taken during the construction of the channel to ensure that the outcrop was not damaged.
The form of the channel and of the outcrop as they appear today is shown in Plate 7-6A, and the appearance of this section of the creek in 1902 and during the late 1950s in Plate 7-6B and C.The contrast between the barren nature of the creek around the turn of the century and its vegetation/debris-choked condition before the improvement works were carried out is particularly striking. The dimensions and form of the lined invert and lower banks between Ormond Road and Evans Street are identical to those of the section immediately downstream of Ormond Road (see Fig 7-3B). Along the realigned section of the creek upstream of Dawson Street two sets of small drop structures were constructed (Plate 7-5) to slow down flow velocities. For most of the distance between Ormond Road and Evans Street the channel is flanked by steep banks and maintenance tracks with concrete ramps leading down to the invert. The tracks have been constructed along one or both banks at varying heights above the level of the bank lining.
The work between Ormond Road and Evans Street was undertaken in two stages : Ormond Road to Dawson Street, which was issued to construction in February 1969 and completed in September 1971; and Dawson Street to Evans Street which was issued to construction in July 1967 and also completed in September 1971. The cost for the Ormond Road - Dawson Street section was $338 714 and the Dawson Street - Evans Street section $462 295.
The construction of the Freeway necessitated the realignment of the creek at Bell Street to accommodate the Freeway - Bell Street intersection (Fig 7-2; Plate 7-7}. The channel was partially hard-lined from the existing lined section at Avoca Crescent [ See Section 5.1.3 (f)] downstream to Reynard Street. Unfortunately, it was not possible to relocate the Essendon - Broadmeadows railway bridge, and the new channel passes under the bridge in a tight ·s· bend which is hydraulically far from ideal. The channel invert is dish shaped, and at a number of points along the channel there are energy dissipating drop structures (Fig 7-5; Plate 7-8). Discharge capacity/frequency estimates for the improved channel are given in Table 7-3.
The work between Reynard Street and Tate Street was undertaken in three stages. The Board gave approval for work to commence on the section near Reynard Street to just north of the Essendon - Broadmeadows railway line in December 1967. The job was completed in September 1971 at a cost of $252 700. Approval for work to commence on the other main section, from north of the railway line to Tate Street, was given in September 1967 and was also completed in September 1971. The cost for this section was $237, 738. The third stage of the project, the lining of the creek in the vicinity of Reynard Street, was issued to construction in March 1970 and was completed later in the year at a cost of approximately $111, 000.
In addition to the works required along Moonee Ponds Creek as a result of the construction of the Tullamarine Freeway, drainage works were also required along three of the tributary drains : the Royal Park Drain, the Melville Main Drain, and the Coonans Road Main Drain (Fig 7-2). The realignment of Moonee Ponds Creek between Flemington Road and Ormond Road necessitated the extension westwards of the Royal Park Drain (Fig 7 -6), the extension comprising a 7 ft to 8 ft diameter reinforced concrete pipe. Work on the extension commenced in March 1967 and was completed in February 1968 at a cost of $35, 651.
With respect to the Melville Main Drain, it was decided that it would be an opportune time to underground the drain for some distance upstream and downstream of the culvert that would have to be constructed under the Tullamarine Freeway. The undergrounding was extended upstream to the open section of horseshoe drain below McLean Street [ see Section 5.3.2 (c} ], and the open horseshoe drain was covered (Fig 7- 7 A and B). Downstream of the Freeway, the undergrounding was extended to a point midway between Hopetoun Street and the junction with Moonee Ponds Creek. The combined jobs were issued to construction in October 1967 and the work was completed in December 1968.
On receiving notification of the proposed works downstream of McLean Street, the City of Brunswick requested the Board to consider undergrounding the section of the creek between McLean Street and the Dunstan Reserve, noting that part of the wall of the pitched drain along this reach of the creek had recently collapsed. The Board of Works agreed that it would be logical to underground this reach of the creek in conjunction with the works to be undertaken downstream of McLean Street. The open pitched drain was demolished and replaced by a 10 ft x 7 ft 6 in horseshoe drain (Fig 7-7 C and D). The total cost of the two projects was $147,850. The construction of the Tullamarine Freeway necessitated the realignment of the undergrounded Coonans Road Main Drain between Moonee Ponds Creek and a point on Coonans Road midway between Lothian Street and Woodlands Road (Fig 7-8). The work was undertaken in 1968 at a cost of $142,500.
1 Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, 1968. "Tullamarine - freeway jet age", living City, 4, 8 - 13.
2 Talent, J A, 1967. "Sedimentary petrology and palaeontology", In, Geology of the Melbourne District, Victoria; Geological Survey of Victoria Bulletin No 59. Mines Department; Melbourne, 24 - 29.
A number of drainage works have been undertaken along Moonee Ponds Creek since the completion of the Tullamarine Freeway. The works were mainly undertaken to enable certain sections of the creek to convey flood flows more efficiently, and in order to minimise erosion. Since the Freeway was completed the creek has been partially concrete-lined between Evans Street and Gordon Street, Essendon and between Margaret and Gaffney Streets, Broadmeadows; has been reshaped between Pascoe Street and Lyons Street, Broadmeadows; and cleaned out and 'beautified' where it flows through Westmeadows Township (Fig 8-1). Works have also been carried out along some of the tributaries. These works have mainly involved the undergrounding of short sections of watercourses in areas that were being developed for residential purposes. In addition, maintenance works have been carried out along Moonee Ponds Creek from time to time. Such works have included the cleaning out of certain reaches of the creek, the construction of bank protection works, the reshaping of banks and minor realignments. These works are described separately in Section 9.
A number of the works that were undertaken by the Board along Moonee Ponds Creek and its tributaries during the 1970s have been the subject of considerable debate by local councils, conservation groups, and conservationally minded individuals. In keeping with trends elsewhere in Australia, there has been a growing concern for the environment in the Melbourne area, and local conservation and environment groups have become increasingly involved in issues relating to the utilisation and management of 'urban creeks' and adjoining land. Such groups are generally opposed to the undergrounding or concrete lining of watercourses, which is in marked contrast to public attitudes during the 1950s and 1960s when the Board of Works received numerous requests from local councils and associations, and from individuals, for creeks to be undergrounded or hard lined (see Section 5.1 and 5.3). In the following sub-sections details of the works that were undertaken along Moonee Ponds Creek and its tributaries during the 1970s are given, and public attitudes towards the various projects are discussed.
In late 1970, the Board of Works Sewerage Committee approved a plan for the improvement of Moonee Ponds Creek between Evans Street and Gordon Street, Essendon (Figs 8-1 and 8-2). Improvements to this section of the creek were considered to be necessary for two main reasons : to control the severe erosion that was taking place at a number of points, and to upgrade the hydraulic capacity of this section of the creek to match that of the improved sections immediately upstream and downstream [ see Section 5.3.1 (a) and (e) ]. It was noted that as long as the section of the creek between Evans and Gordon Streets remained under capacity, the hydraulic efficiency of the adjoining improved sections would be impaired.
Because of the lack of space available, it was decided that a partially concrete-lined channel would have to be constructed. The job was issued to construction in December 1971 at an estimated cost of $197,021, this cost including provision for the undergrounding of a short section of the Melville Main Drain outlet. The form of the channel is similar to that of the improved section immediately downstream that was constructed when the Tullamarine Freeway was built (see Section 7.3). The concrete invert is 6.1m (20 ft) wide, the banks are battered to a 1 in 1 1 /2 slope, and the lower 3.0 m (10 ft) or 4.9 m ( 16 ft) of the banks are concrete lined (Type Sections 1 and 3 - Fig 8-2; Plate 8-1 ). The existing improvement works at Waxman Parade [See Section 5.1.3 (d)] were incorporated into the new channel (Type Section 2, Fig 8-2). The existing concrete invert was widened and the newly excavated western bank was partially concrete lined, but the pitchers on the eastern bank were retained (Plate 8-1 B). Maintenance tracks were constructed along the bank tops of the improved channel for most of its length and a number of access ramps leading down to the creek invert were built. The works were completed in December 1972.
The cost of the project escalated, the final cost of $293,879 being some forty-nine per cent in excess of the original estimate. Reasons given for the escalation included :
• Foundation difficulties along the length of the invert; up to four feet of waterlogged silt had to be replaced with imported compacted rock fill.
• The need to use more expensive construction materials than envisaged when laying the concrete batters because of the unsuitable nature of the silty bank materials.
• The need to import fill to fill batters and badly scoured sections at the rear of Waxman Parade.
• All creek diversions had to be built into the batters because of the confined nature of the channel between steep banks, and full width invert pours were necessary. This resulted in additional costs for the reinstatement of diversion trenches that had not been allowed for.
• Because of the friable nature of the ground and also because of vandalism, the lengths of the diversion trenches were relatively short which prolonged the time required to lay the concrete invert.
• Some unexpected difficulties due to the release of water from Greenvale Reservoir.
The discharge capacities and frequency estimates for this section of the channel are given in Table 8-1. As can be seen, both bankfull and design flow discharges are in excess of the 1 in 100 year flow.
In July 1972, the Board of Works received a letter from the Broadmeadows City Engineer expressing concern about a number of gum trees that were being undermined on the east bank of Moonee Ponds Creek just downstream of Fawkner Street, Westmeadows (Plate 8-2A). The City Engineer felt that it would be unfortunate if the gums were lost, and enquired whether the Board would be prepared to preserve the trees by reconstructing the bank around the exposed tree roots. He informed the Board that the Broadmeadows Council was "attempting to keep the Westmeadows area as much as possible in its original state, to prevent it appearing as though it has been overrun by suburbia."
The Board of Works agreed to protect the trees, and in late 1972 reconstructed the eroded bank using rock gab ions (Plate 8-2B). Broken paving stones were used to fill the gabions, which not only reduced costs, but made them aesthetically more attractive. The gabions have successfully protected the trees, although during the May 1974 storm undermining caused some of the gabions to sag, exposing the alluvial bank behind (Plate 8-2C). The eroded bank was subsequently battered back and grassed (Plate 8-2D), but it was decided that there was no necessity to realign the gabions. The gabions sagged because they lack an adequate foundation.
As part of its policy of preserving and enhancing the environment of the Westmeadows area, the Broadmeadows Council approached the Board of Works in late 1972 concerning the possibility of beautifying Moonee Ponds Creek where it flows through Westmeadows Township. In particular, the council indicated that it hoped to make a feature of the old bluestone bridge over the creek at Fawkner Street (Fig 8-3 A and B). The Board of Works Engineer-in-Chief informed the council that the Board would be willing to clean out and improve the creek. Work commenced on the project in March 1974, and covered the section of the creek between Swan Avenue and the eastern end of Forman Street (Fig 8-1). The work undertaken included :
• The cleaning out of weeds, rushes and debris from the creek bed.
• The eradication of noxious weeds.
• The repair of eroded banks - rock fill was used to stabilise some banks.
• The grading of steep banks to provide easier and safer access.
• The planting of graded and reconstructed areas with grass, and the planting of numerous trees and shrubs (the latter in conjunction with the Broadmeadows Council).
• Improvement of council drain inlets - either open spoon drains or side entry pits with underground pipes leading to the creek bed were constructed depending on the nature of the site.
Care was taken throughout to avoid damage to trees and to disturb other vegetation as little as possible. The appearance of the creek prior to the work being undertaken and immediately after it had been completed can be seen in Plate 8-3. One resident, whose property adjoined the creek immediately downstream of the improved section, complained to the Board of Works that the beautification works had increased the risk of his property being flooded. The Board concurred and decided to increase the capacity of the channel adjacent to, and immediately downstream of, his property, and in mid 1974 extended the improved channel downstream to near the eastern end of Black Street (Fig 8-1 ). The total cost of the improvement works between Swan Avenue and Black Street was $54 000, or $28.00 per linear metre.
The Board of Works received numerous complaints between 1940 and 1970 concerning bank erosion along the section of Moonee Ponds Creek between Margaret Street and Gaffney Street Footbridge, Pascoe Vale. As along other sections of the creek, title boundaries generally extended down to the water's edge, and a number of allotment owners progressively lost part of their land (Plate 8-4). The Board's 1953 scheme for the improvement and realignment of Moonee Ponds Creek (See Section 5) included this section of the creek, but because of financial constraints the scheme was never implemented. The Board continued its existing policy of repairing and protecting the most severely affected sections of bank.
As noted in Section 5.1.2, in early 1947 a short section of eroded bank was reconstructed and the toe protected with beaching stones just upstream of Gaffney Street Footbridge (Fig 5-4A). In 1956, rocks were placed to protect the banks at several localities in the vicinity of Main, Bass, Herbert, Marks and Adelaide Streets (for example, see Plate 8-4), and in early 1962 a short section of the creek was realigned just downstream of Gaffney Street Footbridge to protect the rear of a number of allotments on Somerset Street [ See Section 5.1.3 (c) ]. In 1971, bank protection works were undertaken at the rear of No 23 Stewart Street, Pascoe Vale. Undercutting on the outside of a bend had caused the bank to slip (Plate 8-5A), undermining a fence and threatening to undermine a large gum tree. The Board of Works decided that remedial action was urgently required because there was the danger that the tree might fall on to a house. The bank was reshaped and the toe protected by rocks (Plate 8-58) at a cost of $5,250.
The Jacana Retarding Basin afforded some protection to this section of the creek by attenuating the peaks of storm flows, but may have exacerbated erosion during a number of storms by prolonging the duration of medium level flows along the creek. It became apparent that as urban development within the upper part of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin proceeded, the situation would deteriorate and permanent works would be required, and it was decided that the most effective solution would be to partially concrete line the channel.
The design of the channel provided for the creek to be reshaped and partially concrete lined between Margaret and Gaffney Streets and for its realignment at two localities: at Herbert Street, where a tight loop would be cut off; and immediately upstream of Pascoe Vale Road, where the creek would be straightened. The Broadmeadows Council approved the proposed realignment provided that a footbridge was constructed over the creek at Margaret Street and that there was no infringement of existing sports grounds.
The design of the improvement works attracted a considerable amount of criticism. The Broadmeadows Environment Committee (BECOMM) and the Environment Standing Committee of the North-West Regional Council for Social Development wrote to the Board of Works protesting at the proposal to partially concrete line the creek. The Environment Study Committee suggested that bluestone pitchers would be more appropriate, while BECOMM demanded that all work on the project should cease and an alternative design, avoiding hard-lining, should be investigated. BECOMM sent copies of their letter of protest to a number of public authorities and government officers, including the Premier of Victoria, the Victorian Ministry for Conservation and the Federal Minister of the Media. Reasons forwarded by BECOMM for wishing to retain the creek in its existing form included : visual and aesthetic appeal, maintenance of native flora and fauna, lower E coli levels, prevention of erosion downstream from the concreted sections, and educational benefits for the children of Broadmeadows and other municipalities. At the time that the protest was made, however, no representative of BECOMM had visited the Board of Works to discuss the reasons for the Board's choice of design and the constraints within which the Board had to work. Because of the publicity that the issue attracted, the Main Drainage Division of the Board of Works prepared a report on the subject, a modified version of which was printed in The Broadmeadows Observer of 26 November, 1975. The Board pointed out that erosion was already a serious problem and that as urbanisation proceeded upstream the frequency and size of flood flows would increase, and that if improvement works were not undertaken flooding and erosion problems would be exacerbated. It was noted that although the construction of additional retarding basins might alleviate the situation, it would not solve all the problems. The Board, therefore, considered that it was essential that permanent creek works be undertaken, and that the type of treatment chosen would need to be stable under a wide range of flow conditions to ensure that design criteria could be satisfied. Other factors that the Board felt should be taken into account included :
• That as little land as possible should be acquired from adjacent property owners.
• That sharp bends should be avoided in order to prevent excessive erosion and siltation.
• That low flow velocities should be adequate to prevent the deposition of sediment, the removal of which results in high maintenance costs.
• That materials should be readily available and that cost of delivery should not be excessive.
• That materials should be easy and inexpensive to place.
• That materials should be relatively resistant to damage by water and by vandalism.
• That maintenance costs should be kept to a minimum.
• That dangers to health should be eliminated, e.g. stagnant polluted water, habitats for vermin.
Given the objectives and constraints listed above, it was the Board's opinion that the most appropriate design would be a channel with a concrete-lined invert and partially concrete-lined banks. Such a channel would be stable, self-flushing, require minimal land acquisition, and require minimal maintenance. The channel was designed so that long duration flows from the Jacana Retarding Basin would be contained within the lined portion. It was accepted that there was the possibility that some damage to the grass banks might occur during the occasional flows that would overtop the lined portion of the channel.
The job was issued to construction in April 1975 and completed in early 1977 at a cost of approximately one million dollars. Estimates of discharge capacities and frequency for the improved channel are given in Table 8-2, the land that had to be acquired to accommodate the new channel is shown in Fig 8-3A, and a type section of the new channel is shown in Fig 8-3B. Two energy dissipating drop structures were installed in the channel where it cuts across the tight loop at Herbert Street (Fig 8-3A; Plate 8-6), and a number of concrete maintenance ramps leading down to the invert were constructed. The aerial photographs in Plate 8-7 show the character and alignment of the creek between Margaret and Gaffney Streets prior to and immediately after the construction of the improvement works.
Some of the alternative solutions that were proposed would have been far more expensive both in terms of initial construction costs and regular maintenance costs, and would not have satisfied some of the fundamental design criteria listed above. At least one proposal would have required the removal of a number of private houses. As the Board pointed out, the problems of Moonee Ponds Creek could not be solved by simply landscaping the bed and banks of the creek.
A suggestion that bluestone pitchers should be used to line the creek instead of concrete was a completely impractical proposition. The work would have required some 100 000 pitchers, but since 1952 only a limited and intermittent supply of reclaimed pitchers has been available. Even if a supply of pitchers had been available, the cost of cutting and setting would have been prohibitively expensive. As part of an investigation into the possibility of improving the aesthetic appearance of concrete lined channels, a number of experiments were carried out along one section of the new channel. At one locality rectangular grooves were cut into the surface of the concrete lining the bank (Plate 8-8A and B), while at another locality the surface was moulded to the form shown in Plate 8-8 C and D, and coloured with a wax impregnated blue pigment. Both types of treatment are more expensive than conventional concrete lining. One or two extra hands are required to groove concrete, adding an extra five per cent to the cost, while the addition of pigment raises the cost by approximately nine per cent.
As a result of the debate concerning the works between Margaret and Gaffney Streets, the Board of Works initiated the formation of a committee that would act as a vehicle whereby “the recreational potential of the valley between Strathmore Heights and Westmeadows can be planned to balance the needs and wishes of as many interests as possible." Initially, the committee was composed of the following representatives: the Broadmeadows Council representative to the Board of Works (the convenor), another Broadmeadows Councillor, City of Broadmeadows engineering staff, two local interest representatives, a representative from the Commonwealth Department of Environment, Housing and Community Development, a representative from the Victorian Ministry for Conversation, and the Board of Works Engineer-in-Chief and Chief Engineer of Main Drains.
In May 1975, the Board of Works received a request from the City of Broadmeadows to beautify the creek between Pascoe Street (the downstream end of the Westmeadows improvements) and the Broadmeadows - Essendon Railway Trestle Bridge (Fig 8-1). The council informed the Board that it had been allocated $85,000 for such a project from the Commonwealth Department of Urban and Regional Development under its Area Improvement Program. The requested beautification works were viewed by the City of Broadmeadows as part of a broader strategy, and the council employed a firm of consultants to "examine the land adjacent to Moonee Ponds Creek and Yuroke Creek within the City of Broadmeadows and make recommendations as to its development for recreational purposes and for its overall landscape treatment" (Ref 1). The consultants presented their report to the council in May 1976 and recommended that the council should, inter alia:
• Resolve to develop the open space along Moonee Ponds Creek and the Yuroke Creek as continuous landscaped parklands for both active and passive recreational purposes, and should
• Negotiate with the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works for an early agreement of the proposals for development in relation to flood control, pollution, landscape treatment along the banks and maintenance.
In general, the report recommended that there should be "a minimum of disturbance to the natural features of the creeks".
With respect to the council's request to beautify the creek, the Board of Works convinced the council that there was no necessity for improvement works within the Jacana Retarding Basin, but agreed to design and undertake improvement works for the section of the creek between Pascoe and Lyons Streets (Fig 8-4A) if funds were made available. The Board had no plans to undertake major works along this part of the creek, for although the banks were being eroded at a number of points, there was little threat to private property.
The Board of Works submitted plans for the improvement works to the Broadmeadows Council who forwarded them to the Department of Urban and Regional Development for approval. The Board proposed that the creek should be cleaned out, the banks battered to a 1 to 1.5 slope, and that a 1.2 m - wide (4 ft) 0.6 m - deep (2 ft) concrete conduit should be installed along the centre-line of the creek to convey low flows (Fig 8-48). The installation of a lined centre channel was proposed in order to reduce recurring maintenance expenditure; such a channel would have prevented weed growth, and minimised erosion and siltation. The Board also proposed that the meander loop opposite Riddell Street should be cut off to improve the flow and that the creek should be realigned opposite Eyre Street to facilitate the construction of a proposed road extension (Fig 8-4A).
The plans were rejected by the Department of Urban and Regional Development who considered the ‘concrete lining' to be environmentally unacceptable. The Department suggested that alternative solutions should be investigated, and allocated a sum of $15,000 for the purpose. The matter was referred to the Joint Steering Committee, that had been recently formed (see Section 8-4). The Committee, utilising the grant from the Department of Urban and Regional Development, appointed a consultant to "provide detailed open space and recreation planning services within a study corridor bounded by Margaret Street. upstream to the Westmeadows area along Moonee Ponds Creek". The consultant presented a report to the Committee in 1976 (Ref 2). The report made a number of recommendations concerning the treatment of the creek, some of which were not acceptable to the Board of Works. As a result the report has never been published.
Following discussions by the Steering Committee, the Board of Works submitted a revised plan for the beautification of Moonee Ponds Creek between Pascoe Street and Lyons Street (Fig 8-4 C). The major revisions included: gentler 1 in 3 batters; a relatively narrow unlined invert; and the retention of the meander loop opposite Riddell Street, although it was proposed that a flood channel should be cut across the neck of the meander loop. The new plan was approved by the Department of Urban and Regional Development, and work commenced on the project in late April 1976. The cost of the project, $86,124, was met by the Department of Urban and Regional Development. The state of the creek immediately before work commenced, and approximately twelve months after completion, is shown in Plate 8-9A to C.
Unfortunately, as predicted, erosion and siltation have been recurring problems and a considerable amount of money has had to be expended on maintenance. Erosion and siltation were particularly severe during the Easter storm of 1977 (Plate 8-9 D). The combined effects of erosion and deposition have caused the abandonment of the meander loop, even during low flow (Plate 8-10). The flood channel is now the regular waterway and the meander loop is almost completely silted up; in fact, the only time that flow now occurs within the loop is during a flood, which is virtually the opposite to what was planned! Bank erosion from overland flow has been a recurring problem along the improved section between Lyons Street and Pascoe Street (Plate 8-11 ). It has proved difficult to establish a good grass cover on the banks along some reaches and rills have developed. Once initiated the rills tend to be self-perpetuating and bank repair work has been necessary at several points to prevent more serious damage occurring. In early 1977, bank improvement works were extended for a short distance downstream of Lyons Street. The western bank of Moonee Ponds Creek was lined with basalt blocks, and a second set of blocks was set back from the creek to protect a bicycle track (Plate 8- 12).
During the late 1960s and the 1970s, a number of improvement works were carried out along some of the tributaries of Moonee Ponds Creek. The works mainly involved the undergrounding of short sections of watercourses that had deteriorated within existing urban areas, and the undergrounding of sections of watercourses in the areas that were to be developed for residential purposes. The location of the various works is shown in Figure 8-5 and summary details of the projects are given in Appendix D.
In August 1968, the Board of Works received a request from the Committee of Management for the Mount Royal Special Hospital for the Aged, Parkville, to divert the Royal Park Drain to allow a new multi-storey hostel block to be constructed. The Board of Works agreed to divert the watercourse if the Hospital Authorities were prepared to bear the costs of the works. The Hospital Authorities accepted this condition, and the Board of Works installed an underground drain to the north of the existing creek during the first half of 1970 (Fig 8-5; Appendix D). The total cost of the project was $35,413. In July 1975, the Board of Works received a letter from the Public Works Department requesting conditions for the undergrounding of the Royal Park Drain through the grounds of the Mount Royal Hospital and the Parkville Psychiatric Unit between Poplar Road and the underground section that was constructed in 1970. The Board's Sewerage Committee approved the construction of an underground drain along this section of the watercourse provided that one-third of the costs were met by the Hospital Authorities. The work was undertaken during July and August 1977 at a cost of $33,820 (See Appendix D).
The Board of Works received complaints from the City of Coburg and local residents concerning flooding that occurred along the Melville Main Drain at the junction of Moreland Road and Shamrock Street in January 1970 and January 1971. An investigation conducted by the Board indicated that the capacity of the underground drain immediately upstream and downstream of Moreland Road, which was constructed in 1930 and 1938 (see Appendix A), was approximately eighty percent of current design standards, the difference being attributed to changes in catchment characteristics and to modifications in design assumptions. Supplementation of the drain was not considered to be necessary. However, it was noted that due to omission of part of the work designed to be constructed in 1930, and an apparent oversight to take this omission into account when further undergrounding was undertaken in 1938, the full effective capacity of the drain could not be utilised without the drain upstream from Moreland Road operating under pressure head. This resulted in :
(i} back flow occurring through side entry pits and manhole covers in and upstream of Moreland Road.
(ii) Local floodwater being unable to enter the main drain at the upstream end of Moreland Road.
(iii) Floodwaters from (i) and (ii) flowing overland along the route of the underground drain.
It was decided that an appreciable increase in the effective performance of the drain could be achieved by reconstructing a short section of the drain on the southern side of Moreland Road (see Fig 8-5). The project was approved by the Board's Sewerage Committee in October 1970, and the job was issued to Construction in May 1972. A short section of rectangular 2 692 mm (8 ft 1 O in) x 1600 mm (5 ft 3 in) concrete drain was installed (Appendix D). The job was completed in September 1972 at a cost of $24,000. Minor flooding was reported in the area during storms in April 1977 and January 1980, but it is doubtful whether the Melville Main Drain was overtaxed on either occasion; it would appear likely that the local drainage system was unable to collect the surface runoff adequately and convey it to the Board's drain.
Between 1930 and the late 1950s numerous complaints were received concerning the eroded and foul state of Five Mile Creek downstream of Pascoe Vale Road. In 1935, the Essendon Council cut a 300-foot long channel in the bed of the creek immediately downstream of Pascoe Vale Road (see Appendix A), and the Board of Works subsequently constructed a timber weir to control erosion. Proposals to divert the creek to Moonee Ponds Creek by a shorter route, to underground the creek, and to line the creek did not materialise. In mid-1969, the Board of Works received an enquiry requesting the conditions under which the Board would be prepared to underground Five Mile Creek through private land immediately downstream of Pascoe Vale Road. The Board replied to the effect that it was prepared to carry out the work if the cost was borne by the landowner.
The work was issued to Construction in February 1972 and completed three months later at a cost of $34,310 (Fig 8-5; Appendix D). At the downstream end of the underground pipe, a short transitionary section of open channel was constructed; part of this channel was fully lined with large rock spalls set in cement, part partially hard-lined, and part open earth channel.
As noted in Section 5.3.2 (f), residential development within the upper parts of the Westbreen Creek catchment during the 1950s and the subsequent undergrounding of the Acacia Street, West Street and Cardinal Road Drains, exacerbated drainage problems along Westbreen Creek. Flood flows became more frequent and severe, and bank erosion became more pronounced. The creek was undergrounded between Northumberland Street and Rhodes Parade, and between the Essendon - Broadmeadows railway line in the early/mid 1960s, and additional works were carried out along the creek in the late 1960s and the mid/late 1970s. These latter works are described below. In l968, the City of Coburg approved the subdivision of a piece of land straddling the meandering Westbreen Creek near Darryl Street into eight allotments. In order to make the allotments more useable, the developer requested the Board of Works to straighten the creek, and to concrete-line the invert. The Board agreed to design and construct the works at cost to the developer, and the project was completed in November 1968 (Fig 8-5; Appendix D).
In the mid 1960s, and again in early 1974, the City of Coburg approached the Board of Works concerning the possibility of constructing culverts on Westbreen Creek at Pleasant Street and Essex Street. The Board advised the council that it considered that it was "neither desirable nor practicable to construct isolated culverts along this section of the creek, but that the correct solution would be to extend the undergrounding of the creek from its present termination on the east side of Northumberland Road, up to and across Essex Street".
Erosion was becoming an increasing problem along the watercourse between these two streets, and the Board decided that the undergrounding of this section of creek should be placed on its list of works. In February 1975, the City of Coburg informed the Board that it would be appreciated if the work could be carried out as soon as possible. The job was issued to construction in February 1976, and completed in the May of that year at a cost of $77 947. A 2.1m diameter reinforced concrete pipe was laid along an existing drainage and sewerage easement (Appendix D) and the old bed of the creek was filled, thus enabling property owners to make greater use of their land.
Erosion continued apace along the 'unimproved' section of the creek between Essex Street and the lined channel constructed in 1968. The erosion was particularly severe immediately downstream of the lined section. Several allotments were affected, and the Board received requests from residents to improve this section of the creek. However, because of its relative inaccessibility, regular maintenance operations were not possible, and it was decided that the most satisfactory solution would be to relocate and underground the creek between Essex Street and Arndt Street (Fig 8-5).
In the meantime, the City of Coburg decided to develop a linear parkway along this section of the creek, linking Essex Street with the KW Joyce Reserve, which was being developed at that time. The council proceeded to clean up the creek banks prior to laying a walking track. However, some of the land that the council cleared was privately owned, the title boundaries of some allotments extending to the watercourse even though the fences were set further back. Not surprisingly, the landowners did not wish to have a public path across their properties and were not prepared to donate or sell the land to the council. The affected residents demanded that the council cease work on their land, and also requested the council to relinquish their opposition to the Board of Works plan to underground this section of the creek. The residents forwarded copies of their petition to the MMBW, to their local MLA, and to the Minister for Conservation. In their petition, the residents listed three reasons for wanting the creek undergrounded :
• that it was a health hazard, particularly with respect to the potential danger of children contracting hepatitis,
• that while it remained open and was used as a rubbish dump it was dangerous for children,
• that flooding was likely to occur (as in 1963 and 1978), and commented that "a minority group should not be able to 'over-ride' the wishes of the general public".
The minority group referred to was, presumably, the Pascoe Vale Naturalists Club, who had earlier written to the Board of Works urging it to abandon its plans to underground the watercourse. As a result of the residents' actions, the Coburg Council decided to abandon its plan to develop a linear park between Essex Street and the KW Joyce Reserve, and acceded to the wishes of the local residents with respect to the undergrounding of the creek between Essex Street and the upstream end of the existing lined channel. The council wrote to the Board of Works requesting that the undergrounding be carried out as soon as possible. The Board complied with the request, and the work was carried out during the first half of 1979 at a cost of approximately a quarter of a million dollars.
The controversy over the mode of development of this section of the creek clearly illustrates that council policies may radically change over relatively short periods of time, and that the attitudes of people living in close proximity to watercourses may be very different to those of people living further away. (See, A Plan for a Park, Development Plan for K W Joyce Reserve City of Coburg. Preston Institute of Technology, June 1976.)
Between mid 1975 and early 1977, the lower end of Westbreen Creek was undergrounded in conjunction with the improvements that were being undertaken along Moonee Ponds Creek between Gaffney Street and Margaret Street (see Section 8.4). A 2.7 metre diameter reinforced concrete pipe was installed between the junction with Moonee Ponds Creek and the existing underground drain at Park Street (Appendix D).
In June 1974, the Coburg City Engineer contacted the Board of Works concerning the possibility of undergrounding the West Street Drain through the KW Joyce Reserve. The City Engineer reported that the watercourse was quite deeply incised and that the banks were badly eroded, and commented that in his opinion the section of the drain was "potentially dangerous for workmen, children, and others who may be in the area".
The Board of Works advised the council that because of the backlog of what it considered to be more urgent works it was unlikely that the cost of undergrounding this section of the West Street Drain could be justified for a number of years. The Board suggested that the council might approach the Commonwealth Department of Urban and Regional Development for funds under their Area Improvement Scheme. The Council made an application to the Department and in November 1975 was granted $30,000. The Board of Works agreed to undertake the work which was completed in July 1976 at a cost of $57,617, the balance being borne by the Board (Fig 8~5; Appendix D).
As described in Section 5.3.2 (h), parts of the Mascoma Street Drain were undergrounded in 1965 and 1966 to enable residential subdivisions to proceed. In mid 1969, the intervening section of drain between Vickers Avenue and Caravella Crescent (Fig 8-5) was undergrounded for similar reasons at cost to the developer (see Appendix D). In March 1974 the Board of Works received a complaint from a local resident concerning erosion at the outlet of the underground section of the drain. The Board decided that remedial action was necessary, and installed a five-metre length of 1,650 mm reinforced concrete pipe and constructed a short length of transitionary pitcher-lined channel (Appendix D). The work was issued to construction in November 1974 and completed in March 1975 at a cost of $4 481. In July 1976, the Strathmore Progress Association requested the Board of Works to underground the drain through the parkland between the rear of houses in De Havilland Avenue and Moonee Ponds Creek for aesthetic and safety reasons. The Board informed the Association that it would be unable to justify undertaking such a project for a number of years. The issue was raised again in late 1979 by Essendon Council's Area Commissioner, and in April 1980 the City of Essendon formally requested the Board to prepare an estimate for the job. The Board estimated that the cost of the work through the council land would be $51 000 with an additional $4 000 for the short section of the drain that would traverse Board owned land adjacent to Moonee Ponds Creek. In accordance with the Board's policy concerning the undergrounding of drains through council parks, the council was informed that they would be expected to contribute towards the cost of the undergrounding of the drain through the council owned land. The Council has accepted the Board's offer and it is anticipated that the drain will be constructed during the latter half of 1981 .
The Board’s policy with respect to the undergrounding of Board drains and watercourses - where they traverse council parks or reserves within fully developed or partially developed catchments, if the work is requested solely or mainly for the improvement of the park or reserve - is that the council must contribute towards the cost of the work. Between 1 July 1980 and 30 June 1981. councils were required to contribute forty-four per cent of the cost, and from 1 July 1981 will be required to contribute thirty-three and one-third percent.
In July 1976, a request was received from a developer concerning the conditions under which the Board of Works would be prepared to relocate and underground a section of the Widford Road Drain to enable residential construction to proceed on a subdivision at Karin Crescent, Broadmeadows. The relocation and undergrounding of the watercourse was required to enable more effective use to be made of some of the allotments. The Board agreed to undertake the work at cost to the developer. The works involved the construction of an underground drain, an open earth channel, a concrete-lined channel, and a rock-lined outlet structure at the downstream end of the underground pipe. The hard lining at the outlet of the pipe was considered necessary because of the relatively steep grade of the watercourse. The job was issued to construction in March 1979 and completed three months later at a cost of approximately $85,000.
(h) Railway Crescent Diversion Drain, Broadmeadows. During the late 1960s it became apparent that the planned development of extensive areas within the upper part of the Railway Crescent Drain catchment would overtax the drain, and that a diversion drain would eventually have to be constructed. In 1969, the Housing Commission advised the Board of Works that it planned to commence road design for part of the area, and in mid 1970 requested the Board to proceed with the design and construction of a diversion drain before the road network was established. The Board of Works informed the Housing Commission that it was prepared to construct a diversion drain, but was not in a position to finance the work and requested that the Housing Commission bear the cost.
The diversion drain was completed in June 1972 at a cost of $201 204. Between Pascoe Vale Road and Ripplebrook Drive, an underground drain was installed, while between Ripplebrook Drive and Yuroke Creek a fully concrete-lined channel was constructed (Fig 8-5; Appendix D; Plate 8-13). A fully concrete-lined channel, with several drop structures, was deemed to be necessary downstream of Ripplebrook Drive because of the steep gradient and highly erodible nature of the bed and bank materials.
(i) Broad Street Drain, Broadmeadows. In October 1970, the Broadmeadows City Engineer requested the Board of Works to advise under what conditions it would be prepared to underground the whole or part of the Board Street Drain between Kenny Street and Moonee Ponds Creek. Flooding was a recurring problem along this section of the drain, the narrow bridge at Raleigh Street obstructing the passage of flood flows.
The Board advised that it would be prepared to underground the drain at cost to the council. The Board estimated that it would cost in the order of $29 000 to underground the drain between Moonee Ponds Creek and Raleigh Street, and in the order of $100 000 to underground it between Moonee Ponds Creek and Kenny Street. The council chose the less expensive of the two options. The work was undertaken in early 1972 at a final cost of $34 310. (see Fig 8-5; Appendix D). The only other work that has been undertaken to date along the Broad Street Drain has been the construction of two small retarding basins immediately downstream of Mickleham Road (Fig 6-7). Details of this project are given in Section 6-4.
Works on Booths Drain were undertaken between 1969 and 1979 to enable residential subdivisions to be developed, and were at cost to the developers. In mid 1969 a culvert was constructed under Bamford Avenue (Fig 8-5), and in late 1973 the drain was undergrounded from Bamford Avenue downstream to Moonee Ponds Creek. The undergrounding was extended upstream to Hillcrest Road in late 1978/early 1979 to enable Stage 4 of the Hillcrest Estate to proceed (Appendix D).
(k) Otway Crescent Drain, Broadmeadows. Between 1973 and 1975, a considerable length of the Otway Crescent Drain was undergrounded in conjunction with the development of the Housing Commission's Broadmeadows Estate. The works were financed by the Housing Commission. The work was undertaken in four stages : from Pascoe Vale Road to Thorpedale Avenue, from Thorpedale Avenue to Glenelg Street, from Glenelg Street to near Somerton Road, and from the Eastern Railway Line to Barry Road. A section of open drain that was constructed between the Eastern Railway line and Pascoe Vale Road during the first stage of the work was undergrounded during the fourth stage. At the downstream end of the underground section of the drain, a 150 metre-long partially concrete-lined transitionary channel was constructed in order to prevent erosion from taking place immediately downstream of the pipe outlet (Plate 8-14A). Rock mattresses were placed at the downstream end of the lined channel, and above the lined channel where it passes under the Barry Road Bridge, for erosion protection, but they have not been entirely successful
In 1971, a culvert was constructed on the Shankland Drain immediately downstream of Somerton Road (Fig 8-5). The culvert was required to pass the drain under an embankment that was being constructed to carry the 54 in - diameter Greenvale Reservoir Inlet Pipe. A 69 in - diameter reinforced concrete pipe was installed. At the upstream end, the pipe connected with an existing bluestone culvert under Somerton Road (Appendix D).
In late 1973, the Shire of Bulla informed the Board that it intended to reconstruct Somerton Road, and that this would require the extension of the culvert that had been constructed under the water main embankment. In May 1976, the Board informed the Shire of Bulla that it was prepared to allow the Shire to design and construct (to Board approval) the culvert extension. The existing 69 in - diameter culvert was extended through the bluestone culvert and under the newly constructed section of Somerton Road, and an additional 84 in - diameter floodway culvert was provided (Appendix D). The latter culvert was required to prevent water ponding behind the new embankment. Although the works were designed and constructed by the Shire of Bulla, they vest in the Board of Works.
The land within the catchments of the Shankland Drain and the Somerton Reservoir Overflow Drain to the south of Somerton Road and to the west of Pascoe Vale Road is, for the most part, owned by the Housing Commission of Victoria and will eventually be developed for residential purposes. In February 1979, the Board of Works offered to provide main drainage facilities for Stage 3 of the Housing Commission's Callan Estate. The offer made by the Board was accepted by the Housing Commission. The Shankland Drain will be undergrounded from its junction with Yuroke Creek to just upstream of the Somerton Reservoir Overflow Drain (Fig 8-5), and the Somerton Reservoir Overflow Drain will be undergrounded from the Shankland Drain, through the Callan Estate to just west of Pascoe Vale Road (Appendix D). It was decided to underground the drains because of the potentially erodible nature of the terrain that they traverse. Work commenced on the project in late 1980 and was completed in March 1981.
1 Heller, R et al, 1976. Moonee Ponds Creek open space study. City of Broadmeadows; Melbourne.
2 Scott and Furphy Engineers Pty Ltd, 1976. Moonee Ponds Creek and environs study. MMBW; Melbourne.
Responsibility for the control and management of 'drainage and rivers' within the metropolitan area passed from the municipal councils to the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works with the proclamation of the Metropolitan Drainage and Rivers Act (No 3284) m October 1923. The Metropolitan Drainage and Rivers Act was introduced because of confusion concerning responsibility for undertaking improvement and maintenance works along the Yarra and other metropolitan watercourses. Clause 60 of the MMBW Act 1890, apparently gave the Board certain powers, stating, inter alia, that :
All the bed soil and banks of the River Yarra Yarra and of all other public rivers creeks and watercourses within the metropolis (except so much thereof as is vested in the Melbourne Harbour Trust Commissioners the Victorian Railway Commissioners or the Corporations of the City of Melbourne)- shall without any conveyance assignment or transfer be and become vested in the Board upon trust for the purposes respectively of supplying water to the inhabitants of the metropolis of providing for the sewerage and drainage of the metropolis and the commerce and recreation of the inhabitants of the metropolis ...
The extent of the Board's rights and powers under Clause 60 was never clearly defined, and the situation was further complicated in 1905 with the introduction of the Water Act 1905 (No 2016), which vested the water of all streams in the Crown. The Board sought legal opinion, and Mr Weigall, K C advised :
That the water was vested in the Crown, and that only the bed, soil and banks of the Yarra and Saltwater Rivers within the Metropolis were vested in the Board· arid that the Merri and other Creeks, not being 'public' or navigable streams, had not been vested in the Board by the Act. (Ref 1 ).
In 1907, a conference was convened by the Minister of Water Supply in an attempt to resolve the question of responsibility for drainage in the metropolitan area. Much debate ensued, but it was not until 1923 that appropriate legislation was introduced (Refs 1 and 2).
The Metropolitan Drainage and Rivers Act, which became operative in January 1924, together with subsequent amendments and additions, comprises Part X (Metropolitan Drainage and Rivers) of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Act 1958 (No 6310), the Act that is currently in force. The Metropolitan Drainage and Rivers Act made the Board responsible for the control and management of the whole, or parts of, certain named rivers, creeks and watercourses within the metropolis (see the First Schedule to the Metropolitan Drainage and Rivers Act 1923, and the Twelfth Schedule to the MMBW Act 1958), and gave the Board the power to declare any unimproved watercourse, or any constructed drain (whether constructed by a municipality, public company or private individual) to be a Main Drain, and thereby come under the control of the Board. Although responsibility for the maintenance and management of certain watercourses passed to the Board of Works, title to the bed and banks remained with the Department of Crown Lands and Survey who vested them upon trust in the Board. Moonee Ponds Creek is one of the watercourses named in the Twelfth Schedule to the MMBW Act 1958, and is listed in the following manner:
The Moonee Ponds Creek from the south-west side of the bridge in existence at the commencement of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Act 1928 over the said creek and carrying the railway tracks of the North Melbourne gravitation sidings towards its source.
The Board's jurisdiction extends upstream to the metropolitan drainage boundary (see Figure 1-1) and includes all tributaries, or parts thereof, that are located within the boundary. The Port of Melbourne Authority (formerly the Melbourne Harbour Trust) is responsible for the section of Moonee Ponds Creek from its junction with the Yarra River to the Footscray Road Bridge, but it has never been established who is responsible for the maintenance and management of the creek between Footscray Road Bridge and the Railways Gravitation Bridge (see Section 4-3). Upstream of the Gravitation Bridge, the bed and banks of the creek, or channel, are vested upon trust in the Board of Works, but what constitutes the bed and banks of the constructed channel between the Gravitation Bridge and Flemington Road Bridge has never been defined. The upper reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek lie outside the Board's drainage area (Fig 1- 1), the drainage boundary crossing Moonee Ponds Creek at a point approximately twenty-one kilometres from the Melbourne GPO. From a drainage management point of view, it would obviously be desirable for the whole of the Moonee Ponds Creek drainage basin to be included within the Board's drainage area. In early 1975, the Board resolved to advocate a policy of total catchment management for the rivers and creeks that flow through the metropolitan area, and in January 1979, the Victorian Government informed the Board of Works that it agreed in principle that the Board's drainage area should be extended to cover the whole of a number of drainage basins, one of which was that of Moonee Ponds Creek. The Government suggested, however, that prior to any extension of the Board's drainage boundary, discussions should be held between the Board of Works and the municipalities affected. The part of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin that lies outside of the Board's drainage area is located within the Shire of Bulla. To date, the Board has not entered into discussions with the Shire concerning the possibility of extending its drainage area in this locality.
The watercourses within the part of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin that lies outside of the Board's drainage area come under the jurisdiction of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission of Victoria, although under the provisions of Section 645 of the Local Government Act 1958 (No 6299), the Shire of Bulla is empowered to undertake maintenance works along the watercourses if it deems necessary. Although the Board of Works assumed responsibility for Moonee Ponds Creek in 1924, it did not immediately assume responsibility for the maintenance and management of some of the tributary watercourses, particularly those sections that had already been improved by municipal councils. As the need arose, and as finances permitted, the Board declared certain tributaries, or parts of tributaries, to be Main Drains, and these were duly gazetted as such. The gazettal procedure was, however, time-consuming, and the Board decided that it was easier to assume responsibility for the tributary watercourses under the provisions of the Twelfth Schedule (or earlier versions thereof) of its Act. Tributaries taken over in this manner are referred to as Drains rather than Main Drains.
In the following sub-section, the types of maintenance work that the Board undertakes along Moonee Ponds Creek and its tributaries are described and illustrated, and some of the management problems that it encounters are discussed. The creek network cannot be viewed in isolation, but has to be considered in relation to the adjoining land, and in Sub-sections 9.3 and 9.4, the planning zoning and land use of these riparian areas are described, and aspects of their management and maintenance discussed.
For practical reasons the Board does not manage or maintain watercourses in tributary catchments with an area of less than 60 hectares ( 150 acres). As a result of discussions with municipal representatives in 1927 and 1929, the Board resolved that :
For the present, only such part of any drain, creek or watercourse which carries off surface or storm water flowing from the whole of an area of not less than 150 acres will be designed, constructed, or declared as a main drain.
These drains when declared, will vest in the Board from the point of discharge to a point where the area drained is 150 acres, beyond which point the construction, maintenance and all and any liability or obligations of the municipality with respect to the drains will remain with the Council.
The point of termination of a declared main drain shall be at a definite point such as a building line, and where the point of termination in respect of the 150 acre limit falls within a building block, the drain will be extended to the building line most favourable to the Council, or to the municipal boundary if a short distance upstream of the 150 acre limit. Constructed drains which drain small areas, where the total length of drain serving 150 acres or more is less than 800 feet will not be declared as main drains.
In practice the foregoing has been extended to apply to all drains and watercourses vested or to be vested in the Board, irrespective of whether declared as main drains or not. The term '150 acre limit' (60 hectares) has now generally been replaced by the preferred term 'Board's Drainage Limit'. Moonee Ponds Creek and its tributaries are maintained by two Sections of the Board's Operations and Maintenance Division. The Drainage and Rivers Section is responsible for the maintenance of Moonee Ponds Creek from the Victorian Railways' Gravitation Bridge upstream to the outlet structure of the Jacana Retarding Basin, and the Northern Area Maintenance Section is responsible for the section of Moonee Ponds Creek from the Jacana outlet structure upstream to the Board's drainage boundary, and for all of the tributaries that are located within the Board's drainage area.
The banks of Moonee Ponds Creek, and also land adjoining the creek owned by the Board of Works, are regularly mown. Mowing operations take place throughout the year, and each reach of the creek is mown on average, four times per year. Mowing the flat land adjoining the creek is a relatively easy task, a slasher pulled by a tractor being used for the purpose (Plate 9-1 A). The steep banks along the incised sections of Moonee Ponds Creek are far more difficult to mow. Where access is possible, a slope mower is used. Maintenance tracks have been constructed along the bank tops for much of the length of the creek to give access to slope mowers and other maintenance equipment. A slope mower can also be operated from the creek bed along those reaches where the invert has been hard lined and access ramps have been constructed (Plate 9-1 B). Along some reaches, the whole, or part of the banks cannot be reached by a slope mower and hand operated brush cutters have to be used (Plate 9-1 C). Mowing with brush cutters is time consuming and adds to maintenance costs. Noxious weed growth is controlled by area spraying with subsequent spot checks. Artichoke thistle (Cynara carduncutus) and fennel (Faeniclum vulgare Mill.) are widespread and require frequent attention. The former are sprayed with Bandel and the latter with Roundup.
Melbourne's watercourses have for long been regarded as convenient dumping rounds for all kinds of rubbish. Moonee Ponds Creek is no exception. Occasionally, even car bodies are dumped into the creek, and as Plate 9-2 indicates, while car models have changed, people's habits obviously have not. The dumping of rubbish along Moonee Ponds Creek is not, however, as serious a problem as it is along some other watercourses within the metropolitan area because access to the creek is restricted. The creek is fenced along part of its length, and along the lower reaches the Tullamarine Freeway acts as a barrier. The Board of Works has legal power to take action against people who deposit or discharge materials into watercourses under its control, or on land within twenty-five feet of the bank edges, under the provisions of MMBW By-law No 25 and Part V of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (No 8056)1. By-Law No 25, which was gazetted in December 1927, states, inter alia - All persons and corporations are prohibited from -
(a) Depositing in or discharging into and from permitting or allowing to be deposited in or discharged into the said rivers creeks watercourses main drains or main drainage works or in or into any of them or in or into any portion of the same any materials matters or substances likely to cause interference with the flow of water in or the silting up of or injury to the same or any part thereof.
(b) Depositing or discharging and from permitting or allowing to be deposited or discharged any such materials matters or substances within 25 feet of or from -
(i) the said rivers creeks watercourses or any portion thereof;
(ii) any open drain or any portion thereof;
(iii) any open main drainage works or any portion thereof.
In addition to accumulated rubbish, the Board occasionally has to remove considerable quantities of sediment from the bed of Moonee Ponds Creek, particularly from the reaches downstream of Flemington Road where the gradient is extremely gentle. The sediment is mainly composed of sand, although considerable quantities of silt are deposited in the tidal reaches of the channel downstream of Macaulay Road. 1 Prior to the introduction of the Environment Protection Act of 1970, the Board could take action against polluters of watercourses under its control under the provisions of MMBW By-Law No 32, which was gazetted in June 1933. In May 1971, By-Law No 32 was superseded by By-Law No 105 (Pollution of Water Courses), but the Environment Protection Act 1970 is used in preference to this By-law. 138
A considerable proportion of the sediment originates from the upper parts of Moonee Ponds and Yuroke Creeks where bank erosion is active (see Plate 1-1 ). The creek gradients in the upper part of the basin are relatively steep, and during flood flows considerable quantities of sediment are washed downstream and deposited along the channel. During subsequent flood flows, the deposits are re-entrained and deposited progressively further downstream.
The deposition of sediment along Moonee Ponds Creek reduces the capacity of the watercourse and has accelerated erosion at some localities by deflecting flows on to the banks. Deposition is generally confined to the unlined sections of the creek, the partially lined sections having been designed to be self-flushing. However,as Plate 9-3A illustrates, deposition may occur along the lined sections at points where major tributary drains enter the main watercourse. During flood flows, turbulence occurs at such points and patches of still water where deposition can occur are created. Deposition is particularly problematical downstream of Flemington Road Bridge. Sand and debris are trapped by the piles of the Flemington Road and Racecourse Road Bridges, and sand is deposited on the berms and in the low flow channel between Flemington Road and Macaulay Road accumulated sediment has to be removed regularly in order to maintain the capacity of the channel (see Section 4.4). As discussed in Section 4-2, the land adjoining Moonee Ponds Creek downstream of Flemington Road has a long history of flooding, and any significant reduction in the capacity of the channel could be potentially disastrous during major flood flows. The sediment that accumulates on the berms is removed by a mechanical scraper, while sediment and debris are removed from the low flow channel by a mechanical shovel attached to a tractor (Plate 9-3D). The berms were regraded to a steeper angle in 1976 (Plate 9-3C) to make them less susceptible to water-logging, a condition that inhibits grass growth. Along the tidal reaches of the channel downstream of Macaulay Road, sediment is removed by a drag line (Plate 9-3E) approximately once every three years.
In an attempt to reduce maintenance costs, three sediment traps were installed along Moonee Ponds Creek in April/May 1979: one immediately downstream of Flemington Road Bridge, one immediately upstream of Ormond Road Bridge (Plate 9-4) and the other downstream of Albion Road. The trap downstream of Flemington Road was constructed by widening and deepening the existing low flow channel, while the other two traps were formed by constructing a low concrete dam across the invert of the lined channel.
(i) Bank Slumping. Along a number of reaches, Moonee Ponds Creek is quite deeply incised and the banks are vertical or sub-vertical. As discussed in Sections 4 and 5, erosion and slumping were recurrent problems. Creek improvement works over the past twenty years have virtually eliminated undercutting along most of these reaches, but slumping occasionally occurs on the steep upper parts of the banks. Where maintenance tracks have been cut into the banks the potential for slumping would appear to have been increased (Plate 9-5A and B). Slumped material has to be cleared away, and the exposed faces repaired and stabilised with a grass cover. More radical treatment was required, however, on a steep bank opposite the Holbrooke Reserve. Here a series of small terraces were cut in mid 1978 (Plate 9-6C). The terraces have proved to be successful, and slumping has not recurred at this site (Plate 9-5D).
(ii) Repair of Eroded Banks. Along the unlined sections of Moonee Ponds. Creek bank erosion occasionally occurs, and has to be repaired. The repair of a scoured section of bank near Morrow Street, Brunswick is illustrated in the photographs in Plate 9-6. In early 1973, a stone gabion was constructed at the toe of the eroded bank, and the space behind the gabion was backfilled with rocks. During the May 1974 flood, the gabion was outflanked and undermined and the bank was extensively eroded. In June 1974, the bank was repaired for a second time. On this occasion a quite extensive area was reshaped and lined with loose rocks. This treatment has proved to be satisfactory; erosion has not recurred, and a good grass cover has become established.
Along the partially lined sections of the creek, the water occasionally rises above the level of the hard lining and erodes the grassed upper banks. Extensive and severe erosion of this nature occurred between Gaffney and Margaret Streets, Broadmeadows during the Easter Storm of 1977 (Fig 9-1 ). The improvement works between Gaffney and Margaret Streets had only just been completed (see Section 8,4), and there had not been time for the batters to settle or for a thick grass cover to become established. Erosion occurred to a depth of approximately 0.25 m within a 0.70 m high band immediately above the concrete lining along both banks of this section of the creek. At a number of points the erosion extended to the top of the bank and to depths of five metres (Fig 9-1 ). Erosion was particularly severe at the entry to the section, immediately downstream of the Margaret Street Footbridge, just downstream of the two drop structures, and between Marks Street and downstream of Bass Street. The severe erosion downstream of Margaret Street Footbridge can be attributed to turbulence caused by a large boulder that had been transported downstream from the transition zone (see photograph in Fig 9-1 ). The potential hazard of using unsecured rocks for bank protection is clearly demonstrated.
The eroded sections were backfilled, shaped and grassed, and it was decided to install bg slabs on a trial basis at one of the worst affected sites, namely, the section of bank just downstream from Bass Street (Fig 9-1 ). Some difficulties were experienced with regard to the use of the bg slabs; it proved difficult to establish a good grass cover, and the slabs settled unevenly because of the uncompacted nature of the fill (Plate 9-7 A). A reasonable grass cover has since been established (Plate 9-7B), but the stability of the grass and slabs has yet to be tested by a major flow.
Erosion above the hard lining has recurred most frequently on the outside of a number of bends and at certain access ramps and can be attributed to the occurrence of super-elevation and resultant turbulence at these sites during flood flows. At a number of sites it has proved necessary to raise the concrete lining (Plate 9-8). Upstream of Dawson Street, Brunswick, the channel, which was constructed when the Tullamarine Freeway was built, has a sharp double bend in it. Hydraulically such a bend is extremely undesirable, but was unavoidable because the Board was unable to purchase a piece of privately owned land. Super-elevation and turbulence occur at the bend, the latter being accentuated by a small energy-dissipating drop structure a short distance upstream (Plate 9-8A). Quite predictably erosion occurred above the lining on the outside of the first bend. In order to prevent the bank from being more severely eroded, and the concrete lining from being undermined, the Board decided to raise the lining for a short distance along the outside of the bend (Plate 9-8B). Since the lining was raised no further erosion has occurred. Where the creek passes under the Tullamarine Freeway at Bell Street, Broadmeadows, the concrete lining has been raised along a straight reach of the channel. Initially, the lining extended 1.83 metres (6 feet) up the banks, but was frequently overtopped. Bank scour occurred threatening to undermine the lining (Plate 9-8C). A contributory factor was the poorly established grass cover on the batters under the Freeway bridge. The concrete lining was extended a further 2.57 metres (8 ft 5 in) up both banks of the channel over a distance of 185 metres (200 yards), (Plate 9-8D).
(iii) Repair of Pitched Sections. Contrary to popular opinion, pitched channels are not maintenance free; as Plate 9-9 clearly shows, pitched sections can deteriorate. With time, the mortar between the pitchers disintegrates, and the pitchers become displaced and eventually washed away. Along some reaches the breakdown of the mortar can be directly attributed to reed and grass growth (Plate 9-98). Several of the pitched sections along Moonee Ponds Creek have had to be regrouted, which is a relatively time- consuming and costly task. Inspection and Maintenance of Underground Drains. The underground drains within the Moonee Ponds Creek basin are regularly inspected by the Board's Northern Maintenance Section, and any maintenance work that is deemed necessary is undertaken by the Section. On average, each drain is inspected once every five years.
Downstream of the Jacana Retarding Basin there are two sections of Moonee Ponds Creek that have not been partially concrete lined. One section is located between Donald Avenue and Woodland Street, Essendon, and the other between Margaret Street, Broadmeadows and the Jacana Retarding Basin (Fig 9-2). Although no major improvement works have been undertaken along these two sections, they cannot be considered to be natural watercourses; most reaches have been considerably modified on one or more occasions. Over the past twenty-five years most reaches have been cleaned out, some reaches have been straightened, at least three bends have been cut off, the banks along some reaches have been battered back to gentler angles, and rocks have been placed along the toes of the banks at some sites. The works were undertaken to improve the capacity of the channel, for erosion control, and for beautification purposes.
Between the Jacana Retarding Basin and the loop at Athens Court (Fig 9-2), the creek has been straightened and the banks reshaped (Plate 9-10). As noted in Section 6.2, the creek was straightened immediately downstream of the Jacana Basin at the time that the basin outlet structure was built. The date when the remainder of this section of the creek was reshaped is not known. Erosion has been a recurring problem along this part of the creek, and in 1976 it was deemed necessary to place rock spalls along the toe of the western bank between the Railway Trestle Bridge and Morgans Factory in order to arrest erosion.
Predictably, erosion has been a recurring problem on the outsides of the sharp bends between Athens Court and Flannery Court (Fig 9-2; Plate 9-11 A). In 1976, the banks were reshaped and lined with a protective layer of rock spalls at two sites (Plate 9-11 ). At the same time the creek was cleaned out to improve its capacity because the allotments at Athens Court were considered to be flood prone. During the Easter 1977 storm, undercutting at one of the banks caused the rocks to slip, while the bank above the rocks was severely scoured (Plate 9-11 D). The bank was repaired and erosion has not recurred. The appearance of this reach of the creek in mid 1980 is shown in Photographs C and E of Plate 9-11. No additional works are anticipated along this section of the creek in the immediate future, although general maintenance works are planned for the 1981 /82 financial year. Creek improvement works were undertaken between the City of Broadmeadows Nursery (opposite the John Pascoe Fawkner Reserve) and Margaret Street - where the channel is partially concrete-lined - between 1976 and 1978.
The creek was cleaned out and the banks were reshaped along several reaches. Because of the severity of erosion at the Broadmeadows Nursery, it was decided to cut off the sharp bend in the creek (Plate 9-12 A and 8). Part of the new channel was lined with rock spalls, and the old channel was back-filled (Plate 9-12C). However, erosion continued to be a problem immediately upstream of the improved reach, and in early 1980 further improvement works were carried out. The banks were reshaped and partially rock-lined, and an access ramp to the creek invert was constructed (Plate 9- 120).
The creek has also been straightened, and the banks reshaped, between Woodland Street and Moreland Road, Essendon (Fig 9-2). In the early 1950s, the eastern bank of the creek along The Boulevard was being actively eroded (Plate 9-13A and B). The banks were vertical and crumbling and were considered to be a danger to children. The Board decided that remedial action was required and reshaped the eroded banks and at the same time, cut off a tight bend in the creek below Woodland Street Bridge. In 1967, this reach of the creek was further modified; the banks were regraded, the channel was realigned, and maintenance tracks were constructed (Plate 9-13C and D). In 1977 the bank toes were lined with rock spalls in order to prevent erosion.
As described in Section 5.1 .4, a loop of the creek at the junction with Five Mile Creek was cut off in 1960/61 to facilitate the construction of the Moonee Ponds Relieving Sewer, and the creek was realigned under Moreland Road when the Moreland Road Bridge was reconstructed. Both of the realigned sections were partially hard lined.
The Board of Works has to expend considerable amounts of money annually on maintenance works along Moonee Ponds Creek because of inconsiderate actions by some members of the general public. As noted in Section 9.2.2 (b), rubbish is occasionally dumped in the creek and on the creek banks, and although the Board is empowered to take legal action under the provisions of one of its By-Laws (No 25), offenders are seldom caught in the act. Fences that the Board has erected along some sections of the creek for safety reasons and for reasons of legal liability (the question of public access and legal liability is discussed in detail in Section 9.4.1 below) have undoubtedly deterred some potential rubbish dumpers, but the problem remains and is likely to continue.
Another recurring management problem is that certain sections of Moonee Ponds Creek and adjoining land are popular haunts for mini and trail bike riders. The most popular areas are the Jacana Retarding Basin, the Strathnaver Reserve, and the area between Ormond Road and Macaulay Road. The lined section of the creek between Ormond Road and Flemington Road is particularly favoured (Plate 9-148 and C); the maintenance ramps provide easy access to the concrete invert which makes an ideal race track. The Tullamarine Freeway lights allow activities to continue into the night, much to the annoyance of local residents.
Numerous complaints have been received over the years from local residents about the noise created by the bikes, many of which are not fitted with adequate silencers. In one internal report, the Engineer Rivers and Streams noted that “On a recent occasion, a Board Inspector, following up a complaint from near Moonee Ponds Creek, Broadmeadows, was unable to converse because of the noise of some 25 bikes on the opposite high bank - the complainant stated that he had counted 111 bikes at one time”. In addition to the problem of noise, the bikes cause considerable damage to the banks and to adjacent land (Plate 9-14D and E). The tracks created by the bikes are not only unsightly, but are potentially prone to rilling and gullying by surface runoff. The Board of Works has attempted to deter bike riders from operating along Moonee Ponds Creek and on adjoining land owned by the Board. Warning notices (Plate 9-14A) have been placed at a number of strategic points, and fences and gates have been erected at certain localities, but these measures have met with only limited success. The fences are frequently cut (on one occasion a steel supporting post was cut with an oxy-acetylene torch), and are occasionally smashed down by old cars. The fences are of limited value at certain localities because the riders can outflank them by riding along the bed of the creek; for obvious hydraulic reasons the fences cannot be extended across the creek.
Immediately upstream of Flemington Road Bridge, obstacles have been placed on the creek invert, on the bank sides, and along the top of one of the banks in an attempt to discourage the bike riders, or at least to slow them down and thus reduce noise levels, numerous complaints having been received about the noise created by the bikes from the residents of a nearby block of flats. Four by four inch concrete curbing stones were fixed to the invert and to the lined portion of the banks, and old SEC poles were placed along the upper parts of the banks and along one of the bank tops (Plate 9-14F). The obstacles would appear to have been relatively successful, but unfortunately they create a number of problems: they trap sediment, make it difficult to mow the grass, and modify the hydraulic design of the channel. For these reasons it is unlikely that they will be installed along other reaches of the creek.
The measures outlined above, although of value, have not been sufficient to deter bike riders from trespassing on land vested in or owned by the Board, and the Board has been forced, in conjunction with the Victoria Police Department, to try to apprehend offenders and take them to Court. Offenders are generally prosecuted under MMBW By-Law No 120 or the Recreation Vehicles Act 1973.
The Recreation Vehicles Act 1973 (No 8407) was introduced, together with the Land Conservation (Vehicle Control) Act 1972 (No 8379), by the State Government to control the use of recreational and off-road vehicles on both privately and publicly owned land throughout the State. The Land Conservation (Vehicle Control) Act relates to public land which is not located "within a city, town or borough" (that is, is located within a shire), and includes Crown Land vested in the MMBW. The Recreation Vehicles Act 1973 relates to the use of recreation vehicles in specified types of public places, which may be either publicly or privately owned. Regulations made under this Act prohibit the use in a public place of any recreational vehicle which is not fitted with a silencer, or with a device capable of producing an open exhaust, or which produces undue noise for certain other reasons.'
In the case of Moonee Ponds Creek and its tributaries, the Land Conservation (Vehicle Control) Act can only be used with respect to certain public land that is located within the Shire of Bulla. However, Crown Land vested in the MMBW within the Shire of Bulla is extremely limited in extent, and trail bikes have not been a problem in these areas. The Recreation Vehicles Act 1973 can be used with respect to certain 'public places' along Moonee Ponds Creek that are located within the cities that the creek traverses. Some of these 'public places' are owned by, or vested in, the Board of Works. The Jacana Retarding Basin falls into this category; the land is owned by the Board of Works, but is leased to the Broadmeadows Council for passive recreational purposes. The Recreation Vehicles Act cannot, however, be used with respect to land owned by, or vested in, the Board of Works that is located within a city and to which the public does not have access.- In order to be able to take legal action against trail bike riders apprehended in such areas. the Board introduced a new By-Law (By-Law No 120) in 1975.2 Section 2 of the By-Law states that :
No person shall -
(a) cause or permit a recreation vehicle to be within; or
(b) drive, ride or use a recreation vehicle on, any lands or works vested in or under the control or management of the Board.
and Section 4 states that :
Any person that contravenes the provision of this By-Law shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a penalty not exceeding $500.00.
For obvious reasons. apprehending bike riders is not an easy task. On a number of occasions Board of Works personnel have collaborated with police officers, some equipped with trail bikes, to undertake special patrols along Moonee Ponds Creek. During these patrols a number of offenders have been apprehended and brought to Court. Unfortunately, the arrests do not seem to have acted as a deterrent; bike riders continue to frequent certain sections of Moonee Ponds Creek, much to the annoyance of local residents.
In addition to the problem of trail bikes. there is also the recurring problem of vandalism. Trees and shrubs that have been planted for beautification purposes are occasionally damaged or destroyed (Plate 9-15A); the stream level recorder on the west bank of the creek immediately upstream of Flemington Road Bridge is frequently damaged (the recorder cable is cut, on average, three to four times a year) and attempts are often made to damage the recorder housing and the staff gauge; and not surprisingly, the concrete surfaces along the creek, particularly those at the Jacana Retarding Basin outlet, are visited by graffiti writers and artists
As can be seen From Table 9-1, a considerable amount of money has been expended over the past few years on maintenance works along Moonee Ponds Creek. Works on tributary watercourses have accounted for only a very small percentage of annual maintenance expenditure. During the 1970s, bank repair works have accounted for the major part of annual maintenance costs, which is one reason why the Board of Works has advocated a policy of partially hard lining certain sections of the creek. As the figures in Table 9-1 show, maintenance costs can fluctuate considerably from year to year. Certain maintenance works have to be undertaken on a regular basis (for example, mowing, the removal of silt from the lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek) and can be readily programmed, but others, such as the removal of rubbish or the repair of a collapsed bank. clearly cannot be predicted.
In May 1881, an Order in Council was gazetted "Permanently Reserving as Sites for Public Purposes, the Crown lands forming the Bed, or such Part of the Bed as indicated of Each of Certain Rivers, Rivulets, etc; and the Crown Lands within the limits Specified" (Ref 3). One of the rivers listed was the Yarra. It was stipulated in the Order that along the Yarra all unalienated land "1½ chains from each bank from its source to the Plenty River, and 1 chain from each bank of all its tributaries between the same points ... " was to be. reserved for Public Purposes. Moonee Ponds Creek, and the neighbouring Merri and Darebin Creeks, were presumably not included because virtually all of the land adjacent to the banks of these watercourses was alienated long before 1881 (see, for example,: Figs 4-2 and 4-10).
The original title boundaries, and also the boundaries of many subsequent subdivisions, were permitted to extend to the bank edge, or even to the water's edge, along some sections of Moonee Ponds Creek and its tributaries. Along some of the smaller tributaries the watercourses were included within title boundaries. Drainage reserves were, unfortunately, not created. During the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century, there was relatively little control over the subdivision of land and scant regard was given by developers to drainage. Public sewers and drains within a municipal district were vested in the municipality by virtue of the Local Government Act 1874 (38 Viet, No 506), but it was not until 1914, when a Local Government Acts Amendment Act (No 2257) was introduced that the municipalities obtained the power to require plans of subdivision to set aside reserves and to indicate the proposed method of drainage (see Sections 58-69 of the Act). In practice, however, relatively few reserves for drainage purposes were created by councils.
As discussed in Section 4, 5 and 8, the failure to create drainage reserves along Moonee Ponds Creek at the time of initial subdivision resulted in the Board of Works inheriting a number of drainage problems. As development proceeded within the basin, privately owned land abutting the watercourse was eroded and numerous complaints were received. In order to facilitate drainage improvements at several localities it was necessary to purchase narrow strips of land adjoining the creek, which added to the costs of the projects and was generally time consuming. The fact that it was not practicable to purchase wide strips of land along Moonee Ponds Creek for channel enlargement, or to act as floodways, determined the drainage strategy for the creek that was adopted in the early 1960s; the Board's decision was that the only practical solution would be to construct one or more retarding basins in the upper part of the basin to attenuate peak flows, and to improve the channel downstream of the basins along the line of the existing watercourse.
(a) Introduction. The bed and banks of Moonee Ponds Creek vest upon trust in the Board of Works. It should be noted that according to the Board's Act, only those parts of the land that are normally covered by water are so vested, although under certain circumstances the term 'bank' can be defined more broadly. In general, the upper banks of adjoining land, although covered by floodwaters from time to time, do not vest in the Board, although where drainage works have been undertaken on such land, the works themselves are vested in the Board by virtue of Section 265 (1) of the Board's Act.
b) The Board of Works is able to exercise some control over the type of development that can occur on land adjacent to Moonee Ponds Creek by virtue of having acquired title to some of the land (see Section 9.4, Fig 9- 6), and through the provisions of a number of pieces of legislation relating to town planning, the creation of drainage reserves and easements, and the development of flood prone land. Plans of subdivision lodged in the Office of Titles prior to 1914 could delineate reserves but such plans did not have to be submitted to Council for sealing [see, for example, Transfer of Land Act 1890 (54 Viet. No 1149) Section 1721.
(c) Reserves and Easements. As noted. the councils have been empowered to require drainage reserves to be set aside at the time of subdivision since 1914, but the Board of Works did not have the same power until 1974. Prior to that date it could request that drainage reserves and easements be set aside at the time of subdivision, but could not prevent a plan of subdivision from being sealed if the request was not complied with. In December 1973, the Local Government (Subdivision of Land) Act 1973 (No 8531) was gazetted. This Act amends, inter alia, Section 569 of the Local Government Act to enable the Board of Works to:
• advise councils that it consents to or refuses consent to, the sealing of a plan of subdivision [Section 5698(7) (c)], and
• advise council to make 'requirements' in regard to drainage as to conditions for sealing of a plan of subdivision, and that a statement should not be issued to the Office of Titles releasing the plan until the Board is satisfied that it has adequate guarantees that the requirements will be fulfilled [ Section 569E (1 A), (3A), and (38) ).
The Act enables the Board to require that drainage reserves and easements be set aside at the time of subdivision to ensure that patterns of subdivision that would be inimical to sound drainage practice do not occur, and to ensure that . certain areas are not developed in a manner that would be detrimental to the Board's drainage interest. In recent years the Board has obtained a number of registered drainage easements and easements of inundation over land adjoining Moonee Ponds Creek. The Board has not required drainage reserves to be set aside because of the relatively short lengths of land along the creek that have been involved; drainage reserves are generally required when extensive stretches of land adjacent to major watercourses are being subdivided, so that relatively wide, open floodways on a single title, and therefore generally uncluttered by subdivisional fences, can be obtained. Restrictions to the Development of Flood Prone Land. Since the completion of the Jacana Retarding Basin in 1967, flooding has not been a serious problem along Moonee Ponds Creek. Some land adjoining the creek can, however, be considered to be flood prone, particularly if flood prone land is defined as land that would be inundated by a 100-year flood (that is by a flood that has a statistical one per cent chance of occurring in any given year).' Since the gazettal in December 1973 of the Local Government (Subdivision of Land) Act, the Board of Works has had the power to exercise control over the subdivision of land adjacent to watercourses and can require that no buildings be erected or any fill be placed on land that is · considered to be flood prone. Building on flood prone land can also be regulated by the provisions of the Uniform Building Regulations [ as amended by the Local Government (Land Liable to Flooding Act) 1979 (No 9356) ] and by Board of Works By-Law No 35 (Sewerage). In addition, the Drainage of Land Act (No 8811 ), as complemented by the Water Drainage Act 1978(No 9155), enables the Board to seek to proclaim land as being liable to flooding and to control development thereon.
• A reserve is a piece of land set aside on a plan of subdivision for one or more purposes, e.g. drainage, sewerage, recreation. It is private land still vested in a private person or subdivisional company. The creation of a reserve does not give a municipal council or a public authority any rights to the area, even though they may have insisted on the reserve being created. A municipal council may take over a reserve by applying to the Local Government department to have an Order published in the Government Gazette vesting the reserve in the council (see Section 569BA of the Local Government Act). The Board of Works cannot take over a reserve in such a manner, but it may obtain title to the land. This it frequently does, often for a nominal fee.
An easement is a right to use the land of another person in a particular manner and does not give any rights of ownership or possession over the land being used. An easement normally must attach lo one particular piece of land which allows the owner of that land the right to use some other land. The Board obtains easements for drainage and sewerage purposes by registering at the Office of Titles an instrument of Creation of Easement signed by the registered owner of the land. Such easements should be distinguished from easements created by a plan of subdivision which are for benefit of the various owners of lots on that plan of subdivision and which give no rights to the Board. When a registered easement is obtained, a legal agreement is drawn up between the Board of Works and the landowner stipulating the Board’s rights with respect to the easement and any restrictions placed on the owner concerning the use of the easement.
A special type of registered easement that is sometimes obtained by the Board is an easement of inundation. Such an easement is obtained over land that is subject to inundation from watercourses that are vested in the Board.
MMBW By-law No 26. The Board of Works, through the provision of Section l(h) of its By-Law No 25, can take action against private persons or government and other bodies who deposit material within twenty-five feet of any watercourse vested in the Board ( see Section 9.2.2(b) ]. This provision should ensure that watercourses are not significantly modified, but as reference to Plate 4-13 will show, this regulation has not always been strictly adhered to. Town Planning Restrictions. The type of development, or redevelopment that can take place along the land adjoining Moonee Ponds Creek is, to a certain extent, constrained by the planning zoning of the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme (see Section 9-4). The uses to which land within a particular zone (or reservation) may be put, and whether any conditions have to be fulfilled, are set out in the Table to Clause 7 of the Planning Scheme Ordinance (Ref 11 ). The use to which land along Moonee Ponds Creek can be put is also constrained by Section 24 (8) (b) of the Planning Scheme Ordinance, which requires that the permission of the responsible authority must be obtained before any buildings or works can be constructed or carried out within thirty metres of either bank.
The growth and development of Melbourne during the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century was controlled by the municipalities; there was no single planning. The Water Resources Council of Victoria (Ref 7) recommends that the flood magnitude which should be adopted for delineation of flood prone areas should be the greater of:
EITHER THE LARGEST RECORDED FLOOD OR THE FLOOD WHICH CAN BE EXPECTED, BASED UPON RECORDED HISTORICAL FLOWS, PRECIPITATION OR OTHER VALID DATA, AS HAVING A STATISTICAL 1 '3' CHANCE OF BEING EQUALLED OR EXCEEDED DURING ANY ONE YEAR.
Prior to the gazettal of the Local Government (Subdivision of land) Act 1973, the regulation of development on flood prone land was mainly the responsibility of the local authorities. Unfortunately, the local authorities frequently permitted flood prone land to be developed, even though they had the legal powers to prevent it; for example, between 1919 and 1978, Section 205 of the Health Act stated, inter alia, that "No person shall erect ... any dwelling on land liable to flooding ... ". For details of the history of legislation regulating the development of flood prone land, see Refs 8, 9 and 10. This constraint was first introduced in 1963. In Modification No 2 to the 1961 Interim Development Order (gazetted 8 May 1963), an additional sub-clause was added to Section 24 requiring the consent of the Responsible Authority before any works could be constructed on any land (other than land vested in the Melbourne Harbour Trust Commissionaires) within a distance of fifty feet from certain named watercourses, one of which was "The Moonee Ponds Creek including its two branches which join near the intersection of Broadmeadows Road and Lyons Street, Broadmeadows. For certain watercourses, including Moonee Ponds Creek, the distance was increased to one hundred feet in 1970(Amendment No 2 to the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme, gazetted 11 February 1970). The one hundred feet was changed to thirty metres in Amendment No 51 which was gazetted on 5 March 1975.
Development within the metropolitan area was inevitably often haphazard and unplanned (see, for example, Refs 12 and 13). The municipalities were aware of the problems, however, and appreciated the need for co-ordinated town planning. In July 1920, the Melbourne City Council passed the following resolution (Ref 14):
That this Council considers that the rapid growth of the City and the Metropolis is creating unsatisfactory conditions, which require immediate attention, and that it is therefore necessary to further regulate development on modern scientific lines, so as to provide for the future demands of business, recreation, housing, traffic, and other matters, and that the lord Mayor be requested to call a conference of representatives of the Metropolitan Municipalities to consider the best means of carrying out this proposal.
The Metropolitan Municipalities held a conference later in the year and a number of recommendations were subsequently forwarded to the Government. As a result, the Metropolitan Town Planning Commission Act (No 3262) was passed in 1922 which provided for the establishment of a Metropolitan Town Planning Commission. The duties of the Commission were defined in Section 10 of the Act in the following manner: The Commission shall enquire into and report upon the present conditions and tendencies of urban development in the metropolitan area, and shall in such report set out -
(a) General plans and recommendations with respect to the better guidance and control of such development or any portion thereof; and
(b) Estimate in reasonable detail the costs involved in the construction, maintenance, and administration of all matters of things the subject of such recommendations.
The Commission was appointed in March 1923 and presented its report, Plan of General Development, Melbourne (Ref 14), in 1929. The report contains recommendations for the co-ordinated development of the metropolitan area, and advocated that a Town Planning Act should be passed without delay to ensure the implementation of its recommendations. One of the recommendations contained in the report is that the metropolis should be zoned for particular types of development. The Commission considered that:
The effect of the zoning scheme would be to encourage the compact and orderly growth of the metropolis along lines best suited to the particular type of development, and in accordance with the expansion that has taken place in the various districts in the past.
Eight types of zone were envisaged : three residential, three industrial and two business. With respect to the Moonee Ponds Creek basin, the major part of the existing residential area (Fig 1-5) was zoned Residential B, and the rural land to the north of the existing residential area in Essendon, Coburg, and Broadmeadows was also zoned Residential B to allow for the future expansion of the urban area. The existing industrial area to the south of Flemington Road was zoned Industrial B. The Commission gave considerable attention to the need for recreational land, and recommended the development of a network of parklands along the watercourses traversing the metropolitan area. It noted that much of the land adjacent to the watercourses was flood prone and of little value for residential and industrial development, but had a number of advantages with regard to the development of parks, commenting that -
1 The lands are cheaper than any other on account of their unsuitability for buildings.
2 They are particularly amenable to landscape treatment, and for the formation of playing ovals on the many small areas of flat lands along them, while the steep slopes provide natural vantage points for spectators.
3 Their resumption for park purposes will prevent the erection of buildings which may be subject to flooding, thereby avoiding unsatisfactory housing conditions and added expense to municipalities by reason of flood prevention or drainage measures.
4 The proper treatment of the lands would convert what will become drainage canals with houses close to their banks, into picturesque belts of park lands, which will considerably increase the value of contiguous property, especially the frontages to the proposed fringing roads.
5 Their utilisation for park purposes will supply the present deficiency of properly located park lands, and make reasonable provision for the recreation of the prospective population.
6 Their resumption will give public control of the banks of the streams.
In the case of Moonee Ponds Creek, the Commission acknowledged that the irregularity of its course, and the extent of development along its lower reaches, precluded the development of a continuous parkway similar to those proposed for a number of other watercourses in the metropolitan area. However, they noted that it should be possible to obtain several useful enclosures along the creek in Essendon and Coburg (Fig 9-3).
In the rural areas upstream of Pascoe Vale there were no constraints to the development of a continuous parkway, and the Commission advocated that land along the creek should be reserved for recreational purposes and should be linked to a large park that it considered should be created in the vicinity of Somerton Railway Station (Fig 9-3). The Commission envisaged that "The Somerton Park would have an area of 1,280 acres of picturesque country at an elevation sufficient to overlook the whole of the northern suburbs". The development plan and related recommendations proposed by the Commission were never implemented, but undoubtedly influenced the planning scheme that was prepared in the early 1950s by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works for the State Government.
In 1949, the Victorian Government requested the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works to prepare a planning scheme for the metropolitan area. The metropolitan area was defined as the area within a fifteen mile radius of the city centre, together with a twenty-five mile extension south-eastwards to include Frankston. The Planning Scheme prepared by the Board of Works was placed on public exhibition in 1954, and two volumes explaining the scheme were published. The scheme was not approved by the Government until 1968; between 1955 and 1968 the area covered by the proposed scheme was placed under a series of Interim Development Orders (IDOs) which were administered by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works.
The zones and reservations proposed in the 1954 Planning Scheme for the Moonee Ponds Creek basin were generally similar to those proposed in the 1929 report. In both schemes, the northern boundary of proposed urban development approximately follows the line of the Essendon - Broadmeadows railway (Fig 9-4). As in the 1929 Report, considerable emphasis was placed in the 1954 Scheme (Ref 15) on the development of a park system for the metropolitan area, including - A series of radial parks, mostly along the valleys of the River Yarra and various creeks and watercourses, adjoining the large park areas and thus affording the opportunity not only for field sports, but also a place for walking, riding and cycling within easy distance of the home.
As can be seen from Figure 9-4, a number of strips of land along Moonee Ponds Creek between the Jacana Retarding Basin and Flemington Road were reserved as Existing Public Open Space or Proposed Public Open Space in the 1954 Planning Scheme. The establishment of these reservations ensured that residential and other urban development could not encroach up to the edge of the creek as had occurred in earlier years. The creation of the reservations was not particularly popular at the time with the local councils, upon whom the burden of maintenance generally fell. The City of Broadmeadows, for example, forwarded the following letter to the Board of Works in July 1958:
Re: Melbourne and Metropolitan Master Planning Scheme Council at its last meeting directed me to seek the views of your Board regarding the 100 ft Reserves at the Merri Creek and Moonee Ponds Creek. Council feel that these Creek Reserves are of little benefit to the community and that no good purpose is being served by retaining them as part of both the MMBW Master Planning Scheme or in Council's own Planning Scheme. However before making any move in this matter, Council directed me to seek the views of your Board.
Attitudes have certainly changed!
Since 1955, when the first was introduced, there have been a large number of amendments to the Planning Scheme. With respect to Public Open Space Reservations, some of the proposed reservations have been reclassified as existing reservations, parts of some proposed reservations have been reserved or zoned for other purposes, and additional reservations have been proposed (Figs 9-4 and 9-5). The location of existing and proposed reservations along Moonee Ponds Creek in mid 1980 is shown in Figure 9-5 and Figure 9-6 B to I. Public Open Space Reservations have not been created along Moonee Ponds Creek upstream of Westmeadows Township. Most of the land upstream of Westmeadows was zoned Rural in both the proposed 1954 Planning Scheme and the. approved 1968 Planning Scheme, thus precluding urban development in the upper part of the basin. The Rural land was for the most part rezoned to Conservation A and General Farming A by Amendment No 3 Part 1 A on 20 December 1978. 1 This zoning will ensure that the land remains in an essentially rural state because only extremely limited residential development is generally permitted in these zones.
Land use along Moonee Ponds Creek can be divided into three broad categories : privately owned residential land, recreational areas owned or managed by the municipalities, and land used for a variety of public purposes by bodies such as the MMBW, the Country Roads Board, the Victorian Railways Department, and the Port of Melbourne Authority. The majority of the land adjoining Moonee Ponds Creek that is zoned for residential purposes was developed many years ago; relatively few changes in land use have occurred in these areas in recent years, and few changes are envisaged in the future. In contrast, land use in some of the non-residentially zoned land adjoining the creek has changed considerably over the past two decades as the municipalities have developed the areas for recreational purposes. Further changes of this nature can be expected as development proposals are implemented.
During the 1950s, the councils were generally not interested in developing the land along the creek for recreational purposes because of the development and maintenance costs that would have been involved. During the late 1960s and the 1970s, however, attitudes changed. The general public became far more aware, and concerned about, environmental issues, and there were increasing calls to set aside land for both active and passive recreation, and for the conservation of flora and fauna. Watercourses often became focal points of attention. Moonee Ponds Creek was no exception; resident groups and private individuals petitioned the MMBW and their local councils to develop the land along the creek for public use. As a result a number of areas have been developed, and there are plans to develop a number of others.
Recommendations for the development of the land along the length of Moonee Ponds Cree. were presented in a report produced in mid 1975 by the Preston Institute of Technology for Region 14 of the Victorian Division of the Regional Organisation of Councils. The Preston Institute of Technology's brief was to prepare a study of Melbourne's northern waterways, the objectives being "to research and document the existing condition along each waterway and to recommend means of improving them and their use for public recreational purposes" (Ref 16). Funds for the study were made available by the Commonwealth Government under its Area Development Programme. The format of the project was approved and monitored by the Commonwealth Department of Urban and Regional Development. The Report, which was published in August 1975, contained a brief account of existing conditions along Moonee Ponds Creek and made a number of recommendations for the development of the creek and its environs. The recommendations are concerned mainly with landscaping and the development of land along the creek for recreational purposes; unfortunately, little consideration is given to drainage matters.
Some of the plans that have been proposed for the development of land along Moonee Ponds Creek require public access to land owned by, or vested in, the Board of Works. For the most part, the Board has fenced the land that it owns along the creek, and has also erected fences to prevent public access to the banks and bed of certain sections of the watercourse. The Board has erected the fences for safety reasons, for reasons of legal liability, and as discussed above, to discourage vandals, mini and trail bike riders, and potential rubbish dumpers. The Board considers that the constructed sections of Moonee Ponds Creek and certain other drainage works and structures are potentially hazardous to the public, particularly children, and that the use of maintenance tracks by heavy vehicles and other equipment and by pedestrians and cyclists is generally incompatible. It might be contended that the watercourse of Moonee Ponds Creek is not a dangerous place; while this may be possibly true at times of low flow, it is certainly not true during times of flood flows. During flood flows, the water in the channel is deep; the flow around the bends is often turbulent; and flow velocities, particularly along the partially lined sections, are high. Velocities along the partially lined sections may exceed three metres per second; anyone falling into the channel during such a flow would be unable to stand, and would have difficulty climbing out of the channel. This was tragically illustrated on Good Friday 1977. A youth launched a canoe into the lined section of the creek downstream of Victoria Street, Brunswick, but capsized in turbulent water on a bend (see Plate 9-8A) before he travelled far downstream. His body was not recovered.
Critics of the Board's fencing policy often overlook the question of legal liability. The Board has sought legal opinion on its liability to fence main drains, drainage works and natural watercourses on several occasions since 1932: from Sir Clifton Eager in 1932, from Sir Robert Best in 1944, from Mr L Voumard in 1961 and 1967, Mr G Hooper in 1962, and from The Ombudsman on two occasions in 1975. The opinions given deal with various aspects of the subject, but four main conclusions emerge:
• The Board should fence all works that it has constructed along watercourses.
• The Board should fence all eroding watercourses if works have been undertaken by the Board upstream of the relevant sections or if the Board has permitted the inflow of additional waters.
• The Board should fence all lands owned by it as a title owner of lands.
• In general the Board has no liability with respect to natural watercourses which are considered to be natural hazards.
In the following sub-sections, land use, land ownership, land management and current planning zoning (as at mid June 1980) along Moonee Ponds Creek from its junction with the Yarra River to upstream of Westmeadows Township, and along Yuroke Creek upstream to near Somerton Road, are described and briefly discussed. For convenience of description and cartographic presentation, the creek has been divided into eight sections, and a map showing land ownership/ management and planning zoning has been prepared for each section (Fig 9-6 B to I). In addition, various development proposals for some of the sections are briefly described and discussed.
To the south of Footscray Road, Moonee Ponds Creek flows through Crown Land vested upon trust in the Port of Melbourne Authority (Fig 9-6B). The area has been appropriately reserved for Public Purposes (for the Port of Melbourne Authority) in the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme.
The land along the west bank of the creek downstream of Footscray Road remains undeveloped while the land along the east bank is occupied by warehouses and car parking lots, although these do not generally extend to the edge of the channel. The channel immediately south of Footscray Road is part of the old Railway Coal Canal, the width of which has been considerably reduced over the years by filling. The swampy land to the west of the channel near its junction with the Appleton Dock is one of the last vestiges of the once extensive West Melbourne Swamp.
The major part of the land adjoining the Moonee Ponds Creek channel between Footscray Road and Flemington Road, and also much of the land occupied by the channel between these two points, is owned by the Victorian Railways Board (Fig 9-6B). The land is freehold land held under three different types of title : Crown Grant; certificate of title in the name of the Victorian Railways Board; and certificate of title in the name of the now defunct Board of Land and Works, the Board having originally purchased the land for railway purposes. For virtually all practical purposes, however, all of the land can be considered to be owned by the Railways Board. Between Flemington Road and Racecourse Road, title to the land adjoining the west bank of the channel, and also title to part of the channel, is held by the City of Melbourne. The land owned by the City of Melbourne is separated from Railway owned land by a narrow strip of Crown Land (Fig 9-68), this section of the channel being located therefore on titles held by three separate authorities. The channel is also located on Crown Land between Gracie Street and the Railway Gravitation Bridge, while land along the western bank of the channel immediately upstream of Dynon Road is also Crown Land. One piece of land along the west bank of the channel is owned by the SEC and another by the MMBW.
The major part of the land owned by the Victorian Railways Board to the south of Arden Street is used for railway purposes, but to the north of Arden Street only the land occupied by the Coburg line is so used. The land owned by the Railways Department to the west of the Coburg line embankment is generally coincident with the 5,000 cusec channel and is utilised for drainage purposes only. An electricity sub-station is located on the piece of land owned by the SEC to the south of Arden Street. The piece of land owned by the MMBW along Dynon Road was acquired for future road works. The land between Flemington Road and Racecourse Road that is owned by the City of Melbourne is occupied by the Debney Park Community Centre and by the Australian Ballet Centre. As discussed in Section 9-1, the bed and banks of Moonee Ponds Creek upstream of the Railway Gravitation Bridge are vested upon trust in the Board of Works, although what actually constitutes the bed and banks of the constructed channel between the Gravitation Bridge and Flemington Road has never been resolved. Likewise, the question of responsibility for the maintenance of the channel between the Gravitation Bridge and Dynon Road has yet to be resolved.
The land owned by the Victorian Railways Board to the south of Arden Street and along the route of the Coburg line between Arden Street and Flemington Road is, for the most part, reserved for railway purposes in the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme (Fig 9-68). The land owned by the Railways Board to the west of the Coburg line between the Gravitation Bridge and Flemington Road, together with the Council owned land at Debney Park, is a Proposed Public Open Space Reservation, having been reserved as such in the MMBW Interim Development Order (100) that was gazetted on 1 March 1955.
Between Flemington Road and Arden Street, the Proposed Public Open Space Reservation is generally coincident with the 5,000 cusec channel. The part of the reservation along the east bank of the channel between Arden Street and the Gravitation Bridge is occupied by railway sidings. Only the council owned land at Debney Park is currently open to the public. The Railways Board, quite understandably, does not permit the public access to land that is being used for railway purposes, and the Board of Works does not permit public access to the area for which it is responsible for reasons of safety and legal liability (see Section 9.4.1).
Possible future developments along this section of Moonee Ponds Creek include the reconstruction of the channel through the Port area, and the construction of a Freeway along the line of the creek, with associated drainage reconstruction between Flemington Road and Footscray Road. In August 1979, the Port of Melbourne Authority informed the Board of Works that when the reconstruction of Berths Nos 16 to 21 in the Victoria Docks was completed, the additional cargo generated would require the construction of a new road bridge and possibly a new railway bridge over Moonee Ponds Creek, and that they planned to reconstruct the channel of Moonee Ponds Creek where it traversed the Port area. The Port of Melbourne Authority was anxious that the design of the planned channel should complement any proposals that the Board of Works had for channel improvements further upstream. The Board of Works informed the Port of Melbourne Authority that preliminary investigations with respect to the design of a new channel for the section of the creek between Footscray Road and Flemington Road were in progress.
In October 1971, the Victorian Government directed that priority be given to the construction of a Freeway (the F14) connecting the Tullamarine Freeway to a point south of the Yarra River. The Highway Planning Unit of the MMBW was assigned to undertake a preliminary investigation. Four alternative routes were proposed and a fifth was subsequently added (Fig 9-7). A preliminary report prepared by the MMBW Planning and Highways Branch concluded that "the only possible location for a freeway is over or adjacent to Moonee Ponds Creek from Tullamarine Freeway to Footscray Road''.
The drainage works which would be required for each of the alternative schemes are summarised below -
Route No 1 - Improvement works to the existing channel and the levee banks at crossing points between Park Street and the end of the freeway would be required.
Route Nos 2 and 3 - Improvement works to the existing creek channel and levee banks between Footscray Road and the end of the proposed freeway, and the construction of a satisfactory outlet, would be required.
Routes Nos 4 and 4A - Improvement works to the existing creek and the levee banks between Footscray Road and the end of the proposed freeway would be required.
Route No 5 - This route would not affect the creek.
In 1978, the Main Drainage Division of the Board of Works commenced an investigation relating to the drainage works that would be required if a freeway or arterial road were constructed along the line of Moonee Ponds Creek between Flemington Road and Dynon Road.
Between Flemington Road and Ormond Road, Moonee Ponds Creek originally meandered across a quite extensive floodplain. As described in Sections 5.2.5 and 7 .2, the creek was realigned in 1962 immediately upstream of Flemington Road: and was completely realigned between Flemington and Ormond Roads in 1967 at the time when the Tullamarine Freeway was constructed. As can be seen from Figure 9-6C, the Board of Works holds title to much of the land traversed by the Freeway and the reconstructed Moonee Ponds Creek. The Board acquired title to most of this land in the late 1940s and early/mid 1950s when a plan to realign the creek between Flemington and Ormond Roads and to fill and develop parts of the floodplain for recreational purposes was formulated [see Sect1?n 5.2.3(b) ]. For financial reasons the plan was never implemented. When the Tullamarine Freeway was being planned, it was decided that the land that had already been acquired by the Board should be utilised for the freeway and associated drainage works, and that additional contiguous strips of land should be acquired where necessary. The land required for freeway and drainage purposes is appropriately reserved (that is, proposed Main Road Reservation and Proposed and Existing Public Purpose Reservations) in the Melbourne and Metropolitan Planning Scheme'. The constructed channel vests in the Board of Works by virtue of Section 266 ( 1) of the MMBW Act 19582 even though title to part of the land is held by the City of Melbourne. Some of the land that the Board owns, and some of the land vested in the Board between Ormond Road and Flemington Road is surplus to its requirements and will not be retained. Land not required for drainage or other purposes to the east of the reconstructed channel will, in due course, be transferred to the Country Roads Board who replaced the Board of Works as the responsible authority for the Tullamarine Freeway in 1974. Parts of the old course of the creek, which are Crown Land vested upon trust in the MMBW, are also no longer required for drainage purposes and are being divested. The Board of Works will formally surrender the land, and once the approval of the Governor-in-Council has been obtained, it will revert to the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. As can be seen from Figure 9-6C, the portions of the old creek that cross the land occupied by the freeway and by the new channel are not being divested.
Once divested, the land may be transferred by the Department of Crown Lands and Survey to another authority or to a private individual. A short section of the old course of the creek near Mt Alexander Road was divested in 1976 and sold to a landowner whose property abutted on to it. For much of its length, the old course of the creek abuts council-owned land, and it would seem logical that such land should eventually be transferred to the appropriate council.
The land immediately to the west of the constructed channel is zoned for residential and recreational purposes (Fig 9-6C); the Tullamarine Freeway runs along the western boundary of the channel. The two Proposed Public Open Space Reservations, which were included in the 1955 IDO (gazetted 1.3.55) have been acquired by the Cities of Melbourne and Essendon. The reservation to the south of Delhi Court remains in an undeveloped state, but the land owned by the two councils to the north of Delhi Court has been developed for active and passive recreation (Plate 9-16). Between Ormond Road and Dean Street, the original alignment of Moonee Ponds Creek has been retained, although the watercourse has been straightened and widened along some reaches. The land to which the Board of Works owns title along this section of the creek was, for the most part, acquired for freeway purposes, and some of the land will be transferred to the Country Roads Board in due course. The Board will probably retain ownership of the piece of land immediately to the north of Ormond Road that is located between the freeway and the creek because part of the land is required for maintenance purposes and the only access to it is along a Board of Works maintenance track. This piece of land was reserved for Board of Works use in 1966 (Modification 4A to the 1961 ID0, gazetted 31.8.66).
The bed and banks of this section of the creek, and also land adjoining the creek, were reserved for Public Open Space (Existing or Proposed) in the 1955 IDO (Fig 9-6C). For reasons of public safety and legal liability (see Section 9.4.1 ), the Board does not permit public access to this section of the creek. The Holbrook Reserve and Ormond Park, which abut on to the creek, are council owned and have been developed for active recreation.
Moonee Ponds Creek was realigned between Dean Street and Hope Street when the Tullamarine Freeway was constructed. A number of loops were truncated. The Board of Works holds title to some of the land occupied by the freeway and channel and, as along the other freeway sections, will transfer land surplus to its requirements to the Country Roads Board. The new channel vests in the Board ofWorks by virtue of Section 265 (1) of the MMBW Act 1958, and the area occupied by the channel, and strips of land on either side, were reserved for Board of Works use in 1966 (Proposed Public Purpose Reservation, Modification 4A to the 1961 IDO, gazetted on 31.8.66). Only part of the old creek course has been divested to date. The part of the old course that was located to the west of the freeway between Dean and Wilson Streets (Fig 9-6C) was surrendered by the MMBW in 1970, and was subsequently transferred to private ownership.
The City of Brunswick holds title to land along the eastern side of the channel between Hope Street and to the south of Hunter Street. The land between Hope Street and Hunter Street has been developed as a park for passive recreation. The area was reserved for Public Open Space in the 1955 IDO. To the north of Dawson Street, a narrow strip of crown Land along the east bank of the creek was placed under the management of the City of Brunswick in November 1918. This strip of land is now occupied by the improved channel and maintenance track, and public access is not permitted.
For much of its length between Hope Street and Donald Avenue, Moonee Ponds Creek is confined between steep banks. During the 1960s and early 1970s the Board improved the channel along a number of reaches to prevent erosion and to increase its capacity. In order to carry out the works the Board had to acquire several narrow strips of land (Fig 9- 6C). The earliest of the improvement works undertaken along this section of the creek was that at Hilda Street, Essendon. The channel was realigned and partially hard-lined, and the section of creek was rezoned from Proposed Public Purpose Open Space Reservation to Public Purpose Reservation for the Board of Works (Modification 1 to the 1961 100, gazetted 11.4.62). A part of the old course of the creek was surrendered by the Board in December 1971, and transferred to private ownership in April 1977.
Three pieces of land that were considered to be surplus to the Board's requirements have been transferred to the City of Essendon. A narrow strip of land between Donald Avenue and Vanberg Road (Fig 9-6C) was transferred to the Council in December 1976 under a seven year agreement, and two pieces of land in the vicinity of Fanny Street were sold to the council in May 1980 (Fig 9-8). The latter two pieces of land, together with intervening Crown Land, will be managed as one unit by the City of Essendon. The Crown Land comprising the old course of Moonee Ponds Creek (the creek having been deviated at this location in 1962) is still vested upon trust in the Board of Works, but for all practical purposes is under the control of the City of Essendon, while the City of Essendon has been appointed as the Committee of Management for the narrow strip of Crown Land along the east bank of the old creek course. Prior to the change in the municipal boundary that occurred after the creek was deviated, the City of Brunswick was the Committee of Management for this strip of land, having been appointed in 1919.
The area occupied by the creek, and narrow strips of land along the banks between Hope Street and Donald Avenue, were reserved for Public Open Space in the 1955. The Board does not allow the public access to this section of the creek for reasons already elaborated. In order to obtain greater control over the use to which land adjoining the watercourse could be put between Albion Street and the Tullamarine Freeway (Fig 9- 6C), the Main Drainage Division of the Board of Works requested that the existing Proposed Public Open Space Reservation should be changed to a Stream and Floodway Zone. The request was approved by the planning authority, and the new zoning was gazetted on 15.4.78 under Amendment 83, Part 1.
The strip of Crown Land along the east bank of the original creek between Waxman Parade and Donald Avenue, for which the City of Brunswick was made the Committee of Management in 1919, would now appear to be located within the Board of Works exclusion fencing, the strip of land having been required for the drainage improvement works that were undertaken along this section of the creek during the 1960s.
Between Donald Avenue and Woodland Street, Essendon, the creek has been straightened at a number of localities, but its general alignment has been retained. As along the section immediately downstream, the Board of Works owns title to several narrow strips of land which it acquired to enable improvement works to be undertaken and maintenance tracks to be constructed (Fig 9-60). In order to facilitate more efficient maintenance between Moreland Road and The Boulevard, the Board wishes to acquire two additional strips of land along which access tracks would be constructed.
The watercourse and adjoining land between Donald Avenue and Woodlands Street were reserved for Public Open Space in 1955 (Fig 9-60). The Cross Keys Reserve, which is part Government Road Reserve and part Crown Land with the City of Essendon as the Committee of Management, has been developed for active recreation by the City of Essendon. In December 1976, the Board transferred (under a seven-year agreement) Proposed Public Open Space land surplus to its requirements at the junction of Moonee Ponds Creek and Five Mile Creek to the City of Essendon (Fig 9-60). The Board has retained a strip of land along Moonee Ponds Creek to ensure access for maintenance purposes, and required an easement of inundation to be created over part of the transferred land (Fig 9-9). Another piece of land surplus to its requirements on the inside of the truncated loop of the creek will probably be transferred to the City of Essendon in the not too distance future. The City of Essendon has plans to develop the area for passive recreation, and proposes to plant numerous trees and shrubs and to install barbecues. The old course of Moonee Ponds Creek remains Crown Land vested upon trust in the Board of Works. It would seem likely that the part of the old course that has been filled will become part of the surrounding parkland but the section of the old course that has been retained as an outlet for Five Mile Creek will remain under the direct control of the Board of Works.
On 28 August 1978, an article appeared in the Coburg Courier stating that the Essendon and Coburg Councils planned to develop land along the banks of Moonee Ponds Creek as a linear park. The City of Essendon wished to develop a parkway between Woodland Street and Primrose Street (Fig 9-60) for walking, jogging and bicycle and horse riding, and the City of Coburg wished to develop a walking track between Moreland Road and Brentwood Avenue. The two councils approached the Board of works requesting that the Board sell some of the land to them, or allow the public access to the land. The Board informed the two councils that it was not prepared to sell land that it required for drainage and maintenance purposes, and that for reasons of safety and legal liability it could not permit public access to the land. In addition, the Board pointed out that some of the land that the councils proposed to develop was privately owned .
Moonee Ponds Creek was relocated for most of its length between Woodland Street and Tate Street during the construction of the Tullamarine Freeway (Fig 9-60). Land acquired by the Board of Works along this section of the Freeway that is not required for drainage or other purposes will be transferred to the Country Roads Board in due course. The old course of the creek is no longer required for drainage purposes and is in the process of being divested. As noted, the new channel vests in the Board by virtue of Section 265(1) of the MMBW Act 1958. Between Woodland Street and the Freeway, where the existing alignment of the creek was retained, the land occupied by, and adjoining the watercourse is reserved for Public Open Space. The land was reserved for this purpose at varying dates between 1955 and 1970. As along other constructed sections of Moonee Ponds Creek, the channel and adjoining maintenance tracks are fenced off and public access is not permitted. To the west of the Freeway, and immediately upstream of the Freeway, the land occupied by the channel, and strips of land on either side of the channel, are Proposed Public Purpose Reservations for the Board of Works (Modification 4A to the 1961 100, gazetted 31.8.66).
The Board of Works holds title to several pieces of land along Moonee Ponds Creek between Tate Street and Margaret Street (Fig 9-60), the land having been acquired during the 1960s and 1970s to enable drainage improvement works to be undertaken (see Sections 5.1 .3 and 8.4). As part of the improvement works, two tight loops along the creek were cut off. The old course of the creek at Herbert Street is in the process of being divested, but no action would appear to have been taken to date to divest the old course of the creek at Avoca Crescent-Somerset Street. It is interesting to note that along the Herbert Street loop, two property owners whose allotments had been eroded by the creek, extended their rear fences to their property boundaries once the old course of the creek had been filled (Plate 9-17). The Board transferred two contiguous pieces of land
The land along this section of the creek is reserved, with the exception of the short section between Gaffney Street and Pascoe Vale Road, for Public Open Space (Fig 9- 60). Three Existing Public Open Space Reservations abut on to the creek: the Oak Park Sports Centre, the Reserve at Melissa Street, and the Esslemont Reserve' (Plate 9-18). The former two areas have been developed for active recreation by the City of Broadmeadows and the City of Essendon who own the land, while the Esslemont Reserve has been developed by the City of Essendon as a children's playground. The Public Open Space Reservations along this section of the creek were included in the 1955 and were extended at some localities by Modification 2 to the 1961 which was gazetted on 8.5.63. The Esslemont Reserve was gazetted as an Existing Public Open Space Reservation on 2.8.72 as part of Amendment No 12. As a result of the change in the municipal boundary that occurred after the creek had been deviated. The Esslemont Reserve is now located within the City of Coburg.
As reference to Figure 9-6E will show, virtually all of the land along both banks of Moonee Ponds creek between Margaret Street and the Railway Trestle Bridge is owned by the City of Broadmeadows and the City of Essendon. The Board of Works holds title to a narrow strip of land along the west bank of the creek between Mascoma Street and the end of De Havilland Avenue. The Board acquired the land for possible future drainage works and for maintenance purposes. The small piece of Board owned land protruding into the council land near De Havilland Avenue is coincident with the open section of the Board's Mascoma Street Drain. When the City of Essendon acquired the area immediately west of the strip of land owned by the Board, the Board made the requirement that an easement of inundation should be created over part of the land (Fig 9-10).
The land along this section of the creek is reserved for Public Open Space. Between the Trestle Bridge and the John Pascoe Fawkner Reserve (see Fig 9-6E) Existing Public Open Space Reservations (gazetted at various dates between 1959 and 1971) have been developed, or are being developed, for both passive and active recreation by the Cities of Broadmeadows and Essendon. Some of the Proposed Public Open Space land to the south of the John Pascoe Fawkner Reserve has been developed for passive recreation, while a piece of land opposite the John Pascoe Fawkner Reserve is occupied by the City of Broadmeadows nursery.
Between the Trestle Bridge and the Jacana Retarding Basin, most of the land along the west bank of the creek is privately owned, while most of the land along the east bank is owned by the City of Broadmeadows (Fig 9-6E). The land along the creek between these two points is reserved for Public Open Space, except near Outlook Drive where residentially zoned land extends down to the creek bank. The Proposed Public Open Space Reservation was included in the 1959 IDO (gazetted 16.3.60) and was extended by Modification 2 to the 1961 IDO (gazetted 8.5.63). The land along the east bank is open to the public for passive recreation and is maintained by the City of Broadmeadows. A small area has been set aside for use by the Broadmeadows City Bowmen. With the exception of the area occupied by the factory complex of R K Morgan Pty Ltd, the land immediately to the west of the creek between the Trestle Bridge and the Jacana Retarding Basin has not been developed.
The Jacana Retarding Basin is located between Valley Crescent, Broadmeadows and the junction of Moonee Ponds and Yuroke Creeks. The major part of the land required for the basin was purchased in the mid 1960s when the basin was being designed. Land on either side of Moonee Ponds Creek immediately upstream of the junction with Yuroke Creek was acquired in 1971, and land on either side of Yuroke Creek immediately upstream of Johnstone Street was acquired from the Housing Commission in mid 1980. With the exception of two narrow strips of land that were already reserved for Proposed Main Roads (Fig 9-6F), the area occupied by the Jacana Retarding Basin was gazetted on 11.2.73 under Amendment No 2 as a Public Purpose Reservation for the Board of Works. The basin embankment and the outlet structure are fenced, but the remainder of the basin is open to the public. As discussed in Section 6.2, the Board of Works leased the major part of the basin to the City of Broadmeadows for recreational purposes. Detailed proposals for the recreational development of land along Moonee Ponds and Yuroke Creeks within the City of Broadmeadows are contained within two consultants' reports. the Moonee Ponds Creek Open Space Study commissioned by the City of Broadmeadows and the Moonee Ponds Creek and Environs Study commissioned by the MMBW (Refs 17 and 18). Some of the recommendations contained within the studies have been implemented but others, for a variety of reasons, have not.
1965. The City of Broadmeadows has laid out two sports ovals near the junction of Moonee Ponds and Yuroke Creeks, leaving the remainder of the leased area for passive recreation, although it would not appear to be extensively used for that purpose.
The land along the lower reaches of Yuroke Creek and its tributaries is, for the most part, currently owned by the Housing Commission, Victoria, but will eventually be transferred to the Board of Works and the City of Broadmeadows (Fig 9-6G). As noted, a relatively small area of land on either side of Yuroke Creek to the north of Johnstone Street was transferred to the Board of Works in mid 1980. The land further upstream along Yuroke Creek and the land along the lower part of the Otway Crescent Drain that will be transferred to the Board is required for a retarding basin (see Section 6.3). The area was reserved for this purpose in 1970 in the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme (Proposed Public Purpose Reservation - Board of Works - gazetted on 11.2.70 as part of Amendment No 2). The land to be transferred to the City of Broadmeadows is generally steep. It is zoned for residential purposes (Fig 9-6A) but is clearly not suited to low cost housing development. At present, this land, together with other land along the lower part of Yuroke Creek, would not appear to be utilised, but has considerable potential for recreational purposes.
The upper reaches of Yuroke Creek and its headwater tributaries flow through generally undeveloped rural land. However, part of the land is zoned Reserved Living and Corridor A, and could be developed for residential purposes at some future date. If such development does occur, drainage works will almost certainly be required along the major watercourses given the erodible nature of the bed and bank materials (see Plates 1-1 and 9-20, and Section 6-4).
Between its junction with Yuroke Creek and Koala Crescent, Westmeadows, Moonee Ponds Creek has been beautified and some sections have been realigned. Further upstream, the creek flows through essentially rural land, and the creek remains in a semi-natural state. Immediately upstream of Yuroke Creek, the land on either side of Moonee Ponds Creek is owned by the Board of Works, part of the land having been acquired for the Jacana Retarding Basin. The land along Moonee Ponds Creek between the upper end of the Jacana Basin and Hackett Street, Westmeadows is Crown Land, Crown Land managed by the City of Broadmeadows, or land owned by the City of Broadmeadows (Fig 9-6H). The land occupied by the Jacana Retarding Basin is reserved for Public Purposes for the Board of Works, while the land along the creek between the Jacana Basin and Hackett Street, Westmeadows is reserved for Public Open Space (Fig 9-6H). The Proposed Public Open Space Reservations were included in the 1955 and 1959 IDOs. The land along Moonee Ponds Creek between Yuroke Creek and Westmeadows Township has been developed for recreational purposes by the City of Broadmeadows. A bicycle track has been constructed along the side of the creek between the Jacana Basin and Westmeadows Township, numerous trees and shrubs have been planted, and a parkland area has been created immediately upstream and downstream of Fawkner Road Bridge (Plate 9-19). The Proposed Public Open Space Reservation owned by the City of Broadmeadows upstream of Hackett Street has been developed for sporting activities.
Upstream of Westmeadows Township, the creek traverses a relatively large Proposed Public Purpose (Board of Works) Reservation (gazetted 11.2.70 as part of Amendment No 2). The reservation marks the site of a possible future retarding basin (The Tullamarine Retarding Basin - see Section 6.3). A large proportion of the site has been acquired by the Board of Works (Fig 9-61). The basin site has not been developed in any way, and the creek remains in a fairly natural state. Upstream of the site, Moonee Ponds Creek and its headwater tributaries flow through relatively undeveloped rural land that is, for the most part, zoned Conservation A and General Farming A (Fig 9-5). The area zoned Conservation A is coincident with the Gellibrand Hill Regional Park that was opened in November 1980. As can be seen from Figure 9-11, Moonee Ponds Creek flows through the northern part of the Park and then forms its south-western boundary. The Park is managed by the National Parks Service of Victoria. Details of the Park and a proposed plan of management are contained in Reference 19.
Although the upper part of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin remains in an essentially rural state, bank erosion is taking place along some reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek and a number of its tributaries. Erosion has been particularly severe along the middle reaches of the Broad Street Drain where vertical crumbling banks up to ten metres high have developed (Plate 9-20). The eroded material is deposited downstream along the improved sections of Moonee Ponds Creek where it is unsightly, reduces channel capacity, and encourages vegetative growth in the creek bed. The removal of such deposits adds considerably to maintenance costs.
1 MMBW, 1913. In, Report of Legislative Committee, No 192 - The Metropolitan Council Bill. Submitted to a Meeting of the Board on 28 October 1913.
2 MMBW, 1917. Memorandum presented by the Chairman at an informal meeting of the Board on 8 May 1917.
3 Order-in-Council, dated 23 May 1881, gazetted 27 May 1881, page 1389.
4 Meaden, CH, 1914. "Local Government in Victoria", In, AM Laughton andT S Hall, (Eds), Handbook to Victoria. Government Printer; Melbourne, 155-186.
5 McCormack, WT Band Fricke, F W, 1934. "Country roads and bridges", Journal of the Institution of Engineers Australia, 6, 361-363.
6 Barrett, B, 1979. The Civic Frontier. Melbourne University Press; Melbourne, see in particular Chapters 4 and 15.
7 Water Resources Council of Victoria, 1978. Flood plain management in Victoria. Melbourne.
8 MMBW Interim Drainage Basin Criteria Manual. MMBW-D-0016.
9 Earl, CT, 1974. Development of the Maribyrnong Township. MMBW; Melbourne.
10 Earl, C T, 1975. A report on flood problems in the Melbourne Region. MMBW-D0003; Melbourne.
11 MMBW, 1979. Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme Ordinance; Reprint No 7. Melbourne.
12 Davison, G, 1978. The rise and fall of marvellous Melbourne. Melbourne University Press; Melbourne.
13 Royal Commission on the Housing Conditions of the People in the Metropolis and in the Populous Centres of the State, 1915, 1917 and 1918. First Progress Report, Second Progress Report, and Final (Third) Report. Victorian Parliamentary Papers: Vol 2, 1915, 1481-1516; Vol 2, 1917, 203-713; and Vol 2, 1918, 305-363.
14 Metropolitan Town Planning Commission, 1929. Plan of General Development.
Government Printer; Melbourne.
15 MMBW, 1954. Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme 1954. Report. Melbourne; Chapter 9.
16 Preston Institute of Technology, 1975. Northern Melbourne Waterways Study. Melbourne.
17 Heller, R, et al., 1976. Moonee Ponds Creek open space study. City of Broadmeadows; Melbourne.
18 Scott and Furphy Engineers Pty Ltd, 1976. Moonee Ponds Creek and environs study. MMBW; Melbourne.
19 Lennon, J L, 1974. Gellibrand Hill. A proposed Regional Park within the Shire of Bulla. Plan of management. National Parks Service of Victoria; Melbourne.
The main drainage management policies for the Moonee Ponds Creek basin in the coming years will be to minimise the risk of flooding along certain sections of Moonee Ponds Creek and a number of tributary watercourses; to prevent, or minimise, bed and bank erosion, and concomitant siltation; to maintain the improved sections of the watercourses to ensure that design criteria are not significantly altered; to maintain, and where possible improve, the visual appearance of the open watercourses through regular mowing of the banks, weed eradication, the removal of rubbish, and the maintenance, and if necessary replanting, of trees and shrubs; and to ensure that the open, unlined sections of the watercourses do not deteriorate to such an extent that they become potential health hazards. It is the Board's intention to try and achieve these objectives in a manner that is acceptable to local residents and municipalities, thereby avoiding conflicts of the nature that have occurred in the past. If conflicts are to be avoided, there will need to be effective communication between the Board and the general public. By informing the public of its intentions at an early stage, and by clearly outlining the reasons for its proposals and the constraints within which it has to work, the Board should be able to forestall uninformed and unnecessarily emotive criticism of the type that has frequently occurred in the past. In addition, early contact with local residents, local interest groups, and local councils, can bring to light potential problems and issues that had not been anticipated or fully appreciated.
It is inevitable that a variety of drainage works will have to be undertaken along Moonee Ponds Creek and some of its tributaries in the not too distant future. Sections of some of the older underground drains within the basin are of sub-standard capacity and will eventually have to be replaced or supplemented, and major improvement works will be required along parts of Moonee Ponds Creek and a number of its upper tributaries (Fig 10-1) : for example, the section of Moonee Ponds Creek between Flemington Road and Footscray Road is well below current design capacity (Fig 10-2), and will eventually have to be upgraded; two unlined sections of Moonee Ponds Creek between Donald Avenue, Essendon and the Jacana Retarding Basin will probably have to be improved if high recurring maintenance costs are to be avoided; it is envisaged that one, and possibly two, relatively large retarding basins will be required upstream of the existing Jacana Basin to attenuate the more frequent and higher flood peaks that will accompany urban development in the upper part of the basin; and it will become necessary to improve some of the tributary watercourses in the north-eastern part of the basin as the urban area expands in that region.
The formulation of drainage policies for the Moonee Ponds Creek basin has been, and will continue to be, constrained by the nature of the existing improvement works, by the legacy of residential and industrial development having been allowed to take place on potentially flood prone land in the lower part of the basin, and by the legacy of early subdivisions along the middle reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek having been allowed to extend to the bank or water's edge. Because of the lack of drainage reserves along the middle reaches of the creek, extensive channel widening or the creation of wide floodways is not considered to be a practical proposition, and for this reason the basic policy that was formulated in 1960, that is the construction of large retarding basins in the upper half of the basin and the reconstruction of the channel along its existing alignment downstream of the basins, has been retained.
The design of any future drainage works within the Moonee Ponds Creek basin will obviously have to take into account the flow regimes of Moonee Ponds Creek and its tributaries. Like other urbanised creeks within the metropolitan area, Moonee Ponds Creek is characterised by a wide range of flow conditions; dry weather flows are often little more than a trickle, but during storms the creeks rise rapidly and flood peaks tend to be relatively high. An additional factor to be considered is the effect that the Jacana Retarding Basin, which became operational in 1967, has on flows along the middle and lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek.
The character of storm flows along the lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek can be seen by reference to the flood hydrographs shown in Figures 10-3 and 10-4. The form of the rising limbs of the hydrographs and the time lags between rainfall and flood peaks are, with the exception of the storm of November 1971, what one would expect for an essentially urbanised catchment. The form of the rising limb for the November 1971 storm reflects a response to a prolonged storm of relatively low intensity. The falling limbs of the hydrographs show far greater variation. The falling limbs of the storm hydrographs of January and July 1963 are typical of an urbanised creek without retardation storage, while the similarity in form of the falling limb of the January 1980 storm indicates that the storm cell was centred downstream of the Jacana basin. The effect of storage in the Jacana basin on the falling limbs of flood hydrographs can be clearly seen for the severe storms of May 1974 and April 1977 (Fig 10-4). Water was also stored in the Jacana Basin in August 1978 and this undoubtedly affected the form of the falling limb, but to what extent is uncertain as the wave-like form of part of the limb suggests that there was a blockage in the channel upstream of the gauge site. With respect to the April 1977 storm, it is interesting to speculate what the form of the hydrograph would have been had there been no retarding basin or if the storm had fallen on a wet rather than a dry catchment.
It is apparent that any future drainage improvement works along Moonee Ponds Creek and tributaries will have to take cognisance of the almost non-existent dry weather flows and the potential danger of water stagnating in pools, and plan for the unattenuated flood peaks that can be expected along the tributary watercourses, along Moonee Ponds Creek upstream of the Jacana Retarding Basin, and also downstream of the basin if a major storm cell is centred over the lower parts of the catchment. In addition, the prolongation of flows as a result of storage in, and gradual release from, the Jacana Basin will also need to be considered because it has been shown elsewhere that prolonged flows of medium magnitude may cause more erosion to unprotected banks than flows of greater magnitude but shorter duration.
Downstream of Flemington Road the Moonee Ponds Creek channel is under capacity (Fig 10-2). The levee banks between Flemington Road and downstream of Arden Street, which were constructed in 1936/37, would be over-topped by a major flood flow, and quite extensive areas of low-lying land on either side of the banks would be inundated. The extent of the land considered to be flood prone is shown in Figure 10-5. The immediate management policy for the section of Moonee Ponds Creek downstream of Flemington Road will be to maintain the capacity of the channel by regularly removing accumulated sand and silt, and to try and ensure that any works carried out beyond the Board's area of responsibility, that is downstream of the Railway Gravitation Bridge, do not adversely affect flows further upstream, particularly during times of flood. In order to minimise damage and disruption should the levee banks be over-topped, it is recommended that future development of the flood prone area should be closely controlled, and that the floor levels of any new buildings should be higher than designated flood levels. If a freeway extension or arterial road is constructed along the line of Moonee Ponds Creek between Flemington Road and Footscray Road, the creek will need to be reconstructed to a capacity equivalent to the improved section immediately upstream of Flemington Road or at least to a capacity capable of carrying the hundred-year flood.
From Flemington Road to just south of Moreland Road, and from Woodland Street to Margaret Street, Moonee Ponds Creek is partially hard-lined, and it is considered unlikely that further drainage works will be required. The management policies for these two improved sections will be to ensure that design criteria are maintained and that the visual appearance of the watercourse does not deteriorate. To achieve these objectives it will be essential that the banks are regularly mown, any noxious weed growth eradicated, any accumulated sediment and rubbish remove of, and any erosion to the grass lined upper banks repaired. To enable maintenance works to be carried out effectively along these two sections of the creek it is imperative that the vehicle access tracks be retained and kept in a good state of repair. Between Donald Avenue and Woodland Street, and from Margaret Street upstream to the Jacana Retarding Basin, Moonee Ponds Creek has been modified on a number of occasions, but no major drainage improvement works have been undertaken. However, because of the inadequate capacity of the channel and the erodible nature of the banks, it is possible that major drainage works will ultimately be required along both sections (Fig 10-1 ). To date, attempts have been made to stabilise the banks along some reaches with loose rocks but this has proved to be only partly successful, the rocks tending to be unstable during major flood flows (see, Plate 9-11 D and the photograph in Figure 9-1 ).
At some future date there will probably be a need to stabilise the bed and lower banks, and to realign some reaches along these two sections of the creek. In the meantime, it will be essential that the capacity of the watercourse is maintained, and that the various temporary works that have been constructed are kept in a good state of repair. In addition, it will be imperative that all development along the adjoining floodplain is closely controlled. Until major improvement works are undertaken, it can be anticipated that further small-scale bank stabilisation will be required, and that the existing rock lining, which is essentially a cosmetic treatment, will occasionally be damaged by flood flows and have to be repaired.
As reference to Figure 10-1 will show, drainage works will probably be required along some of the tributary watercourses downstream of the Jacana Retarding Basin. The remaining open section of the Royal Park Drain and two open sections of Westbreen Creek will eventually have to be improved, while the undergrounded Acacia Street and West Street Drains, and part of the undergrounded Melville Main Drain, all of which are of sub-standard capacity, will have to be improved or supplemented. The Jacana Retarding Basin, which became operational in 1967, has attenuated flood peaks along the middle and lower reaches of Moonee Ponds Creek. During both the May 1974 and April 1977 storms, considerable volumes of water were stored in the basin, although on neither occasion did the water overtop the glory hole spillway. It is possible that more efficient use could be made of the basin by throttling the normal outlet to pond water more frequently. During the April 1977 storm, flow from the normal outlet overtopped the concrete lining along the improved section between Margaret and Gaffney Streets, although according to design criteria, this should not have happened until the glory hole spillway came into operation. As described in Section 9.2, the grass-lined banks above the concrete lining were extensively eroded (see photographs in Figure 9-1 ). Before any modification to the outlet could be undertaken, however, detailed analyses of existing and future flow data from the gauges at the Jacana outlet and upstream of Flemington Road would be required, and due consideration would have to be given to the effect of any modification on the design of any additional retarding basins that might be constructed further upstream. With respect to the storage area of the Jacana Retarding Basin, the Board will endeavour to prevent any filling from taking place.
As reference to Figure 9-5 will show, a relatively small proportion of the upper part of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin to the east of Mickleham Road is zoned Residential C, two areas are zoned Corridor A1, and an extensive area is zoned Reserved Living. The land zoned Residential C is developed, or being developed, and it can be anticipated that the land zoned Reserved Living will be released for urban development in the coming years. As development proceeds in this part of the basin there will be a need for drainage works to be undertaken to minimise erosion and flooding along the watercourses within The MMBW re-examined its proposal and re-affirmed its original recommendation that the land should be rezoned General Farming A and immediately downstream of the development areas, and to attenuate flood peaks passing downstream. There are plans to construct a large retarding basin at the junction of Yuroke Creek and the Otway Crescent Drain in the mid 1980s (see Section 6.3) to attenuate peak flows entering Moonee Ponds Creek from the Yuroke Creek sub-basin. The basin will be designed to complement the existing basin at Jacana. It is envisaged that drainage works will be required along the upper reaches of Yuroke Creek and the Otway Crescent Drain, along two tributaries of Yuroke Creek (Nos 4363 and 4367), and along the Broad Street Drain (Fig 10-1 ). Particular care will be needed to ensure that erosion does not become a serious problem along these relatively steep watercourses, and in the case of Broad Street Drain it is possible that works will be required to rehabilitate existing badly eroded sections.
To the west of Mickleham Road, the upper part of the Moonee Ponds Creek basin is zoned Conservation A, General Farming A and reserved for various Public Purposes (Commonwealth Government, Social Welfare Department, Mental Hygiene Department, Agriculture Department, Victoria Police), and extensive urban development is therefore precluded. Upstream of Westmeadows Township land along either side of Moonee Ponds Creek has been reserved for the Board of Works (Proposed Public Purpose Reservation) for a retarding basin. There are, however, no plans to construct a basin at this site in the the near future, but it is considered prudent to retain the site for a number of reasons : in case the zoning upstream of the site should be changed to allow residential or industrial development to take place; in case a considerable volume of storage area is lost in the Jacana Retarding Basin; and in case future experience indicates that a basin is required on the site to complement the Jacana Basin and the basin on Yuroke Creek.
It is not anticipated that any major drainage works will be required along Moonee Ponds Creek upstream of the junction with Yuroke Creek in the near future. It should, however, be borne in mind that the existing improvement works between Yuroke Creek and Westmeadows Township were undertaken for beautification purposes and that little if any consideration was given to flood alleviation when they were designed. Roads and private properties will occasionally be flooded along this section of Moonee Ponds Creek until such time that a basin is built further upstream or the capacity of the watercourse is increased.