Brief History of the Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Steam trains

From around the late 1870s, the area that is the Reserve today was originally set aside as a water catchment with a storage dam – the Moe Railway Reservoir – to supply water to the Moe Railway Station for steam trains. With the completion of the Melbourne to Sale rail line in 1878, the Moe Railway Station became one of the largest railway yards outside the metropolitan area as it became a terminus for the Thorpdale, Walhalla and Yallourn lines. The water from the catchment was also piped to several railway houses and these were the first in Moe to have reticulated water.

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 Swimming carnivals

From the 1950s, the electrification of the rail line meant a decreased need for water from the dam. It had gained popularity as the local swimming pool some time from the 1930s, after the Moe Water Trust was established.  It had a wooden duck board around the banks and a large wooden trestle- type tower approximately three meters high with a diving board on the west side.  Swimming carnivals and bathing beauty contests were held.  There was even a kiosk.

The image below is a copy of a postcard showing what the swimming pool looked like then, including the diving board trestle, before the removal of the dam wall.

Postcard by Rose Stereograph Co, c1920-1954.Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria

Postcard by Rose Stereograph Co, c1920-1954.
Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria

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Conservation reserve

Later on, as Moe established an outdoor swimming pool in response to at least two drownings that occurred in the dam, public use of the Reserve declined until the 1970s when a Committee of Management was established to help manage the Reserve on behalf of the City Council and the public. The Reserve was named the Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve after Narracan Shire councillor, Edward Hunter, for his dedicated services to the Moe community during the 1920s to the ’40s.

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Moe City

The Reserve is within the boundary of the Moe City and is indeed a wonderful asset to the community.  There are few towns in Victoria that could boast of having such a large area of bush land within their city boundaries. The area of approximately 57 hectares still contains the dam, with the remainder consisting of natural bush land, with main access roads and walking tracks.

Managing the Reserve

Work in the Reserve relies on funding from the Latrobe City, Community Groups and grants from Government organisations. The Committee operates with a long term strategic Environmental Management Plan that sets the direction for managing the Reserve.

The Reserve needs ongoing care, consideration and attention by all users as it faces increasing pressure from urban development on all sides.

The Committee of Management seeks your input. Meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month 7.00pm at the Latrobe Leisure Newborough Moe Centre, located at the corner of Old Sale Road and Southwell Avenue, Newborough.

Your attendance and contributions would be really appreciated.

Contact us.

2 responses to “History

  1. is the photograph of the boy driving into the water, really one of the reserve. as it does not appear to fit in with the surrounding views of the water.
    there is a straight dirt road track shown in that photo, the dirt road was not built until the mid sixties,
    regards rod wilson formerly of 24 dwyer street moe

    • Thanks, Rod – you’re right. We had noticed that while the bush looked about right, the track didn’t. Have you had a chance to check out the new signs put up near the dam? We had decided to leave the image you refer to out of the new signage for the same reason – but now we need to update the information on the website, too!

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