History and heritage

Melbourne Water has played a significant role in Melbourne’s development, from creating our underground sewerage system in the 1890s to completing Thomson Reservoir, Melbourne’s largest water supply reservoir in 1984.

Today, we are responsible for a rich and diverse portfolio of heritage assets which we inherited largely from our predecessor, the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works.  Many of these assets were built in the formative years of Melbourne’s settlement.

But our commitment to preserving heritage goes beyond built structures. It extends to respecting the cultural heritage places of the Traditional Owners of the land, rivers and creeks that we care for today, and that we are ever-mindful of the importance they have for our indigenous communities.

Timeline of our history

We’ve helped shape Melbourne over the past 120 years. View key moments in our organisation’s history.

Heritage management and conservation

Conserving our heritage – built, indigenous and natural – is central to preserving our traditions and culture.

History of Melbourne's infrastructure

Learn about the history behind some of our key infrastructure and assets.


We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we operate – the peoples of the Kulin and Gunaikurnai Nations, and their elders past and present.


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