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Culture and heritage

In 1914 a severe drought prompted the search for extra water supplies for Melbourne. By 1917 a suitable site for a storage reservoir was located near the township of Silvan which lay across the Stonyford Creek. Water for Silvan Reservoir would come almost entirely from other reservoirs (mainly the O'Shannassy) as Silvan Reservoir's water catchment was quite small.

Construction commenced on the outlet channel and stilling basins in 1926. In 1927 the main construction began. All good timber was cleared from the catchment. This consisted mainly of messmate and grey gum which was used for the construction of camps and offices. All other vegetation was then cleared to approximately 10 metres above the high water level to ensure maximum water quality.

By 1928 building of the dam wall had commenced. Once complete it would measure 644 metres long at its crest, 219 metres wide at its base and 43 metres high.

Silvan Reservoir commenced water storage in June, 1931. By December of that year, Silvan was holding three-quarters of its maximum capacity. The dam was officially opened on 7 July, 1931.

Silvan began to receive water from the Upper Yarra Dam in 1953. In 1983 work began on stabilising the existing dam wall which had begun to show signs of age. During this period the existing picnic ground was also upgraded with new barbecue areas, gardens, rotundas and the Stonyford Creek Walking Track.

Today Silvan Reservoir receives its water supply from the Thomson, Upper Yarra and O'Shannassy Reservoirs. In turn, Silvan Reservoir supplies domestic water to many of Melbourne's suburbs and other large off-stream storage reservoirs such as Cardinia and Greenvale.

The formal landscape qualities of the park have gained recognition by the National Trust of Australia. The Torulosa Stairway and formal arrangement of exotic trees and stonework are an essential part of the cultural and heritage values of the park.