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Culture and heritage

The dense forests of this area were not particularly favoured by Aboriginal people, and were a barrier to European settlement.

Europeans first settled the area in the 1860s to access Woods Point goldfields and soon the area was recognised as a valuable source of timber. The water catchment value of the forest was also recognised last century, and dams were built at Maroondah and later at Upper Yarra.

The Black Spur (or Blacks Spur) gained its name from the route taken by displaced Aboriginal people from northern Victoria on their way to a mission settlement at Corranderk near Healesville.

Severe fires, such as those experienced in 1939 and 2009, have burnt this area but the vegetation and wildlife are adapted to survive or regenerate after such events.

O’Shannassy Aqueduct

In its prime, the gravity fed O’Shannassy Aqueduct delivered 90 million litres a day to the Surrey Hills Reservoir providing a vital source of fresh water for the metropolitan region. The
development of the Yarra – Silvan conduits in the early 1950’s resulted in reduced requirement for the aqueduct.

In 1997 the channel and surrounding area was decommissioned by Melbourne Water and bestowed to Parks Victoria in 2005 for inclusion into the Yarra Ranges National Park.