Reservoir 3073

Reservoir is a residential suburb 12 km. north of Melbourne and 2 km. north of Preston. Its named derives from three reservoirs built in 1864, 1909 and 1913, north of Preston to hold the metropolitan water supply from the Yan Yean reservoir. The reservoirs helped to settle sediment carried from Yan Yean and to reduce pressure on water mains which were prone to bursting.

When the first reservoir was built the population of the whole of the Preston district was about 700 people, mostly concentrated in the southern parts around High Street and Plenty Road. When the railway was opened between Collingwood and Whittlesea, with a station at "Preston (Reservoir)", in 1889, there were still many unfilled residential allotments southwards in Preston before homebuilders needed to move to Reservoir. Settlement in Reservoir was confined to High and Edwardes Streets and the remaining land was farmed. Merri Lands, in the north-west of Reservoir was originally a dairy farm, and the Merrilands Estate (1918) at Hughes Parade and Botha Avenue was a garden-city-inspired design by Saxel Tuxen.

An Anglican church was opened near the railway station before 1914 and a Presbyterian church in the early 1920s. The primary school opened in the Anglican church in 1917 and moved to permanent premises in 1924. A supporter of the Anglican church, Dyer Edwards, donated 14 ha. of land to Preston Council for a park, now the Edwardes Lake park. In 1921 Reservoir's census population was 451 people.

Being on the metropolitan outskirts and comprised mostly of small farms and low income families, Reservoir's residents experienced more than usual hardship during the 1930s depression. Childhood illnesses reduced school attendances and economic hardship lasted until the outbreak of the second world war.

Residential development happened quickly in the early postwar years. Reservoir East and Reservoir West primary schools opened in 1953 and 1954, as well as the high school in 1954. The Housing Commission built large residential estates in the east of Reservoir. As residential development moved northwards through Reservoir the Lakeside high and primary schools were built in 1960 and 1962, and the Ruthven primary school in 1968.

Reservoir has Kingsbury adjoining it on the east and Keon Park on the north. Ruthven, with a railway station (1963) and a primary school (1968), was named after William Ruthven, V.C. winner, France, 1914-18, and local State parliamentarian (A.L.P) 1945-61.

Despite the spread of housing in Reservoir the only shopping centre of any size is the original one near the railway station, dating from the 1920s. Other shops are corner stores. Edwards Lake Park is the largest area of open space with bowling, tennis and athletics facilities. In the east, adjoining the Darebin Creek, there is an extensive linear reserve with ovals and Donath Park in the north has several ovals. (J.C. Donath was Preston council's town clerk.) A well-known son of Reservoir is Barry Dickens (b.1949), a writer and humourist.

In 1987 the median house price in Reservoir was 87% of the median for metropolitan Melbourne and in 1996 it was 82% of the metropolitan median.


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