|Damper Creek Reserve
Damper Creek was probably a valuable food
source for the traditional inhabitants of the area, the
Wurundjeri. Later it was a rest place and water source
for stockman. Today Damper creek takes the stormwater from the
surrounding area to Gardiners Creek, on into the Yarra River and eventually
Port Phillip Bay. Alongside and under the actual creek stream
there is the sewer main for the surrounding area. This takes the
sewerage down to East Malvern where it connects with the SE trunk
sewer to the Eastern treatment plant at Carrum.
Damper Creek Reserve played a small part in the building
of St Stephen's Anglican Church in High Street Road, Mt
Waverley. The plans for the church were drawn up in 1864
and donations were requested to pay for the building. The
congregation contracted a William Stevenson (Stephensons
Road, a variation, was named after him) who lived about where the Shell
Service station is now located on Waimarie Drv, to make the
bricks. He obtained his clay from the crossfire of
gullies around Damper Creek. The bricks were fired in a
kiln built near the creek and the church members carried
them up the hill. Up until the 1950s the intersection of
Stephenson and High Street Rds was difficult to negotiate as the SE
tributary passed through the centre of the intersection and there was a
deviation to the west in Stephenson Rd to bypass the "hole".
Orchards, market gardens and farms soon surrounded the
creek until after World War 2 when the city began to
spread eastward. Alvie Hall (the current meeting place of
the Friends of Damper Creek Reserve), at the corner of Alvie and High
Street Rds was originally created as a motor garage with a future residence
above. The residence was never built and the building was
subsequently converted to a church meeting hall and then purchased by
the Council. Just north of High Street Rd, in the late 1930s, the
local farmer created a large dam which was used for stock and crop
irrigation. With subdivision of the land in St Johns Wood Rd the dam was
Damper Creek and the surrounding bushland was saved from
subdivision and road construction in 1969 by local
residents who created the Damper Creek Conservation
and Development Group and mounted a campaign against
the linking of Sunhill and Swayfield Roads. The nucleus
of the group consisted of members of the Sunhill
Social Golf Club (which was formed in 1965 and still
meets 2014). Ultimately the perserverance of the local
conservation group was successful and the development
proposals were abandoned and some sections of the
original designated park area were "swapped"
with the developer to create the area we now have.
Without the efforts of this group the Damper Creek
Reserve might not be the enchanted bushland retreat local
residents now love.
Urban development surrounded the Damper Creek
"drain" and the area was infested with
blackberries, ivy and other noxious weeds. Willow trees
elevated the creek bed and the banks were eroding with
the increasing volume of stormwater. The area was used as
a dump for local residents' garden refuse and rubbish.
In the early 1990's circuit fitness equipment was put
into the reserve but the area was often too boggy and not
an attractive or safe place to run. In the 1980s a toilet
block was established in the Park Rd carpark but was later removed
because of damage and unsavoury use. In July 2014 a new
playground was built at the Park Rd end of the reserve.
Bushland Restoration Project
The Friends of Damper Creek Reserve was formed in April
1993. The Friends worked in conjunction with the then
City of Waverley (now Monash Council) to begin a staged
restoration of the creek.
The Council began the major engineering component to stabilise and
reconstruct the creek bed and banks, while the Friends successfully
applied to Melbourne Parks and Waterways (now Parks Victoria) for
funding for plants. As well as planting and the general
maintenance/weeding the Friends have constructed the middle bridge known
as "Palma's Plummet" and the boardwalk over the Bengal Crescent
Tributary, put in the two noticeboards, erosion control sleepers, bench
seats, fencing and assited with the aquatic ponds.
The initial restoration proposal conmprised 4 stages, Stage 1 - from
Alice St bridge to Tarella Dr Bridge, Stage 2 - Tarella bridge to
Stephensons Rd, Stage 3 - Alice St Bridge south 250m, Stage 4 -
wetlands south to Park Rd. The proposal attracted much comment
(for and against). Melbourne Water, the Authority responsible for
the creek bed from the Bengal Cres tributary southwards downstream,
was generally supportive and in 1993 it was agreed that Stage1 be
constructed to demonstrate the method and assess the results following
high flow rates from winter rains.
The creek bed and bank restoration work was
undertaken by "Wetland & Wildlife
Creations" (otherwise known as the two Tonys) who
were the successful tenderers for all stages except Stage
4 Wetlands. Stage 2 was undertaken in 1994. While Stage 3 was done
Unfortunately, under the then new Compulsory Competitive
Tendering (CCT) Process Monash Council was compelled to
accept the lowest tender for Stage 4. This was a decision that was
later regretted. The dam wall failed and after several
attempts by the contractor to remedy the problem Council
withheld final payment and the contractor walked away. At
the beginning of 2000 Tony Brindley was employed to repair the dam work. This has been a huge success
although it would have been much easier and successful if
quality workmanship was engaged in the beginning.
The honeycomb basalt rockwork in Damper Creek is not indigenous to
the area and was sourced from the Victorian Western district. Some
other basalt 25% was sourced from north of Melbourne. Claystone is
the indigenous rock, hence the history of brick making in the area.
The large flatter basalt stones (floaters) were carefully positioned and
interlocked into layers to provide strength and preclude the rushing
waters from eroding the earth behind. During construction of the sewer
main in the 1970, some large granite stones were placed in the creek and
these were carefull repositioned and integrated with the basalt
rockwork. The "waterfalls" are not natural and were carefully
constructed to slow down the flow and provide some turbulence to aerate
The restoration work has continued from Stephensons Road
to the junction with Damper Creek East near Alvie Hall.
The project was completed with Stage 8 which terminates at the
Riversdale Golf Course. In 2003/4 further restoration work was
commenced in Bellbird Corner (corner High Street Road and Stephensons
Road, Mt Waverley) by Monash City. These works were performed by
Monash Council with outside contractors, without the participation of
Melbourne Water which had no funding! In 2008 when funding
became available, Melbourne Water engaged contractors to rebuild the
base of the two arms of the east branch. (That section from
Stephensons Rd and the section from the Hight Street Rd / Stephensons Rd
intersection.) This work was poorly done in that many, many tonnes
of rocks were dropped into the creek bed to create riffle sections for
aeration but these gradually sank into the clay base. At the western end
little stabilisation of the creek bank was made ... perhaps due to the
contracted payments being exhausted! The contractors departed the
site in October 2008. High flow rates illustrate how erosion will
eventually cause problems in this area. Later in 2009/10
some works occurred along Damper Creek East behind the Bowls Club.
In 2014 a new
fence was constructed across the creek at the Riversdale Golf Course
which allows the high flow of water during heavy rainfall that has
usually resulted in local flooding of the area and into rear of the
house lots of Yatama Crt.
In June 2015 worked commenced on
creating a small wetland and wooden board walk crossing at the south end
of the reserve near the new playground.
Here below is a view of Stage 8 taken in
The origin of some local street names (from the
Waverley Historical Society).
- Named after Charlotte Chamber's House Swayfield
in Kent Rd, Box Hill. The Chambers family originated from
Swayfield England. Dorothy Chambers married John Carmody.
Kathleen St - Named after Kathleen Carmody.
Maureen St - Named after Maureen Carmody.
Alice St - Named after Alice (Hore) Hardner. The Hore and
Hardner families lived close to the creek.
- Part of the Glendale estate subdivided by the Sunhill
Tarella Drv - Originaly called Alec St
but renamed following residents' request as it was part of the Tarella
Cratloe Rd - Named after Cratloe
Wood the family property of John Carmody. The Carmody
family originated from Cratloe Ireland.
Susan Crt - Named after the granddaughter of the
Fairbrother family who developed the court.
- Named after the grandson of the Fairbrother family who developed