We followed the path up a spur to the high points overlooking the gorge below and from various lookouts interspersed along the track, we could see Mt Anakie and away towards Corio Bay, extensive views of the Brisbane Ranges which are still recovering from the 2006 bushfires and the Lower Stony Creek Reservoir.
|Ted Errey track showing regrowth after bushfire damage|
So, how does it all work?
In 1841, as I have blogged previously, Captain Foster Fyans had the breakwater constructed across the Barwon to improve Geelong's water supply, however by the 1860s the supply from the Barwon was both inadequate for the town's needs and was polluted by the local industry.
|View across Brisbane Ranges with Lower Stony Creek|
Reservoir in the middle distance
|Decommissioned waterpipe from the Lower Stony|
Creek Reservoir, exiting a tunnel and crossing the creek.
The pipes were originally constructed from timber
As Geelong continued to grow, more water was needed and over the years, much of this continued to be drawn from the Moorabool River. Water first flowed into the Koorweingaboora Reservoir located upstream of Bolwarrah Weir near the headwaters of the Moorabool East Branch in 1911, then in 1914 and 1918 the Upper Stony Creek Reservoirs 2 and 3 respectively were completed. In 1940, the capacity of the Ballan Channel was doubled to allow more water to be drawn from the upper reaches of the Moorabool East Branch and by 1954 the Bostock Reservoir, located on the Moorabool East Branch just outside Ballan and below the Bolwarrah Weir, came on line. It is also connected to the Ballan Channel via its own open channel - the Bostock Channel.
But that is not the end of the story. Along the west branch of the Moorabool River are two significant reservoirs. The Moorabool Reservoir was built near the headwaters of the Moorabool West Branch in 1915, then, in 1972 the Bungal Dam was built at Lal Lal. This latter reservoir at the time it was built was equivalent in volume to Geelong's total water storage.
Most recently in 1999, the pipes and the channel which for so many years carried water from the Stony Creek Reservoirs to the basin at Anakie were decommissioned and replaced by a pipe running along the Steiglitz-Durdidwarrah Road. In total about one third of the water taken from the Moorabool River system is available to Geelong with the remainder being used by Ballarat. This accounts for approximately one fifth of Geelong's water requirements. The remainder is supplied by the Barwon River system and in more recent years by borefields at Barwon Downs and Anglesea.
Phew! So, back to our walk. In some places the track was rocky and only vaguely defined, although the blue trail markers helped keep us on course. In other places we were walking along access tracks which were broad and reasonably level.
|Rocky section of the Ted Errey Track|
|The one flooded weir we didn't need to cross|
|Yet another creek crossing|
And so, we squelched our way to the car and headed for home.
|Plaque at Montpellier Basin commemorating the centenary of|
reticulated water in Geelong