Yarrowee River Masterplan

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The project

The City of Ballarat would value your input into the Yarrowee River Masterplan project. Click the survey below at the bottom of the page

It’s 25 years since the original Yarrowee River Corridor Masterplan was prepared as part of the LINCS project (Linear Network of Communal Spaces) established in 1991. Extensive works have been undertaken under its guidance and more recently by the ‘Breathing Life into the Yarrowee’ initiative 2013. This has led to improvements in habitat and bio-diversity, the creation of walking paths and to the community’s use and appreciation of the waterways as public spaces.

It is now considered an appropriate time to review these plans, to identify what has worked and what hasn’t worked, and establish priorities for the next 20 years to further improve, develop, manage and maintain the Yarrowee River and its tributaries.

The project, jointly funded by CHW, DELWP and COB, will undertake stakeholder consultation, prepare a site analysis plan, and produce a business case for key projects that have been identified during the study. Make sure you take our survey (closing date 11 December 2019) to share your thoughts with us about the Yarrowee River and tributaries.


The Yarrowee River: The story so far

The upper Yarrowee River runs through Ballarat, from the north-eastern suburbs, through the city centre (partly underground), and then through southern Ballarat before it travels through open land and joins the Leigh River which flows into the Barwon River. The Yarrowee River has historically been an important centre piece for the area. Prior to the European settlement of Australia, the river was an important place for the Boro gundidj, a tribe of the Wathaurong Indigenous Australian people as they based themselves around its northern stretches. The river was also an important asset in the gold rush, providing a source of water for mining operations.

The river was seriously degraded during this period by dredging and hydraulic processes causing major silting and stream bed changes. During the 1860s, much of the river and its tributaries were sealed as drains using quarried bluestone to prevent erosion and help mitigate frequent flooding. By the turn of the century, the river had become heavily polluted during the early industrialization of Ballarat.

During the 1960s, the river through the Ballarat CBD was re-routed, concreted and built over. As a result, it now forms an underground drain running under Grenville Street. Many other parts of the river also became wide and deep concrete stormwater drains. However, several stretches remained in its natural bush and parkland setting.

Recent works

The Yarrowee River and Tributaries became the focus of interest with the development of Ballart’s urban areas and as the water ways became a key central riparian habitat with linear linkages to surrounding reserves. Much work has been done since Linear Network of Communal Spaces (LINCS) was established in 1991. These works included removal of invasive weeds, tree and vegetation planting, creation of wetlands and construction of pathways and bridges.

Breathing Life into the Yarrowee River

In 2013, the Victorian Government announced a $1,000,000-dollar investment in regenerative works on the Yarrowee River. The project, led by the City of Ballarat and the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, was called ‘Breathing Life into the Yarrowee River’. Project works built on the earlier initiatives undertaken as part of the LINCS plan and were carried out with many community work days and engagement which re-invigorated community interest in the river. The Friends of the Yarrowee group were formed and hundreds of community members become active in river improvement projects.

Surveys results showed a positive increase in the number of community members using the river after the project. The “River Corridor Audit Project” seeks to build on the success of the community engagement and identify necessary works still to be done.


You may also be interested in the City of Ballarat's Living Corridors Action Plan currently being undertaken for the eastern diversity corridor which can be accessed via this link

The project

The City of Ballarat would value your input into the Yarrowee River Masterplan project. Click the survey below at the bottom of the page

It’s 25 years since the original Yarrowee River Corridor Masterplan was prepared as part of the LINCS project (Linear Network of Communal Spaces) established in 1991. Extensive works have been undertaken under its guidance and more recently by the ‘Breathing Life into the Yarrowee’ initiative 2013. This has led to improvements in habitat and bio-diversity, the creation of walking paths and to the community’s use and appreciation of the waterways as public spaces.

It is now considered an appropriate time to review these plans, to identify what has worked and what hasn’t worked, and establish priorities for the next 20 years to further improve, develop, manage and maintain the Yarrowee River and its tributaries.

The project, jointly funded by CHW, DELWP and COB, will undertake stakeholder consultation, prepare a site analysis plan, and produce a business case for key projects that have been identified during the study. Make sure you take our survey (closing date 11 December 2019) to share your thoughts with us about the Yarrowee River and tributaries.


The Yarrowee River: The story so far

The upper Yarrowee River runs through Ballarat, from the north-eastern suburbs, through the city centre (partly underground), and then through southern Ballarat before it travels through open land and joins the Leigh River which flows into the Barwon River. The Yarrowee River has historically been an important centre piece for the area. Prior to the European settlement of Australia, the river was an important place for the Boro gundidj, a tribe of the Wathaurong Indigenous Australian people as they based themselves around its northern stretches. The river was also an important asset in the gold rush, providing a source of water for mining operations.

The river was seriously degraded during this period by dredging and hydraulic processes causing major silting and stream bed changes. During the 1860s, much of the river and its tributaries were sealed as drains using quarried bluestone to prevent erosion and help mitigate frequent flooding. By the turn of the century, the river had become heavily polluted during the early industrialization of Ballarat.

During the 1960s, the river through the Ballarat CBD was re-routed, concreted and built over. As a result, it now forms an underground drain running under Grenville Street. Many other parts of the river also became wide and deep concrete stormwater drains. However, several stretches remained in its natural bush and parkland setting.

Recent works

The Yarrowee River and Tributaries became the focus of interest with the development of Ballart’s urban areas and as the water ways became a key central riparian habitat with linear linkages to surrounding reserves. Much work has been done since Linear Network of Communal Spaces (LINCS) was established in 1991. These works included removal of invasive weeds, tree and vegetation planting, creation of wetlands and construction of pathways and bridges.

Breathing Life into the Yarrowee River

In 2013, the Victorian Government announced a $1,000,000-dollar investment in regenerative works on the Yarrowee River. The project, led by the City of Ballarat and the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, was called ‘Breathing Life into the Yarrowee River’. Project works built on the earlier initiatives undertaken as part of the LINCS plan and were carried out with many community work days and engagement which re-invigorated community interest in the river. The Friends of the Yarrowee group were formed and hundreds of community members become active in river improvement projects.

Surveys results showed a positive increase in the number of community members using the river after the project. The “River Corridor Audit Project” seeks to build on the success of the community engagement and identify necessary works still to be done.


You may also be interested in the City of Ballarat's Living Corridors Action Plan currently being undertaken for the eastern diversity corridor which can be accessed via this link

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Yarrowee Map

7 months

Place an orange pin to mark weed infestation, path issues, somewhere that needs improvement, something you think needs to change.

Place a green pin and tell us what’s significant about this place. Did you see an animal here, do you think it’s beautiful, does the community group use the space?

Place an orange pin to mark weed infestation, path issues, somewhere that needs improvement, something you think needs to change.

Place a green pin and tell us what’s significant about this place. Did you see an animal here, do you think it’s beautiful, does the community group use the space?