Grid Reference CU 399645
Department Melbourne Water
Work Depot Wallaby Creek
Region North East
Grading Primary
Elevation (ASL) 670m
Height 29m
Construction Steel
Cabin size 3.5m x 3.5m
Public access to site No
In use since 194?
CFA Region 12 - North Eastern
Photo and information supplied by Andre Belterman

Strath tower was constructed in the early 1940's and is in the Wallaby Creek water catchment and forms now part of the Kinglake National Park. The catchment supplies its water to Toorourong Reservoir, which is connected to Yan Yean Reservoir, the first water supply for Melbourne.
A secondary tower, a tall tree tower with enclosed cabin, was located in the centre-east of the Wallaby Crk. Catchment. It's exact site is still unknown.
In 1994, most of the Melbourne Water Catchments became National Parks but Melbourne Water still has full control over management of the Parks and the closed Catchment policy is still in force.
Melbourne is one of the very few cities in the world with a water supply coming from closed Catchments. This ensures Melbourne of very good quality drinking water. Some of the Catchments have been closed to the public since the start of this century and this results in beautiful Old Growth Forests of mainly Mountain Ash, (Eucalyptus Regnans). To protect these forests from devastating bushfires, Melbourne Water have had their own Towers for fire detection. Early detection of wild-fires is vital for Melbourne Water. A wild-fire effects the harvest of water for many many years. In the first few years the water yield increases but is polluted and after the re-growth starts to take off, the water yield drops dramatically as the young eucalyptus saplings consume all the water they can get.

In 1993, it was discovered that the lightning protection system was insufficiant and work was undertaken to rectify the problem.

There are conflicted dates about the construction of this tower. Some papers state 1949 while one paper states 1955 and a 1942 paper talks about a fire tower at Strath Creek Huts.

Strath tower was in the path of the devastating Black Saturday (7th Feb 2009). The Kilmore East fire came over Mt. Disappointment. Tim Sholl evacuated the tower and just as well, because 100% of the Wallaby Creek catchment was burnt. Although the site was burnt over, the tower was inspected after the fires and considered to be structual safe due to the large clearing around the base and a fuel reduction burn in 2005.

Strath tower is registered with the in the USA.

Please click on thumbnail for enlargements
New coat of paint
in December 2002
Supplied by Donald Evans
Fuel Reduction Burn
near tower in 2005
Supplied by Donald Evans
After Black Saturday Feb. 2009
Supplied by Cameron Padgham
Fire Bunker - Dec 2012
Supplied by Andre Belterman

A certified Fire Bunker was installed before the 2012-13 season. The bunker couldn't be burried due to the rocky ground, so rock and soil was placed around the unit. This will be an extra safety measure for the FLO. Melbourne Water hopes that the FLO will never find the need to use it.

Strath tower was subject to 2 break-ins in 2016 and 2017 and vital equipment was stolen.

During the winter of 2020, Melbourne Water handed the management of their 4 fire towers to DELWP/FFM Vic. We still haven’t been supplied with the exact reason for this decision, but it seems a bit odd that a water authority hands over the management of these assets whilst they form an critical part of the fire protection of their main asset and reason for their existence: water. Initially, DELWP only accepted the Mt. St. Leonard and McVeighs towers and won’t accept Poley and Strath towers until the ladder system has been changed, so they can be climbed without a harness. So, during the 2020-21 fire season, Mt. St. Leonard and McVeighs towers were managed by FFM Vic whilst Poley and Strath were still managed by Melbourne Water. We’ll keep an eye out for further developments.

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