Tarralla Creek project

Two of a Victorian utility’s projects have taken home top honour at the annual Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Awards (AILAA) for 2023. 

Melbourne Water has won both the Victorian Award of Excellence for Land Management for its Lower Werribee Waterways Amenity Action Plan and the AILAA 2023 Victorian Landscape Architecture Award for Infrastructure for its Reimagining Tarralla Creek project. 

Having won the two awards, both of the Melbourne Water projects will progress to the national awards where the winners will be announced on Thursday 19 October 2023. 

The Lower Werribee Waterways Amenity Action Plan, which is a ten-year vision, aims to improve community and amenity access to open spaces and waterways, while enhancing opportunities for physical activity, social connection and an escape to nature. 

To be able to qualify for an AILAA land management award, the awards committee and jury consider the projects and the strategies for the restoration, conservation or management of significant landscapes that demonstrate a tangible and physical outcome. 

Melbourne Water’s Senior Asset Planner and Service Programs, Jo Bush, said the community is dedicated to updating spaces and experiences throughout Melbourne’s West. 

This is a wonderfully collaborative land planning and management project delivered by Traditional Owners, government and a range of engaged community groups dedicated to providing new and improved blue-green spaces, and experiences, in Melbourne’s west,” Ms Bush said. 

“Over the last year we’ve achieved wide-ranging results for the landscape and the community. We’ve revegetated the river corridor, planted 5,000 trees and shrubs and constructed parking areas, picnic shelters and barbeque facilities.

We’ve also engaged with local and CALD communities, staging guided walks, education programs and Traditional Owner events, commenced work on interpretative signage, and worked with Traditional Owners to help determine ideal cultural amenities. We’re extremely proud of these first steps and for the recognition that this award provides.”

The Lower Werribee Waterways Amenity Action Plan project will be a joint partnership between the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Werribee River Association, Western Melbourne Tourism, Wyndham City Council and the Victorian Government. 

The second project that Melbourne Water won an award for includes the Tarralla Creek project. 

The initiative aims to help transform stormwater drains and creeks into natural waterways and open spaces. 

Reimagining Tarralla Creek is a $9 million project, which will include more than 80,000 new plants, a bird hide, informal creek crossings, gathering spaces, new bridge and paths, a new waterway channel and the Wurundjeri Sensory Garden. 

Melbourne Water Senior Asset Planner for Reimagining Your Creek Service Programs, Neil Featonby, explained how important the new project will be. 

“The wetlands provide important habitat for local flora and fauna species, the enhancements we’ve made to Tarralla Creek provide a unique opportunity for the community to engage with the water and environment in a way that they haven’t been able to do before. It was a truly exciting project to be involved in, the results of which will be enjoyed and appreciated for generations to come,” Mr Featonby said. 

The Reimagining Tarralla Creek project was a joint initiative delivered by the Wurundgeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, Melbourne Water, Maroondah Council, Yarra Valley Water, Friends of Eastfield Park, and the Victorian Government.

Featured image: Tarralla Creek project. Image courtesy of: Melbourne Water

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