The Aborigines of this area lived as hunter-gatherers in small family bands of the Kreitch balug clan, which belonged to the Wotjobaluk tribe. The sandy area on the northeastern side of the Snape Reserve was used as a campsite and evidence of this occupation can still be found in the form of stone scatters and burials.

The Snape Reserve was part of Upper Regions Station, which was occupied by squatter William Patterson in March 1845. The next licence holder, Daniel Cameron, split the Lochiel Run off from Upper Regions in December 1856. The Wimmera River was the border between the two properties, so each had access to water.

The Dimboola Race Club had formed by 1873. Early race meetings were held on the largest ephemeral swamp on Snape Reserve. In 1884 the course had moved to the Park Reserve in the town of Dimboola.

In 1884 Elizabeth Brown Moffatt leased Allotment 120Parish of Watchegatcheca, County of Lowan, which was 10.5 square miles (2715 hectare) and included Snape Reserve. The lease passed to John Bushby in 1888. The Bushby family selected the land which they held till 1952.

Trust for Nature acquired the property in 2002, recognizing that despite  nearly 160 years of grazing and some cropping it has significant conservation values. It is 846 hectares in area and is adjacent to the Little Desert National Park and near the township of Dimboola.

Snape Reserve was named to honour the personal generosity of Diana and Brian Snape. Brian served as Trust Chairman for 10 years.