A Bend in the Yarra: A History of the Merri Creek by Ian Clark, Toby Heydon

A Bend in the Yarra: A History of the Merri Creek by Ian Clark, Toby Heydon

By Ian Clark, Toby Heydon

The Yarra Bend Park marks essentially the most vital post-contact locations within the Melbourne metropolitan region, and is of significant value to Victorian Aboriginal humans, fairly the Wurundjeri Aboriginal group. At this website was once situated the Merri Creek Aboriginal tuition, the Merri Creek Protectorate Station, the local Police Corps Headquarters and linked Aboriginal burials.The position has further significance within the early 21st century, as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australian tackle the legacies of our touch past.


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Additional info for A Bend in the Yarra: A History of the Merri Creek Protectorate Station and Merri Creek Aboriginal School, 1841-1851

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From March 1841, Thomas regularly visited groups camping to the northeast of Melbourne in an attempt to affect their return to Narre Narre Warren. He concluded that only increased rations would have enabled this (Thomas 24/6/1841 in VPRS 4410, Item 69; 31/8/1841 in VPRS 4410, Item 70). 26 From December 1841 until 1847, Thomas frequently observed camps at the confluence of Merri Creek and the Yarra River, and sometimes in present day Studley Park (see VPRS 4410 passim). In 1842, although still based at Narre Narre Warren, Thomas spent considerable time visiting Woiwurrung and Daungwurrung camps north and northeast of Melbourne, and Boonwurrung camps south and southeast of Melbourne.

While on the station Thomas struggled to attract Aboriginal people there, and took long trips into the mountains searching for them. He also endeavoured to build Central Station into a near self-sufficient institution, clearing land and fencing, planning and ploughing fields, and building huts. Still he did not satisfy the expectations of the Chief Protector. Robinson declared the fencing ‘insufficient’; the ploughed fields ‘will I believe fail’; and the hut as ‘miserable’ (Robinson Jnl 19/12/1840).

Thomas was aware of the importance of the lagoon in the subsistence strategy of Woiwurrung clans. He described the proposed sale of 5000 acres of land on the north side of Bolin lagoon in March 1841, as ‘one of the most serious losses hitherto sustained by the Blacks’ (Thomas to Robinson 12/3/1841 in VPRS 11, Unit 7). Thereafter, Thomas was obliged to discourage Aboriginal people from camping on the north side of Bolin (Thomas to Robinson 15/9/1849 in VPRS 11, Unit 10, Item 723). While fishing for eels at Bolin was a seasonal activity, Aboriginal people visited the site at other times of the year, but usually between June and November.

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