Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Creeks and Rivers

When you drive along the Princes Highway or the South Gippsland Highway around the Dandenong, Doveton area you cross over the Dandenong Creek and the Eumemmerring Creek. When I do this I try to imagine what the landscape would have looked like to the Early European settlers and the Bunurong People. These water courses were generally the location of the first European settlements as they provided the water needed for the settlers and their livestock.

The Dandenong Creek, taken between 1920 and 1950.
State Library of Victoria Image H32492/1334

The Dandenong and Eumemmerring Creeks are now, in parts, concreted. These creeks used to run into the Carrum Swamp. Drainage works on the Carrum Swamp began in 1869 when the Carrum outfall drain (now the Patterson River) was created and thus the creeks now flow into this outfall drain. The Dandenong Creek was the site of the Bigning Run (also called  Bangholme or Bangam) taken up in 1837 by Joseph Hawdon. This, plus the neighbouring Ballymarang run, was taken over by the Wedge Brothers in 1839 and the 42 square mile (10,000 hectares) property was known as Banyan waterholes.

The 14 square mile (3,600 hectares)  Eumemmerring Run, based on the Eumemmerring creek, was taken up by Dr Farquhar McCrae (1807-1850) in 1839. Later the same year it was taken over by Leslie Foster  (1818-1900) or John Vesey Fitzgerald Leslie Foster, to give him his full name.  Foster held the run until 1842 when it was taken up by Edward Wilson and James Stewart Johnson who held it until 1846 when Thomas Herbert Power (1801-1873) took it on. The property then went from around the Dandenong Creek/Power Road all the way to Berwick.

Further south, the Clyde creek formed the border of the Mayune and Garem Gam Runs. Mayune was taken up by the Ruffy Brothers  1840, the same year James Bathe and T.J Perry took up the Garem Gam run. Mayune was 32,000 acres or nearly 13,000 hectares and Garem Gam was, in comparison, a tiny 3,200 acres or 1,00 hectares.

This is an aerial taken January 1970 and shows the Clyde Creek. the Creek is the dark line running diagonally from left to right. The road at the top of the photo is Patterson Road and Ballarto Road runs parallel to this at the bottom of the photograph. The Clyde Creek formed the border of the Mayune and Garem Gam Runs (see above).

Further east are the Cardinia and Toomuc Creeks which used to flow into the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp. In 1876, swamp reclamation works carried out by the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp drainage committee created drains which carried the water from these creeks directly to Western Port Bay. Around 1916, Deep Creek was channelled into the Toomuc Creek drain.

This is the Cardinia Creek in its natural state, taken January 1972, at Clyde North/Officer. The creek meanders across the landscape. In the bottom left hand corner is Thompson Road.

Contrast this photograph of Cardinia Creek with the one above; the Cardinia Creek has been 'tamed', no casual meandering across the countryside any more. The aerial was taken in December 1971 and shows the results of the 1876 drainage works carried out by the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp drainage committee talked about above. The drain coming  in from the top left is the channelized Cardinia Creek. This channel meets up with the channelized Toomuc Creek and Deep Creek at the bottom of the photograph. The Toomuc Creek is the one on the left of these drains that comes in at a 45 degree angle at Ballarto Road. Wenn Road crosses this drain. This is just east of the Cardinia township.

There were various runs either side of the Cardinia Creek. Cardinia Creek 1 run (5,120 acres or 2,000 hectares)  was taken up in October 1842 by Robert Henry. The Cardinia Creek 2 run was taken up in September 1838 by Terence O'Connnor. The Gin Gin Bean Station of 7,000 acres  (2,800 hectares) was first leased in 1840 and  then taken over in April 1846 by James Lecky. James Lecky purchased the 640 acre (one square mile) pre-emptive right of Gin Gin Bean in 1855 and built his homestead, Cardinia Park, on the Cardinia Creek, three miles south of Officer. Lecky was also an original member of the Cranbourne Road Board and the Cranbourne Shire Council. The Lecky’s owned the property until the 1930s.

The Cardinia Creek, in its natural state, at Harkaway. Photo not dated, but looks like the 1920s.
State Library of Victoria Image H36420/20

Also on the Cardinia Creek was the 5,760 acre (2,330 hectares) St Germains Run. First leased in February 1845 by James Buchanan it was taken over in January 1848 by Alexander Patterson. Patterson (1813-1896) was an original member of the Cranbourne Road Board when it was established on June 19, 1860 and an original member of the Shire of Cranbourne when it was established February 24, 1868. The current St Germains Homestead was built in 1893.

I.Y.U. Station was the Toomuc Creek. This 12,945 acre (5,200 hectares) Station was first leased in October 1839 by William Kerr Jamieson. In October 1850 William Waddell took over and in June 1866 George John Watson became the owner. Watson (1828-1906) established the Melbourne Hunt Club, which moved to Cranbourne in 1925. The Cardinia Creek and the Toomuc Creek were also the location of two of the earliest hotels in the area – the Gippsland Hotel and the La Trobe Inn (also known as Bourkes Hotel).

 This is the Toomuc outfall drain, created in 1876, taken at Manks Road in July 1938.
Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photograph.

As we go further east there is the Ararat Creek around which was based the three Ararat squatting runs. Mount Ararat 1, a mere 1900 acres (760 hectares), was taken up in August 1844 by John Dore and Michael Hennessy. Mt Ararat 2, a Station of 16,000 acres (6,400 hectares) was  located six miles east of Pakenham and was south of Mt Ararat 1. Mount Ararat 2 was said to extend to just outside of Drouin. It was first leased in August 1844. There were various leaseholders until April 1870 when John Startup took over. Startup was an original member of the Berwick Road Board which was established September 29, 1862. The third Station was Mt Ararat Creek. This was of 5,120 acres (2,000 hectares) and was first leased in September 1846 by William Walsh.

The Main Drain of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp or the Bunyip River, taken at the Eleven Mile bridge in 1939.
Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photograph.

The next water course was the Bunyip River. This river originally flowed out over the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp until the sixteen mile (25 kms) long Main Drain, which was dug from 1889 to 1893, took the water directly to Western Port Bay.

Further around the Bay is the Yallock creek, where Samuel Rawson and Robert Jamieson established the Yallock Station in 1839.  Then further south is the Lang Lang River, the site of the Tobin Yallock or Torbinurruck Station. This was of 1920 acres (770 hectares)  and taken up in July 1839 by Robert Jamieson. In June 1913 the Lubecker Steam dredge started work on this river, described at the time as a ‘wandering creek’ and dredged it to prevent flood waters backing up across areas of the Tobin Yallock Swamp lands.

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