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 the most vital post-contact areas within the Melbourne metropolitan zone, and is of significant importance to Victorian Aboriginal humans, relatively the Wurundjeri Aboriginal group. At this website used to be situated the Merri Creek Aboriginal institution, the Merri Creek Protectorate Station, the local Police Corps Headquarters and linked Aboriginal burials.The position has additional significance within the early 21st century, as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australian handle the legacies of our touch past.

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Additional resources 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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Whether this ‘store’ was built remains uncertain. A reconstructed map of the study area also shows the location of Thomas’s hut (see illus. p. 67). The appearance of the front of Thomas’s hut was described by Lucy Edgar (1865: 16) as surrounded with flowers, including polyanthus, very large cowslips and the ‘fastest growing’ and ‘largest’ native shrubs. Mr Power’s hut is also shown on Thomas’s 1847 map (VPRS 11, Unit 10, Item 658). This hut was described by Edward Curr (1883: 10–11) as: . . a rustic looking little wattle and dab [sic] building of three rooms, well shaded by trees, and situated within ten yards of the bank of the Yarra, at about three hundred yards from its junction with the Merri Merri Creek.

Site selection for the Merri Creek Protectorate Station As discussed previously, the site of the Native Police Corps quarters at the Merri Creek–Yarra River confluence was set aside from sale in the late 1830s by its definition as a ‘Government Reserve’. A study of the movements of Aboriginal people from 1840–1842 allows us to trace the increased occupation of the study area by Aboriginal people and the reaction of the Protectorate. Beyond the fact that the land was available for government purposes, there is little documentation attesting to its selection for Native Police Corps or Protectorate business.

This coincides with his ‘giving up the property of Government’ at Narre Narre Warren, a direct result of reductions in expenditure on the Protectorate (Thomas 1/12/1843 in VPRS 4410, Item 78). Aside from his determination to follow Aboriginal people in his Protectorate district, Thomas provides no insight into why he established quarters at Merri Creek. By December 1841, Thomas recorded a large encampment on the Merri Creek, near its confluence with the Yarra River, including ‘most of the Woiwurrung, part of the Boonwurrung and ‘about 100 Goulburns’ (Thomas 1/3/1842 in VPRS 4410, Unit 3, Item 71).

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