The Mont Albert District - a Pictorial History 1830 to 2013

Indigenous Heritage

Indigenous Heritage
Geology and Topography
Vegetation and Fauna
Climate and Hydrology
1840s to 1870s
1850s - Parish of Nunawading
1852 - Whitehorse Inn
1861 - Postal Services
1880s - Electricity Supply
1880s to 1920s
1882 - Phantom Railways to Doncaster
1883 - Residential Heritage Precinct
1884 - Broughton Park subdivsion
1884 - Brickworks
1885 - Surrey Hills district - map
1888 - Football Clubs
1889 - Gas Supply and Gasworks
1889 - Doncaster Electric Tramway and Tower
1890 - Mont Albert Railway Station
1892 - Surrey Hills Golf Club
1892 - Water Supply, Reservoirs and Sewerage
1899 - Telephone Services
1905 - The Surrey Dive
1907 - Scouts and Guides
1912 - Mont Albert Village Shopping Precinct
1914 - Mont Albert Progress Association
1916 - Californian Bungalows
1917 - Schools
1917 - Wattle Park
1924 - Early Shortwave Broadcasting from the Surrey Hills district
1924 - Black's Estate
1925 - Bus Services
1929 - Tramways
1930 - Cricket Clubs in Mont Albert
1930s - Balwyn - Beckett Park Bonfires and Wildlife Sanctuary
1948 - Grange Tennis Courts
1957 - Pioneer Park
1961 - Surrey Hills Communications Tower
1981 - Box Hill Miniature Railway
Koonung Creek Parklands
Heritage Notes
Mont Albert Road - Early History
Mont Albert Rd - the East End
Elgar Rd - north and south of Mont Albert Rd
Mont Albert Rd - View St to Elgar Rd
Bushland Reserves
Service Associations
Sporting Clubs
Box Hill Institute of TAFE
Walking Trails
The Author's Websites
References and Acknowledgements

2013 - info board at Gardiner's Creek Reserve, Burwood

Before humans
The area now known as Melbourne has undergone significant changes over time. Ten million years ago, there was tremendous volcanic activity to the west of Melbourne, and the resulting lava flows still influence Melbourne today. The volcanic basalt from these lava flows – known in Melbourne as bluestone – still forms the foundation of many of our streets and buildings. This blue-grey stone helps give Melbourne its atmosphere of sombre formality.

Aboriginal settlement
Somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 years ago the first humans arrived in the area. These Aboriginal families and tribes gradually spread over the area now known as Victoria. As usual, the arrival of humans led to the extinction of a number of plant and animal species and assisted others to thrive. Over time, the Aboriginal inhabitants settled into a sustainable relationship with the environment even though techniques like fire farming had changed parts of it for ever.

By the time of first white contact in the early 1800s, a complex culture and tribal system (complete with tribal conflicts) had developed amongst the aboriginal peoples of the area. The numbers were small by today's standards – estimated at about 15,000 in Victoria at the time of first European contact. However, so completely did the arrival of white settlers devastate the aboriginal community that 200 years of white settlement has almost completely wiped away the knowledge of up to 40,000 years of aboriginal culture. 

We know that the tribes and families around the Melbourne area had a semi-nomadic lifestyle, while further down the coast there were settled communities who lived in stone houses. 

The area around Port Phillip was the home of the Kulin nation, an alliance of several language groups of Indigenous Australians, whose ancestors had lived in the area for approximately 30,000 years.

The Kulin lived by fishing, hunting and gathering, and made a good living from the rich food sources of Port Phillip and the surrounding grasslands.

With the arrival of Europeans in the area, they were hard hit by introduced diseases, and their decline was hastened by mistreatment, alcohol and venereal disease. They had largely disappeared by the 1870s, and most of the Aboriginal people who live in Melbourne today are descended from immigrants from other parts of Victoria.

Today there only a few signs of the Aboriginal past in the Melbourne area. They include a tree in the FItzroy Gardens near the Melbourne Cricket Ground from which bark was cut to make a canoe, and some middens (accumulations of seashells at feasting areas) around the shores of Port Phillip, and artefacts along the Gardiner's Creek area in Burwood.

The Kulin Nation of central Victoria
The Kulin Nation of central Victoria is composed of five tribes that share adjoining territories: the Woiworung, Boonwurrung, Wathaurung, Taungurong and Djaja Wurrung. Each tribe is broken down into smaller units called clans.

The Wurundjeri is part of the Woiwurung who occupied the area defined by the Yarra River and its tributaries. Six clans made up the Bunerong tribe and they occupied the area that is today the southern suburbs of Melbourne south of Mordiallic Creek and a small coastal strip around the top of Port Phillip Bay. Groups extend to Victoria’s Western district.

Land Usage
In Victoria and in other parts of Australia, indigenous land use agreements are increasingly being used to negotiate agreements for use of Indigenous lands by other parties. Agreements between local Aboriginal people and others seeking to use the land generally allow for heritage protection and management, employment opportunities and financial benefits for community development.

Today Aboriginal communities use the land for a variety of cultural, social and economic activities.

The area around Kooyongkoot Creek, later known as Gardiner's Creek, was part of the Wurundjeri-Baluk region that extended along the Yarra River.

The banks along Kooyongkoot Creek were the source of vegetation used for food, tools and first-aid amongst other creative applications. Land management skills, and adaptation to their environment meant that people were able to sustain their lifestyle for many thousands of years with minimal impact to the region compared to the impact felt since European settlement.

This  was a Aboriginal Government reserve set up in 1863 under the current protectionist policies to provide land for Aboriginal people who had been dispossessed by the arrival of Europeans to the state of Victolria
30 years prior.

The reserve was formally closed in 1924, with most residents removed to Lake Tyers Mission. Five older people refused to move and continued living there until they died. James Wandin
was the last person born at Coranderrk Station, in 1933, in the home of his grandmother, Jemima Wandin.

Indigenous Presence in the Whitehorse District
For many thousands of years, the land now covered by the City of Whitehorse was occupied by the Wurundjeri-william Clan. a name which means "people of the white gum tree".

The City of Whitehorse contains eight known archeological sites. There is artefact scatter of remants of scree flakes once used in the tool making process along Gardiners Creek near Canterbury Rd.

Koorie men often mended or created hunting tools in campsites alongside permsnent water supplies. Such sites are protected because they provide significant evidence of the way the early Koories lived prior to European settlement.

The land arpund Gardiner's Ceek was an important part of the area in which the Wurundjeri had a connection.

By the late 1860s, there was virtually no Aboriginal presence in ths district, as most of the indigenous population had been relocated to the Coranderrk Community near Healesvlile. 

Prior to this, the area which became the Parish of Nunawading was occupied by the Wurundjeri peoples,

As initial white settlement in the district didn't start until the 1860s, there was little opportunity for direct interaction between the early squatters and the remaining Indigenous population.

Little material evidence remains today of the Wujurunderi peoples in Whitehorse.

It is believed that  the land along the present Damper (Gardiner's) Creek was once used by the Wurundjeri.

Pound Bend (Warrandyte) Aboriginal Reserve.
Two bronze commemorative plaques on rocks were ceremonially unveiled by Wurundjeri Tribe Council Elders in March 2013. The plaques mark the two eastern boundaries of the former Warrandyte Aboriginal Reserve on the north and south sides of the Yarra.

This project was initiated by Nillumbik Reconciliation Group in close association with Reconciliation Manningham and the Wurundjeri Tribe Council, as a means of commemorating the last great corroboree of the Kulin Nation which was held at Pound Bend in March 1852.


2013 - Corranderk Cemetery - Memorial

2013 - Commemorative Plaque at Pound Bend

2013 - scarred tree Fitzroy Gardens

1839 - Wurundjeri in Collins St, Melbourne

1840 - Barak

1913 - Wurundjeri notice at Bulleen

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