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The Maribyrnong River By Stewart Saunders. Introduction The First Europeans to traverse the river were Lt Robbins, Charles Grimes (Surveyor General of.

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Presentation on theme: "The Maribyrnong River By Stewart Saunders. Introduction The First Europeans to traverse the river were Lt Robbins, Charles Grimes (Surveyor General of."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Maribyrnong River By Stewart Saunders

2 Introduction The First Europeans to traverse the river were Lt Robbins, Charles Grimes (Surveyor General of New South Wales) and James Flemming, the Botanist/Gardener, on the Cumberland in February 1803. The Maribyrnong River is 160km long starting west of Lancefield near Mount Macedon. The river flows in a southerly direction past Footscray and Coode Island, into the Coode Canal (Yarra River), which flows into Hobsons Bay, which is part of Port Phillip Bay. It has an annual average flow of 120,000 million litres. Jackson Creek and Deep Creek are the two main tributaries that feed the Maribyrnong River. Many of the tributaries vary in flow speed throughout the year but the majority have slow flows. Over the years the health of the river and its tributaries have declined and it is currently between moderate and poor health. This means there is pollution, very low water flows (causing algae blooms) and unnatural erosion.


4 N Maribyrnong River map 14mm=2km Source:,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1280&bih=737&safe=strict&complete=0&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1280&bih=737&safe=strict&complete=0&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl Organ Pipes Taken by Stewart Saunders

5 Description of the River

6 The photo shows the rounded hill tops and the more U shaped valley rather than a V shaped one. Taken by Stewart Saunders

7 Around the Maribyrnong River near the Organ Pipes there is farming, predominantly sheep farming, and tourism (Organ Pipes National Park). Problems associated with sheep farming are the unnatural erosion caused by their hooves treading on all the native plants, and also their nature of thoroughly eating the native ground covers, allowing weeds to invade. Tourism is a problem because litter gets left by the tourists, and paths, facilities and seating areas have to be provided. This requires the destruction of parts of the native plants and the litter can pollute Jacksons Creek. The catch is, that a National Park needs to be open to the public to provide some sort of income to keep the revegetation of the park going. The tufts are caused from the sheep grazing Photos by Stewart Saunders Adding of paths for access Upper Maribyrnong Land Uses

8 River Uses The river is very small in the upper reaches and there is not a great flow along Jacksons Creek. It is extremely shallow making it impossible to boat but land based fishing would be possible in some parts. Because there are so few uses there very few problems, the biggest problem being if farmers were to use Jacksons Creek as a source of water for irrigation. Because of the minimal flow the river would probably run dry. Jacksons Creek Looking West. Taken by Stewart S.

9 Brief History The Organ Pipes National Park covers 121 hectares north west of Melbourne. The park was established in 1972. It lies in a rain shadow, and receives 580mm of rain annually. Earliest settlers in the region were the local Woiworung tribe. In the early 19 th century European settlers came over from Tasmania. The settlers introduced many of the weeds now in Victoria such as Boxthorn, Oaks and Willow trees. Between 1870 and the 1920s the Hall family owned land around the area. The Bartlett family owned land from 1936 until 1948. E. A. Green donated the land to the Crown. Over the years more land has been acquired by the government for the park. The area was designated as a national park because of its many natural features including the Organ Pipes, tessellated pavement and Rosette rock. Source:


11 Source:,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1280&bih=737&safe=strict&complete=0&um=1&ie=UTF -8&sa=N&tab=wl,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1280&bih=737&safe=strict&complete=0&um=1&ie=UTF -8&sa=N&tab=wl N Taken by Stewart Saunders Brimbank Park Taken by Stewart Saunders 14mm=2km

12 Brimbank Park & Canning Reserve

13 Flemington Race Course

14 Land Uses Around Brimbank Park, Canning Reserve and Flemington Race Course are the main uses of land along the Maribyrnong River are Housing and Recreation/Park Land. Other use mainly around Brimbank Park and along the river in the past was farming. Other uses for the land include thoroughfares through Melbourne for high voltage transmission lines. Problems associated with these uses of land are unnatural erosion from clearing of trees to make space for farming and housing. Other problems include pollution from storm water running straight into the river and rubbish/litter that comes down the stormwater drain or is blown into the river. Ways to fix these problems include planting native trees, shrubs and ground covers. Also installing bins and rubbish traps/ filtration points where storm water drains into the river. This is an example of pollution. It is a Christmas tree that has been dumped in the river. Taken by Stewart Saunders. This pictures shows erosion from the wake of motor boats. The wake undermines the river banks. Taken by Stewart Saunders.

15 River Uses Fishing, Rowing and Pleasure cruising are the main uses along the Middle Reaches. The main problems from these uses are erosion caused by the wake from motor boats and pollution from the engines. Solutions to these problems are planting of reeds to dissipate the wakes from boats. Also the placing of litter and filtration traps to capture the oils from motor boats engines. When the river floods, because of the Racecourses area, much of the floodplain has been blocked by a levee bank. This forces water that would otherwise spread across the floodplain and soak into the ground to go further down stream seeking out more low-lying land and flooding properties that should be above average flood level. A solution is to allow the race course to flood or to better design flood water management. Flemington Racecourse from the Maribyrnong river showing the river bank and levee bank. Taken by Stewart S. Leisure craft on the Maribyrnong. Taken by Stewart S.

16 Brief History-Canning Reserve The Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation lived in the area. The oldest occupation in the area has been found up to 18,000 years. In 1803 the New South Wales Surveyor General sent a boat up the Maribyrnong River. The boat only got as far as a ford near Canning Reserve. In 1835 two men, Edmund Davis Fergusson and Michael Solomon, bought land near Canning Reserve which became a sheep farm. In the 1930s it was divided up into smaller holdings ranging from chicken farming to small dairy farms. In the 1960s the first housing developments were started. This picture shows the river near Canning Reserve. The river is wide with rolling parkland to the west. Taken by Stewart S.

17 Brief History-Flemington In 1839 James Watson purchased the first land in the area. He named his land after an estate in Scotland. The first farms started in this area along the Maribyrnong River in the 1840s. The current Flemington Racecourse land was bought as early as 1845 with the intention of establishing a race course. The Melbourne Municipal Saleyards were also established around this time. Both the racecourse and saleyards were built on flood plains. Wide Flat floodplain with Flemington Racecourse to the North (left). Taken By Stewart S

18 LOWER REACHES OF THE MARIBYRNONG RIVER Swanson Dock Melbourne and the Yarra River Maribyrnong River looking upstream Yarraville Photos taken by Stewart S

19 N Source:,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1280&bih=737&safe=strict&complete=0&um=1&ie=UTF -8&sa=N&tab=wl,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1280&bih=737&safe=strict&complete=0&um=1&ie=UTF -8&sa=N&tab=wl Swanson Dock on the left, Maribyrnong River meets the Yarra in the middle. Taken by Stewart Saunders. Swanson Dock on right. Wide flat land surrounding the Maribyrnong (originally marsh lands) perfect for factories and docks. Taken by Stewart S. 14mm=2km

20 Yarraville/Coode Island

21 Land and River Uses Around Yarraville and Coode Island the main uses of land and river are shipping and factories, plus business that result from shipping such as truck tyres retailers. The main problems in the lower reaches are pollution from the likes of grease, oil and other dangerous chemicals that are common in machinery and shipping, which are washed off the docks and ships during times of rain. Litter is also a problem, it comes through the storm water systems. Lots of the damage happened back in the 19 th and 20 th century when laws were not enacted to reduce pollution because of the lack of scientific evidence/knowledge of chemicals side effects. There are no simple solutions to these problems. Litter traps and filters on the storm water drains will help stop pollution from the storm water drains, but otherwise Swanson Dock needs better drainage for the vast concrete surfaces so they can catch the rain water, filter it, then let it flow into the Maribyrnong River. Water running off ship. Taken by Stewart S.

22 Brief History Before European settlement, the land where Swanson Dock is, was a vast Marshland defined by the Maribyrnong to the West and Yarra River to the North. In 1886 a canal was cut to improve access to Melbourne port by boat. This canal now forms the current channel of the Yarra River and the old course has been filled in over the years. Coode Island, created by cutting the canal was always intended as an industrial estate. Yarraville had already begun to grow by the time of the construction of the canal with wharfs and ship yards extending up the Maribyrnong. Coode Island has seen many industries including a sanatorium for victims of the Bubonic plague. In 1960 storage of petrochemicals began on the Island and in 1968 Swanson Dock was constructed. By this time transportation of cargo had changed to container shipping and the wharves along the Maribyrnong were in decline. In 1991 8.5 million litres of petrochemical exploded in the storage tanks zone. The remnants of the Maribyrnong river wharves. Taken by Stewart Saunders. Petrochemicals storage facility. Taken by Stewart Saunders.

23 Bibliography,_Victoria Excursion Booklet,_Victoria

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