Yarra River : The Wurundjeri & European discovery
The Yarra has played a pivotal role in the pre-European history and the modern development of Melbourne.
To the original Wurundjeri people, the river was "birrarung" - 'river of mists and shadows'. They camped on both banks of the river, especially near present day Government House and the Melbourne Cricket Ground. They caught eels in the swamps and lagoons of the river and fished using funnel-shaped fish pots.
The first European eyes to appreciate the pristine beauty of the meandering waterway was Charles Grimes*, Acting Surveyor General of New South Wales. During his exploration in 1803 he named it 'Freshwater River'.
He* declared it to be the "the most eligible place for a settlement that I have seen", although he also noted flood debris as high as 13 metres above river level.
The name 'Yarra' is attributed to surveyor John Wedge, who in the 'Rebecca' accompanied John Batman on the 1835 party of exploration on behalf of the Launceston-based Port Phillip Association. Wedge asked local aborigines what they called the cascading waters on the lower section of the river.
They replied 'Yarro Yarro', meaning 'it flows'. Wedge's mishearing of the word determined its enduring name.
On the banks of the Yarra* on 8 June, 1835 John Batman enacted his now infamous purchase of 600,000 acres of land with a group of local aborigines.
Three months later, George Evans in the 'Enterprize' made landfall on the Yarra on 30 August, 1835, near the site of the present day Immigration Museum in Flinders Street. He constructed huts on the south bank.
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ Yarra River Melbourne | Map
❊ Web Links ❊
→ Yarra River : The Wurundjeri & European discovery
→ www.yarrariver.info - Yarra River, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
→ Yarra River - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
→ Bridges in Melbourne - Yarra
→ Pictures of Yarra River
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