The Yarra - Melbourne's Green Artery


Like the hedgerows of England, the Yarra connects the green open spaces of country and city. From west of Mount Baw Baw and south of Mount Gregory, where it rises in the Yarra Ranges and the fern glades of the Upper Yarra Dam, Mc Mahons Creek, Warburton, Healesville and down through the rolling hills of the Yarra Valley and Yarra Glen, on further down through the green interface semi rural outer suburbs of Warrandyte, Wonga Park, Kangaroo Ground, Eltham, Lower Plenty and closer to the city, Viewbank, Rosanna and Heidelberg in Banyule. The lower Yarra corridor, home of the Heidelberg School of painters (Mc Cubbin, Conder, Streeton) and, across the river at Heide in Buleen, the Modernists (Nolan, Tucker, Boyd), two of Australia's most important Art movements.

This place, Banyule Flats, Warringal Park, Bolin Bolin wetlands, once a series of Billabongs as the Yarra over millennia, changed course, turned back on itself and created wetlands, was an important place of spiritual significance and ceremony for the Wurundgeri, who held corrobories by its billabongs and winding banks (Buleen from Bolin, Bolin, one of the last remaining Billabongs on the Lower Yarra) .

The-Yarra-River   Kayaking-on-the-Yarra

The location is also home to a large population of remnant flora and fauna, including a hundred or more bird species, black swan, tawny owl, as well as eastern grey kangaroo and koala. All this, within only ten or so kilometers of Melbourne. An important link in this verdant corridor, down through Ivanhoe, Kew, Clifton Hill (Dight's Falls), Abbotsford and Richmond to the city, as it flows on down through Southbank, Docklands and Yarraville, to meet the salt water of the Marribynong in Hobson's Bay at Williamstown. We could not conceive of Melbourne without the Yarra. It is the reason why Melbourne was settled here in the first place, and is an integral, psychological as well as environmentally important, part of our city, surrounding region and the State.

All this however, is coming under increasing threat from rapidly expanding population and development at levels not seen before. This intensive urbanization, proceeding at an alarming pace, encroaching into our green wedges. The proposal for a freeway - the North East link (the old F18) through our part of the river valley at Banyule, threaten all these, historic, cultural and environmental assets, which we as Melbournians and Victorians, are custodians of. Further down the river at Abbotsford, high rise development is bringing Docklands further up the river, and threatening the natural environment and the capital city trail.

We need to value our precious river and its environs, nurture it and protect it from inappropriate development along its banks and surrounding riverine environment, so that generations to come, can enjoy this green and verdant artery, the lifeblood of our city, now and in the future.



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