Fashionable homes were built on the south side, such as Como House in South Yarra. Before bridges spanned the Yarra, ferries and punts carried people and their animals from bank to bank. The first bridge at the main Swanston St-St Kilda Road crossing was a timber structure built in Development caused problems of sewage and industrial waste contamination of the lower Yarra. Only 20 years after settlement, the river was declared undrinkable.
A succession of new low-profile bridges built during the early 20th century increasingly cut-off the traditional port areas. The sight of tall masted vessels berthed alongside the city centre became a rarer sight.
Moreover, as ships grew in size, it became more feasible and economic for them to operate downstream where there was more water and cargo handling space. The Melbourne Maritime Museum on Southbank chronicles the development of Melbourne and its port area. With the removal of shipping activity from their immediate gaze, Melburnians took less and less notice of their waterway, including its cleanliness. Apart from the annual Henley on Yarra regatta, link to Henly on Yarra the river dropped out of the public consciousness.
The visionary feat of engineering, under the direction of British engineering expert Sir John Coode, involved 2, workers for 20 years. It not only significantly shortened travel time up the river for ships, but also created Victoria Harbour and Victoria Dock.
The Yarra Improvement Act enabled the Board of Works to carry out major realignment works between the city and Richmond, including removal of the billabongs north of Princes Bridge, near the Botanic Gardens. In the s a new river channel was cut at Burnley, which created Herring Island in the process. During the s the construction of the Eastern Freeway further altered the course of the river. Severe flooding was a regular feature of the narrow, twisting original watercourse. The first flood was recorded in The biggest recorded flood — in saw the water rise 14 metres higher than normal.
It destroyed houses in Collingwood and Richmond. A lengthy program of works was carried out from the late s to help alleviate the flooding. The rock bar was blasted and the river was widened and straightened, including construction of the 1. The removal of a major bend and lagoons upstream of Princes Bridge helped the river to flow more directly to the sea. One day two boys were playing in the bush, throwing their toy spears at whatever bird they saw.
After a while they tired of this game and, sighting an old wattle tree, went up to it in the hope of finding some wattle gum, of which they were very fond.
They saw some gum on a bough fairly high up, and one of the boys climbed the tree and reached it. He began to throw the gum down to the other boy, who was waiting for it underneath the tree. But when the lumps of gum reached the ground they disappeared, and the boy who had remained below could not find them. At last he noticed a hole, and thinking that the gum may have rolled down, he poked the end of his little spear in it.
As soon as he did this, a deep growling voice was heard and the ground seemed to shake. An old man, who had been sleeping underground with his mouth open, suddenly made his appearance.
He picked up the frightened boy and shuffled off, dragging his feet, because he was old and the boy was heavy to carry.
As the old man huddled along he made a furrow, which deepened into a gutter, then into a creek, and lastly became the Yarra River. All this time the little boy was crying with fright. At last Bunjil heard him.
He put sharp stones in the path of the old man over which he fell, and cut himself into pieces. The boy ran off to his home.
Just before the old man died, Bunjil appeared, and said to him "Let this be a lesson to all old men. Thy must be good to little children. Skip to main content Google Tag Manager Home. Apply to develop Report an issue Works near me Local rainfall. History of the Yarra River. Almost 23 years later, the next white man to arrive came to the same conclusion. Batman returned to Launceston boasting, I am the greatest landowner in the world. Historians began to describe Melbourne as: Water quality The Yarra River has been under pressure ever since the early years of European settlement when it was used as a dumping ground for industrial waste.
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