Councillor Fights to Save River Relics

Image: Visit Melbourne

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Maribyrnong Council Deputy Mayor Megan Bridger-Darling has called for an archaeological survey of the Maribyrnong River precinct between Smiley’s Creek and Solomon’s Ford.

Cr. Bridger-Darling said the 7 kilometre stretch of the Maribyrnong contained unique indigenous and colonial historical sites in danger of being lost to development and a lack of public awareness.

“We need to acknowledge the custodianship of the land and the lessons on offer and we absolutely need to focus efforts into building on what little knowledge we have,” said Cr. Bridger-Darling.

Existing archaeological survey data from Heritage Victoria shows the Maribyrnong River has been home to human settlements for 31,000 years.

A 2012 council ordinance pledging to rename indigenous sites with Woiwurrung names is yet to be implemented for multiple locations including the site of an indigenous stone fish trap on the river.

Cr. Bridger-Darling said Maribyrnong Council is working on a reconciliation plan with representatives of the local first people but “much more work needs to be done to bring the council’s actions in line with our intentions”.

Heritage Victoria said while they “encouraged future research”, they would not comment on any proposed ventures for the Maribyrnong river.

Melbourne indigenous representative organisation Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Aboriginal Heritage Corporation did not respond to requests for comment.