Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Explore the Plenty

An overcast day and cold winds did not deter about 20 people from attending the "Explore the Plenty" walk presented by Parks Victoria and supported by Melbourne Water and the Plenty Valley Conservation Group as part of the City of Whittlesea Heritage Program this week.

The Plenty River extends from Mt Disappointment southwards to the confluence with the Yarra River and flows for approximately 24 kilometres through the Plenty Gorge Park. The river was a key to the settlement and early growth of the region.

Everybody introduced themselves and explained the interest or roll the river had played in their lives. Melbourne Water has recently undertaken a major a renovation and re-vegetation project just immediately off the Bridge Inn Road bridge, Mernda.

Further work could be seen as we walked further - in contrast to a five kilometre stretch yet to be tackled which includes willow trees, hawthorn bushes and a cactus tree.

The geology of the River and its flow was explained to us as were the stories behind the construction of the Bridge Inn Road bridge an important thoroughfare in it's day as gold seekers headed for the St Andrews goldfields. The remains of a mill can now be more easily seen thanks to the clean up project, blue stone blocks probably quarrried from a nearby site.

Recent discoveries by Parks Victoria has led to the site of the Bridge Inn Hotel and hopefully more can be learned from this site in the future.

We visited the site of the aqueduct which carried water to the population of Melbourne, complete with its decorative cornices.

The walk finished at the farm house property "Cremorne" which was acquired by Parks Victoria some 18 or more months ago. Three brothers who attended the walk had grown up in the house and recounted days prior to the urban development that encroaches on the area today.

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