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Visitor Centre
Pipemakers Park, Van Ness Avenue,
Maribyrnong. Melway Map 28 B10

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(2) site stories
- grimes




Replica of the boat, called a ‘clinker’, that would have been used by Grimes and his party when exploring the Maribyrnong and Yarra Rivers. The people in the boat are dressed in the clothes of the time of the early explorations during a re-enactment of the journey in 2003.

 

 

'The most eligible place for a settlement I have seen is on the freshwater river'.


Do these words sound strangely familiar? Perhaps a more familiar phrase would be - "This is the place for a village".  That famous statement spoken by John Batman in 1835 is credited with identifying the original site for the City of Melbourne.


However , the "eligible place for a settlement" described in the first phrase, written thirty-two years earlier in Feb 1803, refers to the same site that has become The City of Melbourne as we know it.


In January, 1803, the acting chief surveyor of New South Wales, Charles Grimes, led an expedition to survey Port Phillip Bay. They had been mapping the coast of the Bay from the east when they came across a great river.


A map of Port Phillip created by the survey party of Charles Grimes. The first such map of Port Phillip.

They went up the river and landed two or three miles upstream. They came to a junction of two rivers and took the left stream, the Maribyrnong or ‘The Saltwater River’. From the reports in Fleming's journal they appeared to have landed near where the Grimes Reserve in Footscray is now.

Excerpts from a Journal they kept describe the experience in the Footscray area in 1803……

'Soon afterwards came to a large river; went up it about a mile when we turned back and waited for the boat to take us on board. The ground is a swamp on one side and high on the other. Saw many swans, pelicans,and ducks. Were obliged to go up to our middle to get to the boat, and got on board between five and six o'clock. Rain and thunder in the night.'

The myths and controversies continue. However, the important point for our survey is that there is evidence to suggest Grimes' party set foot on these river banks.


Later they went up the other river, which they named ‘The Freshwater River’, and made the observation of the place for an eligible settlement.


The entire journal of their observations of Port Phillip can be read at….


http://www.livingmuseum.org.au/exhibitions/Grimes/grimes11.html

In 2003 The Living Museum in partnership with several local historical societies commemorated the Grimes Survey exhibition.


See http://www.livingmuseum.org.au/exhibitions/Grimes/grimes1.html

 

A stained glass window commemorating the founding of the ‘place for a village’ by John Batman in 1835. This window is in the foyer of the Melbourne Town Hall.

 

An obelisk commemorating the river trips of the Grimes party stands in a very obscure spot in a small park on the north side of Shepherd’s Bridge, which connects Footscray to Melbourne.

 

 

The text on one facet of the monument reads:

 

‘THIS MONUMENT HAS BEEN ERECTED TO MARK
THE ORIGINAL JUNCTION OF THE
YARRA AND THE MARIBYRNONG RIVERS
WHICH WAS NEAR THIS SPOT.
THESE RIVERS WERE ORIGINALLY
DISCOVERED BY CHARLES EDWARD GRIMES
IN FEBRUARY 1803 AND REFOUND
BY JOHN BATMAN IN JUNE 1835.’

The text on another facet of the monument reads:

 

PORT PHILLIP WAS DISCOVERED BY JOHN MURRAY
IN THE LADY NELSON IN FEBRUARY 1802.
THE FIRST VESSEL IN HOBSON’S BAY WAS
THE CUMBERLAND WITH GRIMES THE SURVEYOR.
THE FIRST MAN O’WAR WAS THE CALCUTTA.
AT THE END OF THE SAME YEAR 1803.
THE FIRST VESSEL TO ASCEND THE YARRA
WAS JOHN F. FAWKNER’S ENTERPRISE.

 

During the re-enact of Grimes exploration party in 2003 a plaque was laid in Pipemakers Park to commemorate the early explorers.

 

Another plaque was later laid on the south bank of the Yarra River near Crown Casino near where the fresh water was discovered which indicated the logical place for a settlement.



The position of the plaque on the Yarra.


 

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maribyrnong

LMW is supported by the City of Maribyrnong

Pipemakers Park is managed by the City of Maribyrnong.

 

 

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