Set in lovely Little River, 50k south west of Melbourne, this field day is focussed on caring for old dry stone walls on farms. It starts at 10.30am with a repair demonstration by expert wallers, David Long and Alistair Tune, and a hands on opportunity for those who want to learn this skill.
There will be a display of local maps, reports, heritage, general dry stone wall and training information and an informal panel discussion at 2pm with wall owners, planners, heritage advisers, DSW builders/trainers and local historians with opportunities for questions and discussion.
Maps will also be available for self-guided or walking tours of Little River’s most venerable roadside walls on both the City of Wyndham and the Greater Geelong sides of the river.
See here for more detail and booking.
Trains on Saturday run from Southern Cross Station at 9.10, 10.10 and 11.10 am to Geelong, stopping at Little River Station.
LITTLE RIVER’S OLD DRY STONE WALLS
Little River is a small town and farming district nestled against the You Yangs and on the railway line between Geelong and Melbourne. This area has a rich Aboriginal and early settler history, forms part of the rural ‘Green Wedge’ area between the two cities, and contains some of the now protected Western Native Grassland Reserves.
The You Yangs region contains a wealth of Aboriginal heritage sites and formed a central part of the original Port Phillip Association settlement of 1835. With an abundance … over abundance … of basalt field stone in many parts of this region the dry stone boundary and paddock walls are among the oldest settler-built heritage remains in Victoria and represent some of our earliest settler families. Although largely lost to urban growth within the metropolitan area, important remnants of the extensive roadside walls that lined the Old Melbourne Road, Farrars, You Yangs and Edgars Road approaches to the Little River township can still be seen today, as can those on the Bulban and Ballan Roads into Werribee.
The Wyndham City Council recently commissioned a study of dry stone walls in the municipality, released in February 2015, and proposes stronger planning guidelines and controls to enhance protection of this important aspect of our heritage. The amendments are intended to ensure that planning approval is required for any proposed construction, alteration or demolition effecting old dry stone walls included in a heritage overlay. This includes dry stone walls associated with existing overlays as well as the establishment of new heritage overlays to include dry stone walls & dry stone wall precincts of significance.
In addition to old dry stone walls within existing heritage sites in Little River, three of the new Wyndham dry stone wall heritage overlays recommended for protection are in this district:
- The Old Melbourne Road precinct in Little River Road, between the Princes Freeway and the Old Melbourne Road and Little River Road junction
- The Little River Farmers’ Common precinct in Edgars Road and adjacent roads, celebrating the United Farmers’ Common of Little River and Duckponds which flowered briefly here in the 1860s
- The walls in a yet to be named historic overlay in the Little River township in the Flinders Street, Rothwell and McLeans Roads block, south of the railway.
The walls included in these heritage overlays are old roadside, boundary and paddock walls. Most are still on working farms. It is recognized that the conservation of farm walls provides a very different range of challenges for owners and planners to those experienced within urban development zones.
 Gary Vines (2015) Wyndham Dry Stone Walls Heritage Study, Report for the City of Wyndham.