Caring for old dry stone walls was the theme of this field day and started with a wall repair demonstration with expert wallers; David Long and Alistair Tune. They were assisted by 8 or so ‘apprentices’, overseen by 30 members and friends, and the damaged wall was soon repaired.
Lunch and an information session on local history was followed by a very useful discussion with the committee, members, wallers, land owners, historians and others interested in dsw.
Little River dry stone walls: background
Little River is a small town and farming district nestled near the You Yangs in the shrinking ‘Green Wedge’ between Geelong and Melbourne. The region has a rich Aboriginal and early settler history. It was central in the original Port Phillip Association settlement of 1835 and the NSW ‘controlled’ settlement that followed.
With the abundance… or overabundance … of basalt field stone in many parts of this region, boundary and paddock walls are are among the oldest settler-built heritage remains in Victoria and represent some of the earliest settler families. Largely lost to metropolitan urban growth, significant remnants of the extensive roadside walls that once lined approaches to the Little River township can still be seen, as can those on the Bulban and Ballan Roads into Werribee.
The Wyndham Council commissioned study of dry stone walls in the municipality, released in February 2015, recommended stronger planning controls to protect this heritage. The planning amendment proposed is intended to ensure that approval is obtained for any construction, alteration or demolition effecting heritage dry stone walls. This will include dry stone walls associated with existing heritage sites as well as the establishment of new heritage overlays for additional dry stone walls and dry stone wall precincts of significance.
The ‘Little River Farmers’ Common’ precinct in Edgars and adjacent roads, celebrates the United Farmers’ Common of Little River and Duckponds (Lara) which flowered briefly in this area in the 1860s. Here are some of the walls along Edgars Road; walking distance from the Mechanics Institute Hall: