Hidden Country




The Forgotten Cultural Landscapes of the Middle Yarra,
75pp. by Mick Woiwod, Andrew Ross Museum.

This 75 page A4 publication also breaks entirely new ground and deals with the Yarra Valley story between 1836 and 1851 when practically the country between Heidelberg and Healseville was the sole preserve of 20 or so squatters – men such as Athur, Watson, Gardiner and the Ryrie brothers – who by and large remained in controll for less than a decade then disappeared from the region’s history books.

Most local history books open with the arrival of a district’s first farmer with his plough, generally in the early 1850s. But, what about the fifteen or so years before that first farmer arrived? What was happening here in the Yarra Valley then when a people who had seen it as home for thousands of years either died or were pushed aside. What role did the owners of the fifteen sheep and cattle stations between Heidelberg and Healesville play in their demise and how did their occupation of the land expose succeeding generations of settlers to the periodic onslaught of major bushfires?


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