Our Heritage and the use of the Land
Geological processes have changed the course of the Yarra River many times. Following uplift of the region five million years ago, the Yarra River flowed through a wide mudstone and siltstone valley north of the Farm between Kew and Northcote.
About 2.2 million years ago lava flowed down the Merri Creek valley and about 800,000 years ago lava filled the Darebin Creek valley. The Merri and Darebin Creeks re-established their flows across the basalt (cooled lava) but the Yarra River was blocked, creating a lake and floodplain upstream of Kew.
The outflow of the lake cut through the mudstone, following the edges of the basalt 'fingers'. This created cliffs in the mudstone and gave the river its present winding course. The river carried rich silts from the erosion of the mudstones and the basalt plains. Floods deposited these silts on the insides of the river bends to form floodplains with soils that support a wide variety of plants.
The River Corridor
A corridor of bush grows along the Yarra. The river red gums, silver wattles and manna gums thrive on the supply of water. They provide shelter for brushtail possums, bats and irregular visitors such as the azure kingfisher and the swift parrot.
The paperbarks, teatrees and bottlebrushes are homes for small bushbirds such as bellbirds. Skinks, geckoes, lizards, copperhead snakes and frogs shelter amongst the ground cover, which includes original tussock grass.
The river itself is home to rare fish species: graylings, mudfish, lampreys, galaxias and bass. water rats and the occasional platypus live in deep water at the foot of the steep cliffs.