European Settlement: Change for Good & Ill
In the 1840s, on riverside 'allotments' here, Edward Curr built a house called St Heliers and the Orr family built Abbotsford House. John Dight operated a water powered flour mill adjacent to Dight's Falls.
Soon, noxious industries proliferated downstream of the falls. Tanneries, wool mills and a glass factory were erected on the hard basalt rock in Collingwood. Workers cleaned the tallow off hides on our river edge, at the end of St Heliers Street, which originally finished at the river.
In 1857, an agent's advertisement described these allotments as "gardens of delight where woods and valleys, orchards and meadows present a thousand beauties". The 1857 house next to the Farm's St Heliers Street entrance is the oldest Collingwood house overlooking the river. At one time, workers from the Melbourne Wax Museum made wax models in this house.
At the new Johnston Street bridge, carriers illicitly dumped the bulk of Fitzroy's 'night soil' into the river, which was described as a "flowing manure depot".
Day trippers to Yarra Bend Park in the 1880s came by cable tram to the Johnston Street bridge terminus. Later they came by river ferry to Dights Falls, passing the site of this Farm en-route, then climbing the hill into the park.