Two rivers meet in a valley between the ranges and the plains.

Bacchus Marsh is the modern name of the valley. The ranges to the west are bounded by the abrupt escarpment of the Rowsley Fault, dissected by the Lerderderg and Werribee river gorges. To the north, the ascent to the extinct volcano Bullengarook.

Bacchus Marsh fields + Lerderderg Gorge

The Volcanic Plains Grasslands (what’s left of them) sweep away to the south and east, carrying the combined waters of the rivers to Port Phillip Bay.

This valley  was a boundary and no doubt a haven for the first peoples, Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri. It hosted a convergence of waters, wildlife, ecosystems and bioregions among rich river redgum swamps. A steal, to the capitalist livestock owners who stormed over the state with sheep and guns in the 1835 land grab and invasion that was the sad origin of modern Victoria. It became a stop for fortune seekers on the way to the goldfields, an agricultural town, a supplier of cannon fodder for the slaughter of two world wars, and is now rapidly becoming an exurban commuter town.

But despite 200 years of erasing and building over the cultural and ecological past, there are still glimpses of it. Hopefully more people will see them as the years go by, treasure them, and restore and build on them.

This blog is a modest contribution to that effort from a bioregionalist perspective.

This blog is by Ben Courtice. I’m also on twitter @bencourtice and you can read my more political blogging at bccwords.blogspot.com.


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