Let’s journey back in time… to the plains around the southern Grampians in 1892

The other night in Dunkeld, I shared a fantastic early perspective on the southern Grampians with our audience – written by travelling journalist ‘Bruni’ (aka George A Brown) in 1892:

“On either side of the railway line between Maroona and Glen Thompson there are numerous hollows in the surface, in most of which there are lakelets. The water in these depressions is invariably salt in the plain country and in the open forest nearer the hills. About five miles from the foot of the range there is a pronounced change in the appearance of the country. The hard clay of the plains gives way to a cold white loam, with fern-clad sandbanks here and there. In the open forest the timber is mostly sheoak, but nearer the hills redgums and honeysuckle are the prevailing trees. Scattered through this forest country are numerous marshes, which differ greatly from the lakelets met with nearer the plains. The water in them is invariably fresh, they are of considerable extent, and the soil is of a most fertile description. On the plains the lakelets are isolated pieces of water with basin banks, and generally have neither inlet nor outlet. Under the hills the marshes have no banks save on the eastern side, and they are all connected, in winter time, by broad sluggish streams.”

Mount William and part of the Grampians in West Victoria, 1865. Painting by Eugene von Guérard.

The general description and features of this landscape are certainly recognisable 125 years later, but the way water moves in the landscape and the vegetation now found on the plains has significantly changed.

Early accounts like this are crucial for us to reconstruct what the landscape was like, which in turn helps to guide our restoration goals and planning for tackling projects like the new Walker Swamp Restoration Reserve. You can download and read a full transcribed version of the two articles written by Bruni in April 1892 here.

If you are aware of any other early accounts of the country around Walker Swamp, please let us know by emailing

Mark Bachmann