Yarra River Cultural Heritage Values

Cultural Heritage Values Scoping Study

Melbourne Water


The Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017, identifies the Yarra River and the many hundreds of parcels of public land it flows through as one living, integrated natural entity for protection and improvement.

The cultural and heritage values of the Yarra are one of four key elements that will guide Melbourne Water’s development of the Yarra Strategic Plan.

GML Heritage Victoria (formerly Context) developed a historical narrative of the Yarra River, examining some key themes that encapsulate the story of the river since the beginnings of permanent European settlement in Victoria. It is expected that other approaches to understanding the Yarra will arise in the next phases of Melbourne Water’s work, including Traditional Owner engagement.

There are many thousands of places of cultural significance identified within the study area – within one kilometre either side of the Yarra and its tributaries. Many places are already protected on various heritage registers and Context’s study used high-level spatial analysis to examine the types of places and their distribution. This analysis informed several snapshots of the types of places found within the four reaches of the river, linking these to the historical narrative.