Dight’s Falls to be rebuilt

Update, 18 November: Here’s an article from The Age which suggests that the Channel Deepening Project may see toxic sludge disturbed by the dredging wash back up the 22 km long tidal estuary of the Yarra all the way up to Dight’s Falls, bringing foul smells with it.

Original article: Well, it’s not the most interesting news in the world, but apparently Dight’s Falls is to be rebuilt so that it looks just the same. Apparently they’re going to have a public consulation. They’re going to make an even better fish ladder to help little fishies, and eels to get over the big bump. Did you know that the eels that live in the Yarra can actually get out, walk around the falls, and get back in? That’s what the web says. What I’d like are some stepping stones across the top so you can walk over it safely. Anyone else?

Best new website this century? Melbourne bike paths plotted on Google world

Now this is what I call a great inovation: Bikely.  It plots bike paths, and users’ favourite on-road bike routes, on a street directory, and lets you look at the map in three views: standard street directory, Google world satellite imagery, or the latter with key roads superimposed (‘hybrid view’). Check out the 10 km loop taking in the Yarra Boulevard here, for example, and the instructions here.  All Abbotsford routes here.  The first hyperlink in this post are to all Victorian routes — 1616 of them. It also has running routes, which must also be walking routes.  It will be interesting to see whether it is possible to put links to Flickr images in the instructions. Maybe one day I’ll finish this blog’s first ever post, and plot the King Walk from the Carringbush to Dights Falls on the site as a running route. The beautiful photo is courtesy of A J Shcroetlin of Colorado.  Leave a comment if you think this site is as great as I do.

Oil slick on Yarra

There’s an oil slick on the Yarra River, from Abbotsford’s Johnston St bridge to Kew’s Fairfield Boat House, about 8 km. No one knows how it got there, but it is thought to result from more than 100 litres of lube oil entering the river. Read The Age here, News.com.au here, ABC here. How a journalist could possibly write with confidence that no wildlife has been injured so far is beyond me. The other report, that there was no evidence of any birds being affected was a much more sensible choice of words.

Wet skater corpse linked with Dights Falls tattooed lady corpse

Not exactly fresh news, this, a week old in fact, but I got a bit busy recently. The things we don’t know: apparently the Homicide Squad was earnestly looking for fallen skater Ben Pappas (pictured here and here) since not so long after his ex-girlfriend’s — Lynette Phillips’s — corpse was removed from Dights Falls and he promptly disappeared.

Pappas once earned $15,000 a month ranked second on the international skating circuit, but he said that at 13 he was smoking marijuana “flat out” every day, first used coke at 15, was a regular user two years later, and by 18 it was “part of my diet”. In 1999, when he was 21, the County Court confiscated his passport for 3 years for smuggling 100g of the stuff into Australia in his shoe.

A small patch of blood, Continue reading “Wet skater corpse linked with Dights Falls tattooed lady corpse”

Tattooed lady corpse floating at Dights Falls

Did you hear? At 2 p.m. yesterday, a walker found a woman’s corpse wrapped in a blue sheet, weighed down by a large backpack full of weights. It was resting against the concrete barrier over which Dights Falls flow. We will know who it was soon enough: she had “Reggie” and “Elsie” tatts adorning her two wrists, and a gold navel stud, but the body has been in the water long enough for police to venture only that it appears to be a caucasian corpse. Keep you posted.

Update: the woman was 27 year old Balaclava woman Lynette Phillips. Her family is from the country. According to Sky News Online, she was a former heroin addict studying drug counselling at Swinburne University, and last seen in her flat on Monday. She is pictured in this Age article. Something I read suggested that the corpse is thought to have been dumped in the Merri Creek at Northcote.

But who was the walker? Abbotsford Blog wants to hear from you.

The other way Dights Falls have been making the news recently is in the government’s contemplation of the possibility of diverting “after-storms water” at Dights Falls and storing it in underground acquifers or in Yan Yean or Sugarloaf Reservoirs. By the end of the year, we will know whether Melbournians are set to drink Yarra River water from close to the centre of the city.

Brewery admonished for turning water into beer

I can’t think of a more noble activity, but those hounds at the Hun have come over all sanctimonious about the amount of water the throbbing heart of this suburb uses in the alchemic conversion of water into the 1,500,000,000 litres of working man’s pleasure produced by the Abbotsford brewery per annum. Another article in the Melbourne Leader shows just what lengths the
hopmeisters have gone to in order to turn less of the Yarra into more of the bubbly good stuff, halving their water use in 10 years in fact. The two articles yield up a few tidbits worthy of sharing: Continue reading “Brewery admonished for turning water into beer”

The travails of John Dight, miller of Dights Falls

The Sketchbook tells us:

“Dights Falls, a natural rock barrier across the Yarra River are named for a pioneer settler, John Dight, although they were first seen by John Grimes, the original explorer of the Yarra, in 1803. Grimes sailed up the Yarra from its mouth at the head of Port Phillip Bay, but went no further than the falls which blocked his passage.

Dight, a flour miller, saw the potential of the falls which he believed could be utilised by harnessing the river to his purposes. He erected a flour mill and millrace nearby. His project was dogged by trouble. The Yarra fluctuates greatly from season to season, and even from day to day. Unlike the reliable English millstreams, with which DIght was familiar, the Yarra River can be a capricious, not to say rebellious servant.

When he sought to import steam-powered milling machinery from England to supplement the uncertain supply of waterpower, he was again unlucky, fo rhte ship carrying the machinery was wrecked en route to Melbourne.

When a second shipment did finally arrive, the colony’s trade was adversely affected by a depression. As if this weren’t enough, the mill was seriously damaged by fire, though after repairs it operated for a time before a second and larger fire destroyed the mill completely. It is not surprising that this succession of disasters convinced Dight and others that the falls had a very limited potential for industrial use.

The falls still serve as a natural barrier to the movement of traffic, and in earlier times they were certainly a major factor in limiting expansion upstream. Had they not existed, the Yarr might have become a highway enabling people to move inland until stopped by the greater barrier of the ranges.”