Listed Land Uses of Moonee Ponds Creek

Ann Vickery

 

1. Saltwater marshes, the floodplain fallow. Eels, waterfowl, yam daisy, tuber and gum resin. Red river gums to shade and story.

2. A new entry as Batman’s Lagoon. Outspoken against sign-over, Moonee Moonee burns down the gaol (so they name a creek after him). Escapes with Tullamareena, that once “steady industrious man” turned recalcitrant.

3. Waste waters, an also-ran of the Gold Rush. Repurposed canal for barges to carry coal into Train Town.

4. Tipped in, tipping point. The poor fossick landfill and build Depression shelter. Huts over or under-hanging, scarcely there, insistent. The hard-up urban spread.

5. Post-war mission: a Melbourne-wide slum abolition. Concrete houses with concrete fences, perhaps a concrete dog or two. Prefab experimental design, modernist functionalism. Streetscapes built to the system, a predicate of still life.

6. Harvesting stormwater, the creek is reconstructed as a concrete drain. Moonee and Tullamareena are homaged in a Bon Scott meets Albion music video. The seventies drive past exhaling the exhaust fumes of Forbes’ “Tropothesia”.

7. Not the clean exit strategy envisaged: Moran’s killer crosses the footbridge to a waiting car.

8. A Melways buffer zone between Citylink and the burbs in boom. Newspaper reads: “Yarra’s most abused tributary”. Cyclists can skirt graffiti or spot public art on their daily route to the CBD.

9. Relatively unmodified rows constitute valuable “historic character” and heritage overlays are briefly imposed. Pre-selection makes for a developer’s last promise: prime private dwellings, with 10% additional dwellings for the disadvantaged.

10. Medium to high confidence in estimated value. Easy access to airport and upward mobility. Nearby wetlands and a flourishing café culture. Eradication of Boxthorn, Prickly Pear, and Ash. Decked out capital gains, silver gum savoir faire.

Ann Vickery is Senior Lecturer of Writing and Literature at Deakin University. She is the author of Devious Intimacy(2015), The Complete Pocketbook of Swoon (2014), Stressing the Modern: Cultural Politics of Australian Women’s Poetry (2007), and Leaving Lines of Gender: A Feminist Genealogy of Language Writing (2000).

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