Local Waterways

Chapter 30

Published Dec, 2003

This obscure fishing book is one of the most reprinted books in English and is a pleasurable read that shows an awareness of the environment centuries ahead of its time. The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton, about the sport of angling, angle being an old word for hook, was first published in 1653 by Richard Marriot in London. Image credit Inside Hook, www.insidehook.com/article/books/compleat-angler-one-reprinted-english-books-ever

…the beautiful valleys now before us, entirely sheltered by the high hills, are clothed with undergrowth of a rich green colour, many of the glades through which winds the creek being exceedingly wild and picturesque…

Work is currently being undertaken to protect and improve the condition of local streams. The following items provide a glimpse into the past along some of our waterways.


A feature of the valleys of the Arthurs, Running and Deep Creeks in the early years of settlement was the profusion of ferns along the sheltered banks of the streams and in moist gullies. Pierre (Pirrie) Brennan who selected land along the Running Creek to the north of Charles Draper called his property ‘Fernvale’.

A visitor to the ‘Charnwood’ orchards, writing in the Weekly Times of 8 February 1872, reported that on reaching Arthurs Creek, ‘The beautiful valleys now before us, entirely sheltered by the high hills, are clothed with undergrowth of a rich green colour, many of the glades through which winds the creek being exceedingly wild and picturesque. The more sheltered nooks are thickly overgrown with ferns in splendid variety, including several beautiful Lycopediums, also ferns Adiantum formosum, A. hispidulum, A. assimile, and others; Pteris umbrosa, Lomaria Patersoni, and L. lanceolata being particularly beautiful. These and a number of parasitic species of plants are here in rich profusion, completely covering the roots and stems of trees, the beauty of the vegetation being sufficient to make a horticulturist, much more a botanist, smile with delight and be glad.’ The plant groups referred to include club-moss (lycopodiums), maidenhair-fern (adiantum), brake (pteris) and water-fern (lomaria or blechnum).

A Local Izaak Walton

Izaak Walton wrote of the pleasures of fishing in open country in The Compleat Angler published in England in 1653. The following article was published under the heading ‘Strathewen’ in The Advertiser (Late Evelyn Observer) at Hurstbridge on Friday, May 21, 1926.

‘Mr. John Murdie, an enthusiastic angler, has been anxious to stock the local creeks with fish. He had arranged with the secretary of the Ballarat Fish Acclimatisation Society to supply him with some 400 brown trout yearling fish, which arrived here in good condition on Wednesday last. It is to be hoped that the initiative displayed by Mr. Murdie in his venture will be met with the success such a public-spirited action deserves.’

The Murdie brothers (John and George) had a property on Peter’s Creek, a tributary of the Arthurs Creek, near Bowden’s Spur. Their first attempt to plant an orchard was thwarted by the wallabies. They eventually established a small orchard after erecting a netting fence to keep the wallabies out.

Water-fern (lomaria or blechnum). Photo credit Kew Science, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England
Pruning at George Apted's 'Meadvale' orchard, Nutfield. Photo credit Apted family
A feature of the valleys of the Arthurs, Running and Deep Creeks in the early years of settlement was the profusion of ferns along the sheltered banks of the streams and in moist gullies. Photo credit Wade Ashley at Dygiphy
Early settlers included Pierce Brennan who, in about 1867, selected land along the Running Creek to the north of William Murphy and Charles Draper’s ‘Charnwood’, which he called ‘Fernvale’, and his brother Michael Brennan who selected land to the west of the Deep Creek, which he called ‘Pine Hill’. Pictured in 2003, 'Fernvale' on Running Creek, Brennan's Road East. The Evelyn Observer of 1917 reported that Marty Brennan accidentally deposited a passenger and some empty fruit cases on the roadway while travelling in his horse-drawn fruit wagon. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper
Looking across the former Horne orchards to the headwaters of Arthurs Creek and Pheasants Creek. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper, November 2003
Running Creek, upstream from Sugarloaf reservoir in Kinglake National Park, 2003. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper
Sugarloaf Reservoir on the Running Creek above Streamville, 2003. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper
The Arthurs Creek below the site of the Shepherd's Hut, 2003. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper
Cascade below overflow at Sugarloaf Reservoir. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper, 2003
The garden at 'Charnwood' c 1900 with Charles Draper (1825 -1909) and Jessie Ellen Fisher (1867- 1933). The Garden Gazette of 1902 wrote of its visit to Charnwood with camera and pencil 'confronting you on every side as you ramble through the winding paths are roses of every hue, mostly teas, with a few fine old favourites, as Madame J. Lang, Captain Christy, Paul Heyron, La France, and other hybrid perpetuals of fragrant beauty, dainty polyanthus roses, Cecile Brunner, Perle D’Or, and Marie Pavie, wonderfully robust standards with glorious heads of massive blooms that would make a city florist’s fingers itch to pick them; and all growing at their own sweet will, yet tended with that consummate skill that removes all signs of neglect and decay, without destroying nature’s handiwork with formal trimming and prim devices.’ Photo credit Draper family
Running Creek near Ardchattan. In the early days, the Parish of Linton encompassed the rolling hills and creek flats at the junction of the Deep Creek, Running Creek and Arthurs Creek. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper, September 2003
Oak tree at the site of the Ardchattan homestead with the old dairy on the left, and the former Brennan family property across Running Creek. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper, September 2003
Gum tree near the junction of Running Creek and Arthurs Creek. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper, 2005
The Bluff overlooking the Arthurs Creek at 'Charnwood'. Photo credit Bruce G. Draper, 2005

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Research Tools

Click here for links and descriptions that may be helpful for those doing their own research, or for those who simply want to know more about some of the topics touched on in Up the Creek Victoria


Abbey FamilyAirey FamilyAlfred DeakinAllen FamilyAllwood StationAlma Shanahan (1923-2015)A Mountain Muster by Ian StapletonApologies & Appendages by Ian StapletonApted FamilyArdchattan StationArthurs Creek CemeteryArthurs Creek Cemetery: a History (Revised Edition) by Lindsay MannArthurs Creek Cricket ClubArthurs Creek Football ClubArthurs Creek Fruit GrowersArthurs Creek Mechanics Institute at a GlanceArthurs Creek Mechanics Institute by Bruce G. DraperArthurs Creek Mechanics Institute HallArthurs Creek Methodist ChurchArthurs Creek Post OfficeArthurs Creek Primary SchoolArthurs Creek Rifle ClubArthurs Creek Uniting ChurchAtkinson FamilyAustralian Garden History SocietyBarr FamilyBarton Hill StationBassett FamilyBatman TreatyBear's CastleBear FamilyBegoniasBoadle FamilyBoer warBraeside StationBrain FamilyBrennan FamilyBrock FamilyBushranger BurkeCharnwood StationChristian FamilyChurch of the Irish MartyrsClarke FamilyCleir Hills StationCorr FamilyCraigie Lee StationDeep CreekDishleigh StationDoctors Gully RoadDoreen VillageDraper FamilyDuffy Land ActDunolly Scent FarmEarly BlacksmithsEllis Cottage Historical Precinct by Nillumbik Historical Society on WikinorthiaEltham District Historical SocietyFay Thomas Collection by Yarra Plenty Regional LibraryFernvale StationFlintoff FamilyFrank Dalby DavisonFriends of Burnley GardensFrom Drovers To Daisy-Pickers by Ian StapletonFrom Fraser's To Freezeout by Ian StapletonFrom Laggan To Arthur’s Creek by Ross McDonaldFruit Cool StoresGillian FamilyGlen Ard StationGlenburn StationGlen Donald StationGray FamilyGreen FamilyGrimshaw FamilyHairy-Chested History by Ian StapletonHall FamilyHazel Glen CemeteryHazelglen HallHazel Glen SchoolHazel Glen StationHazel Glen Wesleyan ChurchHealey FamilyHeidelberg Historical SocietyHenry ArthurHerbert FamilyHeyfield GippslandHickey FamilyHickey’s CornerHowitt FamilyHulme FamilyHurrey FamilyHurst FamilyJohn LoxtonKenneth JackKirkliston StationLaidlay FamilyLang Fauld StationLeon Saper (1928-2005)Linton CemeteryLinton FamilyLinton Grange StationLobb FamilyLobbs HillLodgeLodge FamilyMacfarlane FamilyMacmillan FamilyMacpherson FamilyMann FamilyMcDonald FamilyMcKay FamilyMcKimmie FamilyMcLelland FamilyMills FamilyMountain Rescue 1944Murdie FamilyMurphy's CreekMurphy FamilyMuseums Victoria CollectionsNillumbikNillumbik Heritage GuideNillumbik Historical SocietyNillumbik Reconciliation GroupOf Pioneers & Perseverance by Ian StapletonPeter Laycock (1927-2009)Pine Hill StationPioneers and Painters: One hundred years of Eltham and Its Shire by Alan MarshallPlenty RiverPresswell FamilyPublic Records Office VictoriaRAAF Base East SaleReid FamilyRobert (Bob) Mair (1943- )Ronald FamilyRoyal Historical Society of VictoriaRoyal Horticultural Society of VictoriaRunning CreekRussell FamilyRyder FamilyRyders Flat ReserveSchultz FamilyScrubby CreekSeeds of Yesterday : the Fruit of Tomorrow by Pam GoodeyShire of Nillumbik Local Historical SocietiesSlabon FamilySmith FamilyState Library VictoriaSteer FamilyStewart's PondsStewart FamilyStubley FamilyThe Andrew Ross MuseumThe Last Cry by Mick WoiwodThe Melbourne Book written by Clive Turnbull ; drawings by Kenneth JackThomas FamilyTregowan StationTroveUnderwood FamilyUp the Creek : Early Days in the Arthurs Creek District by Bruce G. DraperVersdale StationVerso FamilyVictorian CollectionsVictorian Collections Eltham District Historical SocietyWaitui StationWeatherbeaten Wisdom by Ian StapletonWhittlesea Agricultural SocietyWhittlesea ShowWikinorthiaWild Horses BrumbiesWilliam Jock FraterWinter Majetin AppleYan Yean : A History by Dianne EdwardsYan Yean Primary SchoolYan Yean ReservoirYarra Plenty Local HistoryYarra Plenty Regional Library