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Support for Teachers

Lectures, Resource Materials, Suggested Topics and History Timeline        

Outline of Available Lectures

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then and now.JPG
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Geodetic Survey.JPG
Development of Werribee.JPG
historic sites around werribee.JPG
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If you wish to discuss arranging for a lecture presentation with topics as above please contact
Lisa Markovic  or  Lisa Heinrichs  Phone 0435681569 Email :

hume and hovell expedition termination l

If you wish to discuss arranging for a lecture presentation Hume and Hovell Expedition Termination please contact Lance Pritchard ,   Phone 0468 435 090      Email :

 A Guide for Complying With The Victorian Curriculum and Assesment Authority Requirements

Suggested Resource Material

•    Snippets of Wyndham, Werribee District Historical Society
•    Werribee; The First 100 Years, Werribee District Historical Society
•    South Base Stone, Werribee District Historical Society
•    History Lectures, Werribee District Historical Society
•    Werribee Farm; a history, Helen Penrose
•    The Carter Family, W.M.S. Carter
•    From There to Here, Margaret Campbell
•    Wool Past The Winning Post, Heather B Ronald
•    Wyndham Our Story, Geoff Hocking
•    National Library of Australia,


Suggested Topics

Geological History
•    What is clay? 
•    Where did the Werribee clay come from? 
•    Do we have any extinct local volcanoes?    Where?    When were they active?

Aboriginal Occupation
•    What were the three main language groups of the Kulin Nation centred around Wyndham?
•    What changes would they have witnessed during their approx. 50,000 year occupation? (Physical changes to the land and social changes since European settlement.)

Changes and developments relating to European Occupation 
•    Outline the early European explorers that travelled through the Werribee area.    
•    Investigate John Helder Wedge and his association with the Werribee area.
•    Where did the Werribee township first develop and why? 
•    Can you give an explanation as to why this site was selected in preference to any other site within 2-3km upstream or downstream? 
•    Why did the Werribee Township develop where it is today?  Discuss also the flow characteristics of the river in the early days and how this impacted on Geelong – Melbourne travellers.
•    Investigate the development of the railway, why was it constructed so early in the development of Victoria? 
•    Examine the Geodetic Survey of Victoria.
•     Investigate the Chaffey Irrigation Colony and the unrelated subsequent Werribee South irrigation area. 
•    Pastoral and Dairy Industries. 
•    The Chirnsides. 
•    Early Hotels of Werribee. 
•    Early Churches. 
•    Examine the history of the Melbourne Water Western Treatment Plant and the township of Cocoroc. 
•    State Research Farm. 
•    Point Cook & Laverton RAAF Air Bases. 
•    Examine the Carter Poultry Empire. 
•    Changes in location of Local Government offices.
•    Werribee township layout, parks and gardens. 
•    Street names. 

Please instil upon students, not to quote as fact, the myth relating to the naming of Bungy’s Hole or the myth that Thomas Chirnside ‘gave’ land to the Geelong Melbourne Railway Co. 

Timeline - Outline of Wyndham/Werribee History Prior To The 2nd World War


  • YBP (Years Before Present) Sea level was approx. 3m above present level.    



  • YBP Aboriginal people arrived in the area and the sea level was approx. 50m below present level.    



  • YBP Eight local volcanoes were active at various times.    



  • YBP Sea level was approx. 130m below present level.      



  • YBP Sea level was approx. 1m above present level.



  • A Hume & Hovell camped close to, and at the Werribee River on the 16th & 17th of December 1824. Refer to website link



  • A few months after Batman’s bargain purchase, Wedge arrived to map the area for the Port Phillip  Association.  At the head of the bay, he found John Pascoe Fawkner’s party settling in.



  • Half-way House established approx. 1km upstream from the current Riverbend Historic Park, and the ford which provided a crossing of the Werribee River, approx. 1km downstream from Riverbend Historic Park.



  • The Half-Way House renamed Golden Fleece under licence. A second crossing existed lower down the river near Wedge’s primitive hut, half-way between the present township and the bay.



  • Thomas Chirnside arrived in Australia, moving to the Werribee area in the 1840s.



  • Dr.Greeves took over the Golden Fleece Inn. 



  • Thomas Chirnside occupied land on the west bank of the river.



  • Township of Wyndham (Werribee) surveyed

  • Elliott Armstrong’s Inn was built on the site where the Racecourse Hotel is now, but didn’t receive a Liquor Licence until two years later. 



  • First town land sales in Wyndham.

  • New bridge opened at Werribee Street.



  • Elliot Armstrong’s Inn trading with a Liquor Licence opened as the ‘Bridge Inn’. Armstrong had earlier operated a ferry across the river and supplied fresh horses for the coach service between Melbourne and Geelong.



  • Werribee river flooded – Wedge house washed away and members of the Wedge family drowned.



  • Ellen Armstrong , daughter of the innkeeper started the first school in Werribee in the grounds of the inn, with 19 pupils.

  • Railway Hotel in Watton Street licenced.



  • Police Station built in Synnot Street.



  • Geelong-Melbourne Railway opened.  The railway terminated at Newport and passengers transferred to a ferry for the final stage to Melbourne.  The line went through to Spencer Street Station two years later.



  • William Ison a Werribee pioneer built his mud brick house with clay from a dam at the rear of his property on Bulban Road.



  • Geodetic Survey of Victoria commenced from the South Base Stone near the present Hoppers Crossing Railway Station.



  • Governor declared and defined Wyndham township.

  • "Racecourse and Recreation Reserve" was Gazetted.



  • Wyndham Road District (stretching from Williamstown to Little River) proclaimed by the Governor, Sir Henry Barkly.



  • Wyndham District Road Board election recorded in the Minutes of the Board of Land & Works ledger, 12 February.



  • The Shire of Wyndham proclaimed, 7 March - a more advanced form of local government than the Road Board.



  • Shire divided into three ridings – East, South and North. 

  • First Shire Hall built.



  • Offices of the Wyndham Shire opened on the corner of Watton and Greaves Streets.  The bluestone building is now owned by the Masonic Lodge.



  • Racecourse construction begun

  • “Haricot” from the Chirnside stables won the Melbourne Cup.



  • Beamish house built in Synnot Street – now McDonalds.

  • The township of Wyndham renamed Werribee.

  • Railway accident south of the town, where the Manor Station was later built. Geelong-bound goods train collided with a passenger train from  Dimboola on the single-track line. Three killed.



  • Construction of the Mechanics’ Institute and Free Library commenced. Now site of Wyndham Cultural Centre.



  • Thomas Chirnside, pioneer and founder of a pastoral empire, died at Werribee Park.



  • Werribee Irrigation Trust constituted. Land bought for irrigation scheme planned by the Chaffey Bros.



  • Andrew Chirnside died. With the two brothers gone, and heavier taxes imposed on unimproved land this was the beginning of the end for the vast Chirnside estates.



  • Board of Works started construction of Melbourne’s Sewerage System.



  • New Shire Offices opened at the corner of Watton Street and Duncans Road. In use until 1976, when the Civic Centre on Princes Highway opened.



  • “Werribee Express” first published (in Bacchus Marsh).



  • Building of the sewer line from Melbourne to Werribee, via Spotswood Pumping Station, completed.



  • The Shire of Wyndham renamed Shire of Werribee.

  • State Rivers & Water Supply Commission built the Southern Water Diversion Weir.



  • Manor railway station, west of Werribee, built. It served the Board of Works farm. The station is no longer in existence.



  • State Research Farm established. The high quality of pastures in Victoria, particularly in irrigated areas, can be attributed to the work done here in the early days.



  • Fire destroyed the Werribee Farmers’ Co-op Store in Station Street.

  • Moves to start a Fire Brigade began.



  • Water Tower in Tower Road, constructed by State Rivers & Water Supply Commission to supply the Werribee township.

  • Fire Brigade formed.

  • Werribee Telephone Exchange had 24 subscribers.

  • Point Cook RAAF Base established. This is the oldest continuously operating military airfield in the world.



  • Melton reservoir, on the Werribee River, constructed.



  • Werribee township connected to the State Electricity Grid.



  • The Carter poultry farm said to be the largest in the southern hemisphere – 55,000 birds.



  • Palais Theatre built in Station Street.



  • Supply of mains water to Werribee by Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works. Some parts of the town already had reticulated water supply from the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission. Now the whole township had a guaranteed  water supply.



  • First talking picture “Mother’s Millions”, shown at the Palais Theatre. Extra seats had to be provided for the crowd of over 1000 people – the largest crowd ever seen in Werribee at that time.



  • Ernest C. Rolls theatrical entrepreneur, announced plans to develop a film colony at the ‘Manor’ on the Werribee River. The aim was to produce   spectacular musical and drama films for the world market. He advised Werribee people to buy shares in his company, but nothing more was heard of the scheme.



  • Police Station in Duncans Road opened.

  • New St. Andrew’s Catholic Church opened and blessed by Archbishop Mannix. 




  • School of Dairy Technology opened at the State Research Farm.

  • Werribee Sewerage Authority formed to plan a sewerage system for the town. War intervened and work was delayed for many years. (Much of it was done in the 1960’s).

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