FORDS AT (TODAY’S) AVONDALE HEIGHTS, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, CIRCA 1850.
There were two fords in the Avondale Heights area by the time Braybrook Township, south of Clarendon St and straddling the river, had been partly surveyed. The one south of Rhonda St, which stopped Grimes progress up the saltwater river by boat in 1803, may have been a natural accumulation of rocks which the first settlers, maybe hundreds of years before, or even earlier, had utilised to build a fish trap. it was undoubtedly the ford used by Alexander Thompson in January 1837 when he headed to the Geelong area. Naturally this ford appears on the Braybrook Township map with the meandering track created by Andrew, George Russell and others bound for Geelong and the Western District. Later a ford was built at the end of North Road and this was called Solomons Ford. Before it could be accessed from the south, Duke Street had to be formed and probably metalled so that wheeled vehicles would not have to negotiate obstructions such as detailed below. This ford is also shown on the Braybrook Township map. The Solomons had held early runs at both locations so it was historically accurate to describe each of these fords as Solomon\'s Ford.
The original Solomons Ford might have been replaced because it it didn\'t allow enough room for a gradual descent and ascent or because the route was required for a township and surveyors loved their grids which may have been prevented by bullock drivers meandering through the area to avoid bogs, rocky outcrops, trees and so on.
Google SOLOMON\'S FORD and you will find countless references to Solomon\'s Ford being at the west end of Canning Street, (Melway 27 B8.) This was built by Michael Clancy after he\'d arrived in the area in about 1856. If it had existed in the 1850\'s, Canning Street would have continued west to the river but as the Braybrook Township map shows, it did not. How can professional historians get it so wrong?
EXTRACT FROM : PASTORAL PIONEERS ALEXANDER THOMSON (No. 100)
The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946) Saturday 16 November 1935 p 4 Article
Copy http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/141765375 into your search bar.
GUIDED BY BUCKLEY
In January 1837, he left his house in
Melbourne for his Geelong station. Guided
by Buckley, the wild white man, he walked
along the route of Collins street, up the
Flagstaff Hill, by the track which was to
be called Buckley street, Essendon, to Solo-
mon\\\'s Ford over the Saltwater River, or
Maribyrnong as it now is, and across the
plains to Geelong. Thus Thomson\'s track
became the Geelong road, and the route
has not been changed since. In Geelong
Dr. Thomson built Kardinia, which he
said was the native term for sunrise, and
became the founder of the Geelong town-
Thursday, 3rd.—At six o\'clock the captain, Mr. Grimes, self, and five seamen went in the boat up the Great River; at between two and three miles it divided into two; *(27) we took the left hand stream at half-past eight o\\\'clock. The land became high, where we landed and went on a hill. The soil a reddish loam from ten to fifteen inches deep. Saw a large lagoon at a distance. \"Went over the hill to a large swamp. *(28) Soil black, eighteen inches, with blue clay at bottom. No trees for many miles. Came to the boat and proceeded on; passed two dingles; no water; came to a third where we found some water, where we dined and proceeded on. Opposite this the land is stony soil, stiff blue clay, and no trees only some straggling oaks by the side of the river. We went up the river till we came to rocks;*(29) could not get the boat over; crossed it at a place the natives had made for catching fish. It was still salt though a great fall ; went about two miles on the hills which are level at top and full of stones, the land very bad, and very few trees, and appeared so to the mountains, which appeared clothed with timber. On our return back came to the river a little higher up and found it excellent fresh water, where it divided and appeared deep enough for a boat. Just as we got to the boat it began to thunder and rain. Stopped a little time and came back till we could procure wood to make a fire, and it being sunset stopped the night.
Flemings Journal - Melbourne\'s Living Museum of the West
The above passage does not say that the ROCKS were at the location where the saltwater ended as stated repeatedly in many articles written about Charles Grimes’ exploration of the river and supposedly based on the journal. The salt water does end near the west end of Canning Street, Avondale Heights but the map (link below) shows that the so-called Solomon’s Ford at Melway 27 B8 did not exist in the 1850’s. EVERY HERITAGE STUDY STATES THAT THIS ROCK FORD IS SOLOMON’S FORD!
I believe the rocks which stopped Grimes’ progress up the river by boat had been dislodged by the erosion of the volcanic plain as the valley deepened and that they were used by the woiwurrung as the basis of the fish trap. If their fish trap was not near the rocks, I believe that this would have been mentioned. Mention of the river dividing is mystifying and could only refer to the junction with Taylors Creek near the Kealba Wetlands at Melway 14 H9, far more than two miles upstream; even a beeline across the clifftop would only reach the Albion-Jacana railway bridge.
To avoid confusion, I will call the three fords near Avondale Heights, Grimes’ Rocks (south of Rhonda St.), Clancy’s ford (at 27 B8) and the second Solomon’s ford (at 27 C6.)
One of the first to use the 1836 Solomons Ford would have been John Aitken who then headed west to the Kororoit Creek, following the stream north and then continuing towards Mount Aitken blazing a track that was said to have become the Calder Highway. Was it coincidence that his grant, section 8 of the parish of Doutta Galla adjoined Braybrook Township at today’s Glenside Drive just 60 chains (1.2 km) from Grimes Rocks.
Alexander Thompson would have crossed at the same ford in January 1837 helping to create the zig zag track on the Cut Cut Paw side of the river heading south from the ford (shown on the map) to what became the Geelong road.
THE MAP. Google BRAYBROOK TOWNSHIP, REID, 1855.
There were usually two features in regard to townships declared in 1850. They were on well-used routes so there would be passing trade and they straddled streams so there would be a supply of water. Because these streams were used as parish boundaries, these townships occupied part of each parish. Braybrook Township had a natural ford to unite the Doutta Galla and Cut Cut Paw parts. At Broadmeadows Township (now Westmeadows) the parts in the parishes of Will Will Rook and Tullamarine were linked by the Ardlie St ford which explains why there is an Ardlie St either side of the Moonee Ponds Creek. Keilor had a bridge by the late 1840’s but it and its approaches were often washed away.
It is not a coincidence that the southbound roads in North Braybrook Township (as it became known after Lynch’s punt and bridge near Flemington Racecourse and Brees’ 1854 bridge at Keilor removed the passing trade) funnelled to the ford south of Rhonda St. If Clancy’s ford had been the 1803 ford, Canning Street would have continued west to provide access.
It was no exaggeration to say the new pound (as shown on the map) was near Solomon’s Ford. It was only 400 metres from Grimes’ Rocks. It was 1400 metres from the second Solomon’s ford at North Rd. In 1850 there was NO Clancy’s ford!
THE POUND IS RELOCATED TO BRAYBROOK NEAR SOLOMONS FORD.
NOTICE is hereby given that, the Public Pound at Footscray, in the County of Bourke, will be removed from its present site to Braybrook, near Solomon\'s Ford in the said County, and that the same shall be henceforth called the Braybrook Pound.
By order of the Bench of Magistrates, ROBERT CADDEN, Clerk Petty Sessions, County Bourke. Police Office, Melbourne, March 27th, 1849.
A ROAD FROM MOUNT ALEXANDER TO SOLOMON\'S FORD.
NEW ROAD A. new road is described in the Government Gazette from Mount Alexander to Solomon’s Ford. The new road will commence where the present road terminates, at the eastern boundary of section No. 12, Parish of Doutta Galla ; thence running westerly 27 chains, and passing through the properties of Messrs, Miller and McKlusky and Mr. Dugald McPhail; thence running north 81 deg., west 3 chains 25 links ; thence running north 73 deg., west 12 chains 50 links, and passing through the property of Mr.Dugald McPhail thence running south 80 deg.,West 25- chains ; and thence running south 74 deg., west 15 chains,-through the property of Mrs, Catherine Sinclair, to its junction with the present road, commencing at the dividing line between sections 11 and 12. The quantity of land required to be taken for the proposed new line of road is eight acres one rood and four perches, and the estimated cost of effecting the said work is two thousand two hundred and eighty pounds (£2280). (P.10, The Banner, 7-3-1854.)
The eastern boundary of section 12, Doutta Galla was Hoffman’s Rd and the south east corner is meant (ie. Braybrook road, now Buckley St west.) From there it was 44 chains west to Steeles or Rose Creek so the road probably went west for 27 chains taking a slice of section 8 (the Aitken estate) and Dugald McPhail’s Rosehill, w.n.w for 65 metres to a ford, w.n.w another 250 metres to near Surrey Court, w.s.w. 500 metres through the 114 acre Sinclair farm back to the line of Buckley St at the Rachelle St. corner (the boundary between J.P,Fawkner’s c/a 11A and Main’s Estate.) North Road and the half mile of Buckley St east of North Pole (Milleara Rd) had already been constructed by the looks of it.
A Doutta Galla map showing this section of road and the ford at Steeles or Rose Creek mentioned, as well as the sold-out, complete North Braybrook Township and later Solomons ford at the end of North Rd can be viewed if you copy http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-232488068/view into your search bar.The part outlined in this map would have been prepared as evidence in an insolvency meeting and shows C.B.Fisher\'s landholdings.
The reason Clancy’s ford is not shown on the Braybrook Township map is that Michael Clancy built it some time after his arrival in about 1856. He and his daughter never called it Solomon’s ford!
Independent (Footscray, Vic. : 1883 - 1922) Saturday 9 July 1910 p 1 Article
(The Braybrook shire had sent either a cheque or bill) for part cost of repairing Clancy\'s Ford and pointing out that it was an excellent piece of work and likely to require little maintenance in future. Cr Dodd thought the culvert had been put in higher than the old one and that the water at Solomon\'s Ford had thereby been raised and made less useful.
The Dodds and Delaheys would have known which ford was the right Solomon\'s Ford. What Cr. Dodd meant (badly paraphrased by the reporter) is that if the water dammed up too much at Clancy\'s ford, Solomon\'s ford upstream would be covered with water, making the ford less useful, not the water.
FROM MY PREVIOUS JOURNAL ABOUT SOLOMON\'S FORD.
*BRAYBROOK NORTH TOWNSHIP.
Michael Clancy’s evidence at an inquiry into closed roads in 1879 reveals that he had about 35 acres joining Mr.Porter and Mr. Fitzgerald’s properties and had arrived there in about 1856. Clancy and Munro, his neighbour in the township, were prevented from watering their cattle at the river by Derham, who also tore down 28 chains of Clancy’s 30 chain rock wall and threw the stones into his victim’s crops. Derham had Clancy’s lease of the river reserve cancelled. Harry Peck says that Derham, of fair complexion, as husky as a lumberjack, kept the pub at Braybrook and hunted others off hundreds of acres of land where he grazed about 200 horses for the Indian horse trade. Thomas B. Derham lived in Trinifour sometime after 1886 between the occupancies of W.G.Tulloch and E. Henderson.
The late Mrs. Whelan was born at Braybrook where her father was a farmer. She had lived at Williamson\'s Road, Maribyrnong, for seventy years. In the early days her mother was afraid of the blacks who were hostile. Mrs. Whelan remembered when the blacks used to hold corroborees at the spot where Moonee Ponds town hall now stands. Her father, the late Mr. Clancy, first built the ford over the Maribyrnong River known as Clancy\'s Ford. The late Mrs Whelan had eleven children, twenty-five grandchildren and thirty-two great grand-children.The funeral took place to Footscray Cemetery on Monday. (P.2, Sunshine Advocate, 24-10-1952.)
on 2017-07-21 11:19:25
Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.