The Merri Creek flows through Melbourne's northern suburbs through the Cities of Moreland, Whittlesea and Darebin. The Friends of Merri Creek (Inc.) is a community group working to support the creek since 1988. They are represented on the Committee of Management of the Creek along with council representatives and organise regular clean-ups and activities.
Des and Ruth Shiel are members of the Friends group and between 2012 and 2014, they undertook the Merri Creek Oral History Project, interviewing residents who have lived on the Creek before 1970. The transcriptions of nine of these interviews together with some photographs have recently been added to Wikinorthia. The site publishes personal reminiscences and more reflecting life in Melbourne's north. Leave a comment and add your own memories.
Residents often grew up near the creek and tell stories of a wild inaccessible waterway, pretty much ignored by everybody including the local council. But it was a place to play and explore, catch eels or see snakes and frogs:
"..We spent our life down the Creek. Some of the more vivid things would be finding places where we made our cubby houses, we would go out and do things like camping or parasailing, or what we called parasailing. What looked like huge cliffs back then, were only about two or three meters high, we would be throwing ropes up, pretending we were climbing over it and doing silly things like that. Huge areas of box thorn, we would cut out tunnels and an opening in the middle that were like super cubby houses. We would catch yabbies, couple of guys liked to get down there yabbying. All sorts of mischief. I have a scar on my hand from grabbing some corrugated iron, I was sliding down the hill on some corrugated iron, stuff like that. Riding bikes along the paths, always down there on a bike as well..." - Georgio De Nola
Interviews can be accessed by searching the tag "merri creek oral history project". Leave a comment and add your own memories.