THE CRAIGIEBURN HERITAGE PROJECT
(Extracts taken from the original brochure)
These pages are intended for private family research only, not for commercial use or use on any other websites without express permission. If extracts are copied, please give an acknowledgement.
PRESENTS A SHORT HISTORY OF CRAIGIEBURN
The Craigieburn Heritage Project was a joint partnership between the Craigieburn Historical Interest Group inc, Delfin Ltd, and the State Library of Victoria.
The brochure was written by Rebecca Jardine on behalf of the Craigieburn Historical Interest Group Incorporated and represents the first stage of the Craigieburn Heritage Project. The Project aims to uncover the many histories that make up Craigieburn and create the town's identity and community spirit. Future activities will bring you the excitement and the passion of Craigieburn's history together with fun activities for all the family.
Craigieburn's Natural History
Just 7500 years ago volcanoes were still active in the Craigieburn area. Lava from volcanoes all over the Western District formed the flat and grassy plain we now call Craigieburn. A blanket of basalt rock, poured out from the volcanoes as lava, covers the area, this explains why Craigieburn has so many rocks!
Over millions of years, the climate has changed dramatically, altering the landscape, soil and plant and animal life of Craigieburn. The arrival of the Wurundjeri people and, later European settlers, each with different approaches to land management, also altered the landscape.
Early survey maps compiled by white settlers describe the area as fine, open, grassy country, rich in good black soil, and fit for cultivation. These maps also refer to lightly timbered forests of Sheoke, Mimosa and Blackwood. The magnificent River Red Gum continues to thrive, with some trees aged over 500 years old.
Five years ago an environmental impact study estimated that less than one per cent of the area's indigenous grassland flora survives. Today community groups together with the council and responsible housing developers are working to protect and revegetate the area's indigenous plant species.
The Wurundjeri People
According to archaelogical studies, Aboriginal people began arriving in Victoria more than forty thousand years ago.
The Wurundjeri People, who are the traditional landowners of Craigieburn, believe that a superbeing called Bunjil carved humans out of bark and breather life into them. It is believed that Bunjil was responsible for sending these people across the sea to inhabit the land we now call Victoria.
The Wurundjeri People controlled a tract of land that stretched from Kew up to Lancefield, and from Healesville across to the Maribynong River.
Within a five kilometre radius of Craigieburn there are fixty six registered archaeological sites. A recent archaeological assesment along Malcolm Creek corridor unearthed a small Aboriginal artefact.
According to the most recent census, sixty people of Aboriginal descent currently live in Craigieburn.
Despite extensive research, no one seems to know exactly who named Craigieburn, or even when it was named. Craigieburn was not recognised in the census of 1854, but was first mentioned in Bailliere's Gazetteer and Road Guide in 1865. Craigieburn was probably named after a town in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, made famous in a poem by Robert Burns. The term 'craggy' mean rocky, which suggests that Craigieburn was aptly named.
Craigieburn has a rich colonial history. James Malcolm is thought to have been the first settler in the area. Malcolm arrived in Melbourne in 1836, the very year that it was settled, and took up land at the place we know called Craigieburn. He built a hut and barn in 1841 and later a blue stone cottage 'Olrig' which stands today.
Malcolm was by no means isolated, all the land surrounding 'Olrig' run was quickly taken up by other settlers. Sydney Road, the major transport route from Melbourne to Sydney, provided a constant stream of people passing through the area. The nearby towns of Mickleham, Kalkallo and Kinlochewe were thriving metropolises during the 1850s. It is difficult to believe now, but Kalkallo boasted seventeen hotels in 1850.
The Craigieburn Township
For many years after the arrival of the first settlers, Craigieburn remained a small agricultural township. During the land boom of the 1880's farmland was subdivided and sold to investors who saw the potential to use the land for residential housing estates. however the majority of these investors became bankrupt in the 1890's and the land remained undeveloped.
in 1911, the Craigieburn Progress Association was formed. The Association was responsible for building Craigieburn's first town hall, which was located near the Cathouse Theatre now stands. It seemed that Craigieburn residents played a vital role in building our community even in the town's earliest days.
The history of the Craigieburn township and history of Craigieburn's community groups are indelibly linked. Craigieburn is what it is today because of the hundreds of groups and people who fought hard and worked tirelessly for the services, facilities and lifestyle its 13, 591 residents currently enjoy. In the year 2000, Craigieburn is a rapidly growing and dynamic community.