Bolin Bolin Billabong is part of the Yarra Valley parklands that stretches around 1400 hectares. The Billabong and the surrounding river flats were a great source of food for Wurundjeri aboriginal people. The Bolin Bolin Billabong was a sacred site to the aborigines and many ceremonies lasting nearly a month were held here between April and May with attendance reaching upto a thousand. The ceremonies coincided with the annual eel migration. The abundant supply of eels at the Billabong catered for the dietary needs of the attendees.
There are many interpretative plaques around the walking path telling the story of the indigenous people.
It is important to preserve the health of such billabongs as they nourish the surrounding terrain, improve the water quality and provide habitat for native fauna. The billabong provides a perfect breeding ground for frogs, fish, wader birds, yabbies and insects, which attracts its predators like lizards, snakes, turtles, bats and birds forming an eco-system. Wombats, possums and gliders are also found in this area.
This landscape is home to old trees of River Red Gums, Silver Wattle and Paper bark, some of which are upto 300 years old.
From 2017 to 2020, the Billabong and the surrounding areas are undergoing a healthy make over. Water will be diverted from Yarra to maintain the Billabong and focus will be given on upgrading the pathways and improving the vegetation around the billabong. So this is not the best place visit until the 3 year project is completed.
Bolin Bolin Billabong walk
The walk is nearly 4.5km and takes around 1.5 hours to complete. Walk starts and finishes at Bulleen Park, 175 Bulleen Road in Bulleen.
What is a Billabong?
Billabong is an isolated pond left behind when a river changes its course. Where a river follows a curved path, the outside bend flows faster than the inside bend. This pushes the sediments up against the inner bank, which build up with time. During rainy season when the river is full and flows in its vigour, this built up landmass will force the water to find a new way around. Eventually the river will follow the newfound short cut. The old bend continues to collect slit forming a barrier which will prevent the river taking its old course and the isolated loop will form a billabong.
Billabongs may remain dry for most part of the year and will remain filled with water depending on the season. The word Billabong is believed to be most likely derived from the Wiradjuri term bilabaŋ. ‘Bila’ means ‘river’ and ‘bong’ means ‘continuing in time or space’. Bolin Bolin Billabong is part of a larger system of Billabongs and swamps, most of which have been dried for farming or other developments.
Address: 175 Bulleen Road, Bulleen