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Photographer's Note

Our small Melbourne based TE group got together again, this time to spend a day photographing in the Cheetham Wetlands. When we got there, laden with zoom lenses in order to "shoot" water birds, which were supposed to have migrated to these wetlands all the way from Japan and Siberia, we were most disappointed by the almost absolute lack of bird life. But Melbourne’s tall buildings stood out beckoningly, asking to be photographed. We even proceeded to the various ponds, which were nothing more than salt encrusted, dry saltpans- despite the supposed feeding of these ponds by fresh and salt water. Still, we ended up photographing patterns on these salt surfaces and the petrified little shrubs. We then proceeded to the bird hide only to find that there was no water in sight and Steve even saw a rabbit run into the dry scrub. So, we kept taking photos of Melbourne’s skyline.
Despite everything, it was a fun day and I finally met santo (skippy007). Thanks to macondo for organizing the trip and keeping his cool when the ranger told us that the gates close at 5pm, despite the park’s website specifying an 8pm closing of the gates.
In 1853 the pastoralist Thomas Chirnside added the farmlands of Point Cook to his holdings. He built the famous Point Cook Homestead of twenty-five rooms in 1857. Initially Point Cook was an important segment of the expanding pastoral empire established by Thomas and his brother Andrew. As their extensive land holdings were developed substantial homesteads were later constructed at Werribee Park, Carranballac, Mount Williams and Curnong.
Due to the Chirnside brothers' deep interest in hunting, deer & foxes were introduced to Point Cook in the 1850s. As early as 1859 members of the Melbourne Hunt Club and the Geelong & District Hunt Club were invited to hunt at Point Cook. In the early 1860s Thomas Chirnside imported valuable horses for the breeding at Point Cook. The property was said to have three racetracks. The Chirnsides became one of Victoria's prominent pastoral families, entertaining the colonial gentry and organising sporting functions for their guests at Point Cook.
In 1873 the Chirnside brothers began construction of the elaborate mansion at Werribee Park. By 1877 the Werribee Park Mansion had been completed and it largely displaced the Point Cook homestead as their families focus.
In 1920 the Chirnside family sold the remainder of the Point Cook property to Sydney Dalrymple. This ended nearly 70 years of the Chirnside family's ownership of Point Cook. Four years later in 1924 Dalrymple sold the northern part of the Point Cook land to Cheetham Salt Pty Ltd for salt recovery lagoons.
Cheetham Salt established a series of ponds in the 1920s where sea water was fed into the shallow ponds and allowed to evaporate. Dried salt was then harvested form the floor of the lagoons. This operation continued until the early 1990s, when the site was purchased by the Victorian Government. The more environmentally important bayside part of the original saltworks now comprises Cheetham Wetlands which make up the migratory bird habitat and conservation area that is there today.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2897 W: 103 N: 4973] (22372)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2009-01-11
  • Categories: Nature
  • Exposure: f/5.6, 1/160 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2009-01-13 21:49
Viewed: 1600
Points: 34
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Additional Photos by Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2897 W: 103 N: 4973] (22372)
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