According to a transcript taken from a book written by Major Sir Thomas Mitchell, the summary title being 'Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia' (1838), the Surveyor General of NSW entered the future Shire of McIvor on 5 October 1836 (Randell 1985). Despite the evidence of bullock tracks recorded in Mitchell's journal on 23 September, some 12 days prior to his crossing of the Campaspe River, he and his party were recognised as the first Europeans having traversed what was to become the 'Campaspe Plains' (Randell 1985). The term 'Campaspe' was also written as 'Campaspie' in the early days of white settlement (Randell 1982). Upon contact with Aborigines on 7 October, he was informed that the waterway flowing through the valley was known as 'Deegay' (Randell 1985), [also known as 'Dungay' (Randell 1982) or 'Degay Ponds'], the upper extremities of which (near Heathcote) were later renamed the 'Wapentake' (or 'Wappentake') Creek (Randell 1982). It was stated in the correspondence of Captain Charles Hutton on 6 June 1839 to Captain William Lonsdale (who was in charge of the Port Phillip Settlement), that the tribesmen were from the Goulburn River (Randell 1982). Although conflict between the white settlers and Aborigines had ceased long before the discovery of gold long McIvor Creek in 1852, it was reported in The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser newspaper in October 1866 that only five or six of the natives from the '....once mighty Goulburn River Tribe ......' remained in the district (Randell 1985, 34). In a letter to Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe dated 19 August 1853, Captain Hutton wrote that the only other tribe he know of in the area was based near the Campaspe River (Hutton 1853). According to Figure 13 in Clair (1998), both native tribes belonged to the 'Daung Wurrung' clan ("named group").
Randell (1982) noted that Hutton and his party of men including eight convicts, bullocks, drays, horses and sheep travelled overland from Bundanon Estate (between Goulburn and Nowra) in late January or early February 1838. They followed Major Mitchell's track and arrived on the Campaspe Plains in July 1838 (Hutton 1853). The group camped on the upper reaches of Wild Duck Creek for approximately a month whilst exploring the surrounding land prior to shifting between 5 miles and 6 miles (8 km to 10 km) downstream, where he established a headstation on the west bank which later become the 'Langwornar' Station homestead (Randell 1982). This station was located in the centre of the future Shire of McIvor and therefore Hutton could be considered as its first resident (Randell 1985). The term 'Campaspie Plains' was not restricted to Hutton's run and also applied to the lower reaches of the river from Darlington Station to where it joined the Murray River (Randell 1982). Theoretically, the vast initial run was estimated to be 400 000 acres (i.e. approximately 162 000 ha) owing to the lack of other claimants, although for practical purposes the area would have been considerably reduced because of the unreliable water supply from smaller creeks located away from the Campaspe River and Wild Duck Creek (Randell 1982). The land within the original station underwent a succession of owners and boundary definitions which were documented by Spreadborough and Anderson (1983). An application for lease of the station was made under the Order in Council of October 1847 (Randell 1982). The area squatted upon by Daniel Jennings was surveyed and estimated to comprise 144 900 acres (i.e. approximately 58 660 ha) with a grazing capacity for 20 000 sheep.
|Degay Ponds are marked as part of the eastern boundary of the station and other nature features marked include the Campaspe River, Mosquito Creek, McIvor Creek and various areas of pasture and timber cover.|
This map is Copyright (c) Crown (State of Victoria) 2006. All rights reserved. It has been reproduced with the permission of the Surveyor General, Victoria.
|... When leaving this forest belt, and opening out upon the plain, the change of scent was delightfully pleasant. Where Mt Hutton's house stands is a beautiful sight, with extensive plains before it and some thousands of acres of good sheep country, mainly open forest hills, extending tens of thousands of acres on every side..... Two large paddocks were fenced in with split post and rail, two rails. One, a paddock of wheat, had been reapeda dn stacked and they were thatching it. The wheat appeared very good. This must be a great saving, to grow wheat on their establishments. It also proves the climate and soil. Mr Hutton thinks once crop out of three years may succeed, but this is mere conjecture.....|
|...The site of Moorabbee is one of the most magnificent in Victoria: it stands on a most elevated position, commanding a noble view, for many miles of the sylvan scenery around.....|