The Canning Street Ford is of local historical significance as one of the first crossing places of the Maribyrnong River for European settlers from 1835 onwards. It is recorded in the first accounts of exploration (Grimes 1803 journey) and in subsequent accounts of the difficulties of traversing the western plains. (Criterion A4 & C2) Although greatly modified, the immediate environs of the ford remain undeveloped and so reflect the character of the area during the pioneering phase. (Criterion A3) The ford is representative of a former mode of transport and river crossing, now rare or lost. (Criterion B2 & D2) The ford is closely associated with the first white people to set foot in the district (the exploration party of Charles Grimes, John Flemming & co. in 1803) and subsequent settlers and travellers including the Solomon family, makes the place an historical landmark location.
(Criterion H1). Surviving remnant indigenous vegetation (to the north in the City of Brimbank) provides a historical landscape context to the site recalling the environment at the time of early settlement.
Australian Heritage Commission (AHC) criteria
The Australian Heritage Commission criteria consist of a set of eight criteria which cover social, aesthetic, scientific, and historic values. Each criterion has sub-criteria written specifically for cultural or natural values. The relevant criteria are:
A.4 demonstrates well the course and pattern of history, important historic events
A stone reef outcrops in the bed of the Maribyrnong River banking up the waters in a wide bend and providing a shallow crossing of the river. Gravels and sand have accumulated here, and flood deposits of silt have accumulated on the banks. Ramped approaches on both banks may be partially natural, but have been modified by use (originally livestock and vehicle erosion) and grading. The approaches were once across open flats, but by the latter 19th century were at least partially formalised to the road reservations, an extension of Canning Street on the east, and Burke Street on the south west. The MMBW reconstructed the river banks and added stepping stones formed from large weathered basalt boulders. Dry stone walls and the secluded river reach gives a sense of the historical environment of the area. Remnant vegetation in the area includes at least one pre settlement Red Gum tree (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) to the north in the City of Brimbank.
Located in the undeveloped valley with evidence of former road approaches and dry stone walls marking former farm allotments clearly visible. At least one pre settlement red gum tree survives near the site.
Creation date(s): 1835 c. Heritage Significancemetropolitan Map (Melway) 27 B8 Boundary description An area of land extending 20 metres either side of the ford and 50 metres upstream and
downstream. Also including the road approach of the unmade part of Burke St. Local Government Area: Cities of Maribyrnong, Brimbank and Moonee Valley Ownership Type Public - crown land administered by Melbourne Water