History of the Barwon

Originally the Wathaurong occupied land along the banks of the Barwon River. Many sites today bear names reflecting the Aboriginal heritage in the region including “Balliang”, being a place of bulrushes.

Europeans settled along the river in the 1830s. The settlers determined the Barwon River was brackish and subject to the influence of tides, and unfit for drinking downstream of what is now Buckley Falls. Using convict labour, work began on the breakwater in 1839 and was completed in 1841 to prevent the tidal salt flow from continuing upstream. 


The Barwon River's social and environmental features include:
• long stretches native parkland for visitors and residents to enjoy
• habitat for platypus and other native animals

Unique geographical features include:
• Belmont Common
• the rowing mile
• Fyans Park
• Stan Lewis Walk
• Wal Whiteside walk

Boating on the Barwon

Boating on the Barwon has been an integral part of its history, with rowing a hugely popular activity on the river since the late 1800s to the present day.
In addition to rowing the river is used for kayaking, canoeing and informal boating use.

Barwon River boating clubs include:
• Geelong Canoe Club
• Geelong Outrigger Club
• Corio Bay Rowing Club
• Geelong Rowing Club
• Geelong Grammar Rowing Club
• Barwon Rowing Club

Water skiing is an established sport on the river principally downstream of the rowing mile, with the Barwon Valley Water Ski Club regularly using the rowing mile on Sundays.
The Geelong Water Ski Club is downstream of the Ovoid Sewer Aqueduct in the vicinity of Wilsons Road.

Regattas and Events

The Barwon River has been used for rowing since the late 1800's. Today the Head of the School Girls Regatta, Victorian Rowing Association All Schools Regatta and one-off events including the Australian Masters Championships are held there.

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