Dry Stone Walls

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Posted 2021-12-29 by Neil Follettfollow
As you travel through parts of Victoria's Western District you will see kilometres upon kilometres of stone walls, along roadways and dividing paddocks on farms. It is estimated that there are almost 3000 kilometres of the dry stone walls in the surrounding areas.

They are called dry stone walls as no mortar is used to construct them. Constructing them is an ancient craft that gained popularity in Britain during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and the practice was introduced to Australia during the mid-1800s.

Western Victoria is dotted with dormant and extinct volcanoes which in the last 4,000 to 20,000 years spouted lava and stones. These volcanos were the source of the stones used in the Western District's dry stone walls. Heading west along Princes Highway, the stone walls start to appear at Pomberneit.

Rabbits were introduced to western Victoria in 1859, another reason for deep stone barriers. The rabbit-proof wall at Pomberneit was built in 1920 and is one of the strongest stone walls in the district; most of it is still standing.

Off the main roads, numerous examples of the dry stone fences can be seen. Along Dalvue Lane in Terang is a long section of a well-preserved wall.

Along the Noorat to Mortlake Road, there are numerous examples of stone fences or walls.

Just a few kilometres north of Noorat, a roadside sign points to and reads, Corangamite Dry Stone Wall Site.

The small site allows close inspection of the wall and an illustrated plaque details how the walls are constructed.

While recently passing the newly constructed Lilydale station in the outer east of Melbourne, I noticed a stone wall being built. A close inspection revealed that it was a fa├žade, cemented against a cement wall, being decorative rather than practical.

When in the Western District of Victoria, it is well worth a close inspection of these mostly preserved and unique structures.

216348 - 2023-06-16 07:25:16


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