We came to the junction of the Yarra and Gardiner’s Creek. The confluence was hidden under a giant freeway bridge - it was a cave of echoes, the river threw dancing shadows, and a grid of stone paved the edges of Birrarung. From my research I’d gathered that the junction is approximately the furthest reach of Bunerong tribal land; from onward of the watery meeting place, both sides of the Yarra are Wurundjeri country. I grew up downstream from that place, crossing the river back and forth from my mum’s house to my dad’s, and I thought of how my cultural territory of the inner city seemed to reflect the ancient tribal boundaries between Wurundjeri and Bunerong lands. Friends often spoke of being ‘north of the river’ or ‘south of the river’ people, and I hear folk say of the river that it is hard to cross, as if there were a border between these lands. As if the Yarra wasn’t criss-crossed with bridges! It feels sometimes as if an old cultural way is persisting, despite so much change.
|—||Maya Ward - The Comfort of the Water|