Melville’s Creek – The Unwholesome Creek

Author: Rose Kircher

Melville's Creek (Cover) - Brunswick Daily

Looking at a map of West Coburg and Brunswick you can follow a curvy path beginning with a green vegetated easement parallel to Shaftsbury Street, a reserve along the middle of WIllow Grove continuing down until Glencairn tennis club, and then along the back of Shamrock Street

It leaves Shamrock Street and is echoed in the curves of Mattingley Crescent, it then would continue across Melville Rd (where a dip in the terrain is obvious as you drive along!) and under Brunswick North West Primary School and Dunstan Reserve, to join up with the Moonee Ponds Creek

Melville's Creek - Brunswick Daily

Follow a curvy path beginning with a green vegetated easement parallel to Shaftsbury street Source: Brunswick Daily

This waterway was once an open, steep sided creek with no official name, but sometimes referred to as Melville’s Creek* as it traveled through Donald Melville’s property near the current site of Jacobs Reserve (Donald Melville was Brunswick Councillor 1878-1874 and Brunswick Mayor 1881-1882) .

By all accounts the Creek was steep sided and dangerous to cross. Mentions of dangers for students of the Brunswick Northwest Primary school were mentioned repeatedly. There were also complaints about flooding, scouring of the land and mosquitos. The mosquito problem, and such a smell that the following poem was written and published in the Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 14th Oct 1921.

(By a Mosquito Gullyite)

There is a creek — an unwholesome creek;
(‘Melville’s’, it is called, you know.)

And in this creek the germs do sneak
Quietly, to lie and grow,
Until they become mosquitoes big,
With bites so sure and strong.
For, thus it happens every year,
As summer comes along.
Their buzz and bites we all have shared
On many a summer night.
But hope this season to be spared
From this sad, sorry, plight.
What with the stench that does arise,
We’ve fairly got the hump:
Again, we get those horrid flies
That drive us off our chump.
For years we’ve tried the Council, to
Commence this needy work—
To make it clean with pitchers new,
And not this job to shirk.
But, when it’s done (as we HOPE ’twill be),
Our labors were not in vain,
For then we’ll sleep so restfully.

To wake refreshed again.
So, Brunswick Council, do your best
This evil to remove:
Complete this job, to give us rest,
And so our health improve.

There continued to be complaints in the Leader about a subsided footpath/footbridge in Nov 1921, bad drainage causing mosquitos and “and offence to residents” in May 1935, and beginning in the 1930’s sections of the creek begun to be concreted and covered over. First, with the section along the west side of Shamrock Street, then on either side of there up to Reynard Street and across to Melville Rd, then the section underneath Brunswick North West Primary and lastly in the 60’s finishing with the section under Dunstan Reserve that then meets up with the Moonee Ponds Creek.

Melville's Creek - Brunswick Daily

Source: “Down the Drain” about the lost Tributaries of the Moonee Ponds Creek.

*Some sources in this article refer to the Creek as “Melville” while others as “Melville’s”, we chose the latter for no other reason than practicality. 

This article was written on the stolen lands of the Wurundjeri-woi wurrung People, whose sovereignty was never ceded.

Stay across comments
Notify of
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
25/10/2022 5:13 am

A Brunswick friend of mine, who grew up there, tells me that an old-timer told him that it was once called Blind Chinaman’s Creek and then just Blind Creek by locals. I wonder whether anyone else has heard reference to that.