The City of Whittlesea is home to many kilometres of historically significant landscaping called dry stone walls. Dating back to the mid 1800s, they form some of the earliest property boundaries and agricultural infrastructure in the City of Whittlesea and are protected by Council's planning scheme. Permits are required to alter or remove stones in any way, even on private property. Read more below about dry stone walls.
Historic dry stone walls (DSW) includes walls and other features built from dressed and undressed stones gathered or quarried from the land by early European settlers. They are powerful expressions of human interaction with the land found across the volcanic plain which covers Victoria from the Western District to the west side of the Plenty River in the City of Whittlesea.
Today the walls are amongst the very oldest European structures in Whittlesea. We have wonderful, surviving examples of DSW built predominantly by German and Scottish settlers and others built by the Irish and English.
Road and property boundary walls are the most widespread but there are also internal paddock walls and distinctive cultivation paddock walls. Some were designed to keep stock in but others to keep stock out.
A lot of the stones used are round and dense which are actually challenging to build with.
You can see stony rises in the City of Whittlesea too where bedrock is exposed on the surface of the land. These are also significant.
The walls were constructed with a combination of large boulders, small stones and some were split to balance the structure.
Dry stone walls are only found in some areas of Victoria and the ones in the City of Whittlesea are different from those found in other areas.
The walls provide insights into farming practices and of life on the Merri-Darebin Plains stony rises in the 19th Century.
Some of our noteworthy dry stone walls can be found along roadways and on private properties:
Dry stone walls are protected as heritage assets and places in the Victorian State Planning framework, and in the City of Whittlesea Planning Scheme. They are significant for their cultural, social-technical, scientific, aesthetic, and landscape values and their educational potential.
A permit is required from the City of Whittlesea and in some cases from Heritage Victoria to undertake any action that alters or damages a dry stone wall – and that includes removing rocks from any part of the walls without a permit.
If someone damages a historic dry stone wall, they can be fined up to $800.
If you see someone removing stones from or damaging a dry stone wall, please contact Council on 9217 2170 with as much information as possible.