Update  -  this self drive tour held in May 2018 was a great success and to celebrate this important region, the double sided A2 souvenir guide with map and notes is now available!

Proceeds from printed map sales will be invested in future heritage events in the You Yangs Region rural districts

Order your “Before 1850” You Yangs Heritage tour double-sided A2 souvenir guide with map & notes - just $5 per copy plus postage and handling


  • Email order   -  Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your contact details, number of guides required [Single copy posted = $7, Two copies posted = $12 or bulk orders of 10 copies or more $5 each plus postage and handling]. 

To pay by direct debit - we will reply with the details.  

  • A2 prints can also be purchased through outlets in the region including the Little River Mechanics Institute and Free Library. 

  • The guides are also available as free pdf downloads from this website for a limited time  -  Tour Map      Tour Notes

  • For any further information please contact Sue on 0409 353 727.


Friday 11 May - special School Heritage Program "Before 1850"

This successful event was moved to the Little River Mechanics Hall due to the long awaited, but untimely, rain falling. 

In the tradition of their ancestors, proud Wadawurrung woman, Nikki McKenzie, conducted a Welcome to Country along with her partner Norm Stanley, a Kurnai man born and raised on Wadawurrung country.   Norm's didgeridoo music is also a ceremony in itself with calling upon spirits from our dreaming to walk with us, ensuring a safe journey.

Children from Little River and Anakie Primary Schools were eager to learn as much as possible about "Before 1850" and particularly the local Wadawurrung people and way of life.   They were full of questions and actively involved in the cultural material Norm & Nikki brought along to show them.

Year 6 student Benny talked about his proposal and upcoming petition for a safe walking river crossing over the Old Melbourne Road which Norm and Nikki will support. 

Saturday 12 May  - The You Yangs Region - Rural Districts Heritage Tour ... “BEFORE 1850”

A4frontaFollowing a few days of welcome rain, the weather was a bit brjghter as we all gathered at the culturally significant Big Rock, set amidst the distinctive granite peaks of the You Yangs, 

A huge thank you AGAIN to Nikki McKenzie and  Norm Stanley who stepped in for Corrina Eccles who was unable to attend.

They conducted a moving  traditional Welcome to Country, ceremonial didgeridoo music and the Smoking Ceremony where everyone was involved in the cleansing.   

The self-drive tour then headed off headed off across the grasslands to check out the heritage spots on the way to the Balliang Memorial Hall for morning tea, a look around at the old photos in the hall and talks and sharing about settler families around the area.

Many then sought lunch around Anakie on the way to Lara. 

The Lara Heritage & Historical Museum volunteers dressed the part for their mini talks which were very informative and amusing.  Some of the group was reluctant to hurry their devonshire tea before leaving for more spots.

The Little River Mechanics Hall was the venue for Anthropologist,  Heather Threadgold to explain the use and significance of some of the landscapes around the region.

The attendees on the tour shared their experiences and valuable knowledge of the time, local people and region during the tour.

Many are keen for another tour next year.   We encourage participants to email us with ANY ideas, suggestions and comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

Thank you very much to all those locals who gave such great support with this special inaugural heritage tour event.  

We plan to share some photos on the website as soon as possible. 


Learn about the significant Wadawurrung and settler heritage of the Anakie, Balliang, Lara and Little River districts and understand the importance of these districts in the early days of the Port Phillip Settlement.

A Self Drive day tour of the districts from the You Yangs, Balliang, Anakie, Lara to Little River with some fixed time events and sites and displays open at various locations during the day.    Other pre-1850 sites eg. fords, river reserves, building remnants, that can be seen from roadways and public places.





9:30am You Yangs Regional Park – Registration at Information Centre carpark

Please bring your tickets to Registration Desk and receive your copy of the tour guide with map & background notes 

10:00am    Traditional Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony - Corrina Eccles, Wadawurrung Traditional Owner & Cultural Educator

Balliang Memorial Hall, Balliang-Bacchus Marsh Road (opposite CFA)

Morning tea (covered picnic area)    

11:30am    Family stories from "Before 1850" facilitated by Heather Threadgold

  • Corrina Eccles on her Wadawurrung ancestor Queen Mary Robinson 

  • Sue Jones on Rebecca Savage of ‘Avalon Station’ & traffic along the Melbourne - Geelong track

  • Questions & other stories about the time

Lunch - from 12:30 BYO lunch to picnic reserves in Balliang, Anakie, & Little River or the Lara Museum garden 

 OR Buy food in Anakie, Lara shopping centres & Little River (see tour map) - please help with our aim for a Zero Waste event!


Lara Heritage & Historical Museum, Forrest Road South 

2:00 -  2:30pm Mini talks: ‘Settler to Explorer Era’ to be held in the Museum, Lake Bank House garden, weather permitting

  • Matthew Flinders, Hamilton Hume, William Buckley, Thomas Bates Jnr & James Austin.

Note -  The Museum will open specially for tour participants from 1 – 3pm [Museum usually opens 11 am – 4 pm Sundays & Wednesdays - See www.laramuseum.org.au]].
Entry fee to displays $3.00 with children under 16 years free.

Garden available for BYO picnics – free, Devonshire teas & cappuccinos – at cost.

Little River Mechanics Institute Hall & vicinity

Open building & display during afternoon from 1pm with tea & coffee available in tea room.

3.15pm  Afternoon tea in supper room

3:30 -  4:15pm   “Before 1850” - Wadawurrung & Settler Living in the You Yangs Region"  -   Heather Threadgold,  Anthropologist and PhD student with the School of Architecture, Landscape Built Environment, Deakin University   ....  at Little River Hall.   

Heritage Day overview and close

Any ideas on more You Yangs Region heritage events - please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


This event has been planned by the local community - Little River Mechanics Institute Library and Caz Bartholomew, You Yangs Region Tourism Group in consultation with Corrina Eccles, Cultural Education Coordinator, Wadawurrung Aboriginal Corporation – Geelong Office.  Other local community groups are  involved in planning, organising and promoting the event – including the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative, Lara Heritage & Historical Museum, local history societies,  Parks Victoria, National Trust, Cities of Greater Geelong and Wyndham . . . and more. 

Big thanks also to Argo Print & Design Little River, Country Cartographics, Balliang Memorial Hall, Anakie Community House and the State Library of Victoria for the wonderful images.

We are delighted to work with One Fire Reconciliation Group and the Wadawurrung/Wathaurong people.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Wadawurrung Country, and pay our respects to their Elders and people, past and present.


The You Yangs Region - Rural Districts Heritage Tour 2018 event is proudly supported by:


Wyndham CityWadawurrung  and the City of Greater Geelong through its Community Grants Program. 




Wyndham City                Wadawurrung Logo     

The Australian Heritage Festival is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Trusts Partnership Program.