Open Nature: Hidden Histories of the Birrarung – First Peoples Knowledge, Contemporary Actions


Explore the hidden histories of the Birrarung in this guided tour of the river’s former course. Beginning in Gosch’s Paddock in Melbourne Park, the tour crosses the river into the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne to explore the series of water courses that flow through the landscape. Participants will consider the different approaches to water and land management and how we might work toward a healthier swimmable river.

Join some of Melbourne’s most passionate river people for a walking tour from the communities who are working to protect its past, its current health and its future use for our city. Be led by tour facilitators from Yarra Pools and RBGV for a guided walk along its former course and hear about the history of the river, when it once flowed through the north end of what is now part of Melbourne Gardens.

Explore the hidden histories of the Birrarung in this guided tour of the river’s former course.


Yarra Pools – a community-led proposal to re-introduce recreation and water-play to the lower Yarra. Yarra Pools aims to bring people back to the river by advocating a swimmable and therefore healthy waterway all while celebrating a unique site’s cultural history by incorporating community involvement through design and ongoing operation.

Jakobi – Aboriginal Programs Facilitator, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Jakobi, a proud Djap Wurrung and Gunditjmara man, is an Aboriginal Learning Facilitator at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, where he works to share his story with visitors and foster an understanding of his culture, people and the land. Jakobi is passionate about his culture and climate justice, while exploring the solutions First Nations cultures have developed to manage their lands and waters.

Steven Liu – Team Leader, Landscape Systems, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Steven began working at Melbourne Garden as Assistant Curator, Environmental Horticulture with RBGM in 2008, moving to Team Leader, Landscape Systems in 2017. His team looks after Working Wetlands and lake systems, the storm water harvesting scheme and water treatment. This work also includes monitoring, verifying, and managing the water qualities across the Garden including water features in the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, irrigation system and blue green algae in all water bodies.

Presented by Yarra Pools, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.


Open Nature is part of Melbourne Design Week 2022, an initiative of the Victorian Government, Creative Victoria in collaboration with the NGV.

Images: [1] Jakobi, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Aboriginal Programs Facilitator. Photo: Mat Lynn. [2] Long Island, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne 2021. Photo: F Strong.

Important Details

Time & Date

Thursday 24 March 2022
5pm – 7pm
FREE, booking required


Gosch’s Paddock to Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Gosch’s Paddock, Olympic Bld, Melbourne

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