This little creek like much of the district through which it runs has seen quite a bit of history. Prior to European settlement, the area through which Bruce's Creek runs formed part of the land belonging to the Wathaurong, who used the stream bed as pathway to guide them to the Barwon.
|Bruce's Creek where it crosses the Hamilton Highway and "flows" west before|
joining the Barwon River near Murgheboluc
Bruce was the second European to occupy the land, the first having been George Russell who held the land in the name of the Clyde company as part of his Golf Hill Station, but resided some distance away at Shelford (then known as Leigh) on the Leigh River.
Prior to the town's development the area was known either as Leigh Road (the name given to the railway station which opened there on the Geelong-Ballarat railway line in 1863) or simply as Bruce's Creek. In these earliest days, there was no bridge, just a collection of the readily-available basalt rocks piled across the creek to form a fording point. The ford still exists and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Database, but with little additional information, I am unsure if this was a public vehicle crossing point however, early maps do not seem to indicate that it was ever part of the route of the Lower Leigh Road of the 1850s between Bannockburn and the Leigh.
|Historic crossing on Bruce's Creek near Bannockburn|
|Bruce's Creek ford|
|The ford and track leading over the hill towards Bannockburn|
|Pilloud's Bridge across Bruce's Creek, Bannockburn|
As with much of the country, European settlement caused significant change to the immediate environment of Bruce's Creek. The area through which the creek runs is part of the Victorian volcanic plain region, categorised today as lying within the Leigh Landscape Zone. This particular area is flat and rocky and before European arrival, would have been a lightly-wooded, grassy plain. Since then, significant clearing of the ever-present rocks and trees to enable grazing and farming, has given much of the landscape surrounding the creek quite a barren look and in many places there are few or no trees along the creek at all.
The other significant factor influencing the appearance of the creek was the construction from 1858 of the Geelong-Ballarat railway line. In order to provide access for vehicles carrying bluestone from the quarry at Lethbridge to the railway works, a small bridge - also of bluestone - was built across Bruce's Creek on Russell Street in the township.
|Bridge over Bruce's Creek, Russell St, Lethbridge|
In the 1970s when diesel had replaced steam, the council purchased the reservoir which was developed into a lake and picnic area and is now home to a variety of birdlife.
As mentioned in an earlier post - Walking the line - the railways built a second bridge across Bruce's Creek, between Lethbridge and Bannockburn, known to locals as the Lower Camp Bridge after the workers who camped at that point as they worked on the line.
|The "Lower Camp Bridge"|
Looking to the future, the Golden Plains Shire and its landholders are acting to improve the health of this little waterway, preserving and enhancing remnant vegetation and developing plans for the future management and use of the creek and its surrounds.