Yarra River

river in Victoria, Australia

The Yarra River is also known as the Yarra Yarra River, Aboriginal: Berrern, Birr-arrung, Bay-ray-rung, Birarang.[4] Birrarung,[5] and Wongete). The Yarra River is a perennial river in east-central Victoria, Australia. The river flows from its source in the Yarra Ranges 242 kilometres (150 mi) west through the Yarra Valley. The river opens out into plains as it winds its way through Greater Melbourne. It then empties into Hobsons Bay in northernmost Port Phillip.

The Yarra River through Pound Bend near Warrandyte.
Yarra River is located in Victoria
Yarra River
Location of the mouth of the Yarra River in Victoria
EtymologyBunwurrung (Indigenous Australian): Yarro-yarro, "ever-flowing"[1]
Nickname(s)The Yarra
RegionSouth Eastern Highlands (IBRA), Central Victoria
LGACity of Hobsons Bay
City of Port Phillip
City of Melbourne
City of Yarra
City of Darebin
City of Boroondara
City of Banyule
City of Manningham
Shire of Nillumbik
Yarra Ranges Shire
Physical characteristics
SourceYarra Ranges, Great Dividing Range
 - locationwithin Yarra Ranges National Park
 - coordinates37°44′57″S 146°8′26″E / 37.74917°S 146.14056°E / -37.74917; 146.14056
 - elevation792 m (2,598 ft)
MouthHobsons Bay, Port Phillip
 - locationnear the suburb of Port Melbourne
 - coordinates37°51′7″S 144°54′30″E / 37.85194°S 144.90833°E / -37.85194; 144.90833
 - elevation0 m (0 ft)
Length242 km (150 mi)
Basin size4,078 km2 (1,575 sq mi)50%
 - locationmouth
 - average37 m3/s (1,300 cu ft/s)
Basin features
River systemPort Phillip and Western Port catchment
 - leftMaribyrnong River, Moonee Ponds Creek, Merri Creek, Darebin Creek, Plenty River, Diamond Creek, Steeles Creek, Watts River, Badger Creek, Don River, Cement Creek, O'Shannassy River
 - rightGardiners Creek, Glass Creek, Koonung Creek, Mullum Mullum Creek, Jumping Creek, Olinda Creek, Woori Yallock Creek, Hoddles Creek, Little Yarra River, Starvation Creek
National parkYarra Ranges NP, Royal Botanic Gardens

The river was a major food source for indigenous Australians during prehistoric times. It also served as a meeting place during those times. The river was first called Birrarung by the Wurundjeri. The current name was translated wrong from another Wurundjeri term in the Boonwurrung language; Yarro-yarro, meaning "ever-flowing".

The river was used for agriculture by early European settlers. The landscape of the river has changed since 1835. The course of the river has been changed and widened in places. Widening and dams, like the Upper Yarra Reservoir have helped protect Melbourne from major flooding. Industrialisation led to the destruction of the marshlands at the joining of the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers in the area around Coode Island in West Melbourne. The yearly Moomba festival celebrates the Yarra River's meaning to Melbourne.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Yarra River: 30146: Historical Information". Vicnames. Government of Victoria. 2 May 1966. Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  2. "Yarra River: 30146". Vicnames. Government of Victoria. 2 May 1966. Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  3. "Map of Yarra River, VIC". Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  4. "BYGONE DAYS". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956). Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia. 15 July 1939. p. 13. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  5. Eidelson, Meyer (1997). The Melbourne Dreaming. A Guide to the Aboriginal Places of Melbourne (Reprint 2000 ed.). Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press. pp. 14–17. ISBN 0-85575-306-4.

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