Bolin Bolin Billabong

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Manna Gum sculpture by Simon Horsburgh. This sculpture (pictured above), inspired by eucalypt blossoms, marks the start of the Bolin Bolin Cultural Landscape Trail. This trail passes through an area which was an important gathering place for the local Wurundjeri people, due to its seasonal abundance of food. They frequented the area when the billabongs were low and the eucalypts flowering and they collect the nectar. The indigenous flora was highly significant for the Wurundjeri, who were also known as the Manna Gum People. It was commissioned by the Bolin Bolin Steering Committee, funded by the City of Manningham and made with recycled materials donated by Bulleen Art & Garden. The launch of this sculpture was held next to the sculpture in Bulleen Park on 5th May, 2004. Lesley Always, Director of Heide MOMA was be the special guest and Cr John Bruce officiated.

About Bolin Bolin

The Bolin Bolin Cultural Landscape Precinct is part of the “Valley of the Arts”, which derives its identity from its arts and cultural heritage. Places of interest include Heide MOMA, Banksia Park, Bulleen Art and Garden, the Bolin Bolin Billabong, the Veneto Club and Bulleen Park. The proposed Bolin Bolin Cultural Landscape Trail weaves its way through bushland and a series of billabongs across the Yarra from the Artists Trail, acting as a link for the area. The Bolin Bolin Precinct can be developed to have an ecotourism identity, with its high environmental and cultural significance in a suburban area so close to the city. This is a community project designed to give an identity to, promote, protect and enhance the precinct. It has been led by a steering committee with representatives from Parks Victoria, the City of Manningham, Heide MOMA and Bulleen Art & Garden with input from others such as Melbourne Water, the Veneto Club, the Kulin Nation. The launch of this project has been planned to increase interest and local involvement in the area.


This area of the Yarra is an area of inspirational natural beauty and ecological complexity encompassing wetlands and wooded areas next to the Yarra River. It is a tranquil and secluded contrast to surrounding suburbia. There are still many significant stands of plants indigenous to the area as well as exotic plantings reflecting the European influence. However, there is also significant weed growth. Weed control and revegetation are an integral part of the Bolin Bolin project. Significant inroads have already been made into controlling weed species in the area by Parks Victoria, Bulleen Art & Garden, Melbourne Water and the City of Manningham, but an ongoing program is needed. Indigenous plantings and distinctive interpretative signage with a strong environmental message is proposed.

Proposed Bolin Bolin Cultural Landscape Trail

Currently it is possible to walk along most of the riverbank between Heide MOMA and Bulleen Park. Part of the Bolin Bolin project is to improve access to and promote this low key trai linking the area.

Cultural Significance

The Bolin Bolin billabong has long been an important site as it was a meeting place for the Kulin Nation and has considerable significance to the Wurundjeri history. Projects around the Bolin Bolin Billabong will be proposed to celebrate and educate about aboriginal culture. A proposed indigenous food plant garden at the rear of Bulleen Art & Garden, will help describe the aboriginal relationship to the land and its natural vegetation. Other ethnic communities, such as Italian, Chinese and Greek are well represented in the area.

Arts in the Bolin Bolin Precinct

Heide Museum of Modern Art. The site of some of the most important developments in Australian art this century, and the gathering place of the ‘angry penguins’, including Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester and Albert Tucker. Major redevelopments of Heide MOMA and Banksia Park are important on a national, state, regional and local level, extending attractions including galleries, restaurant and auditorium; sculptures and landscape treatments

The Heidelberg School area is where the first significant Australian art movement started. The Heidelberg School Artists Trail is directly across the Yarra. Bulleen Art & Garden has a 3D mural and gallery, with further plans.

Contemporary and Community Art & Craft. There is a continuing tradition of artistic endeavour in the area. It is hoped to feature local arts, and involve the local community along the trail.

Current Projects in the Bolin Bolin Precinct

  • Planning
  • Development of map of the area.
  • Weed control & canopy planting along the trail.
  • Indigenous Gardens at rear of Bulleen Art & Garden.

Future Projects for the Bolin Bolin Precinct.

The Bolin Bolin Cultural landscape Trail is at the stage of involving the wider community. There is an opportunity to undertake new projects with business and community sponsorship, government grants and community involvement.

  • Upgrade of trail and new boardwalk over Billabong at rear of Bulleen Art & Garden
  • Informative and educational Signage.
  • Trail upgrades
  • Viewing platforms near river.
  • Weed control & revegetation.
  • Silver Wattle stand
  • Distinctive entrances and seats.
  • Banksia stand
  • Indigenous food Garden adjoining Bulleen Art & Garden
  • Culverts for drainage.
  • Small side foot tracks off main trail.
  • Information/plantings representative of cultural groups
  • Sculptures
  • Community arts projects.