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Local History: St James Park

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Local History: St James Park

Originally owned by the Wurundjeri people, the banks of the Yarra River provided abundant seasonal resources which supported a population which has been estimated at over 15,000 people.

Robert Hoddle, the colonial surveyor, gave the area the name Boroondara when he conducted his survey in 1837. He believed this was the name given to the locality by the local inhabitants which he translated as meaning "where the ground is thickly shaded".

First known as the Government Reserve, St James Park was established as a communal site for cattle grazing and trade. Land in Boroondara was first sold in 1843 and the first homes were built from 1846. Sir James Palmer sold the land on which our vineyard is located to George Coppin who subdivided the land and sold off individual lots. Gwen McWilliam in her "Hawthorn Peppercorns" (1978) notes that the area was "....sufficiently removed from the dust and turmoil of the city to give rest to the tired brain and relief from the cares of business." This remains true today in the areas bounded by the Yarra River, Burwood Road and Yarra Street.

Our vineyard continues a long tradition of agriculture in the area. Early photographs show market gardens flourishing on our site. The label on our bottles acknowledges the vineyard's location beside the railway bridge which first carried passengers across the Yarra in the 1860's. The label depicts the bluestone pillars of the bridge and the contents of the bottle offer not only "rest and relief", but indeed a delicious accompaniment to any celebration.