pipes formation in the Organ Pipes
Keilor (including the Organ Pipes National
Old coach stop with historical links, now a
suburb of Melbourne
Keilor is a city and suburb at the north-western
edge of metropolitan Melbourne, 21 km from the
city centre via the Calder Highway. It is
essentially a residential area with large
industrial developments in adjacent suburbs.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the area
was occupied by the Woiwurung Aborigines. The
first white settlers took up land in the area in
1836 and the settlement emerged in the early
1850s as the first stopover for coaches bound
for the new goldfields of Ballarat, Castlemaine
and Bendigo. It is named after a Scottish town -
'keilor' being a Gaelic word for 'plenty'.
Keilor subsequently became an agricultural
district until after World War II when new
industries began to emerge and the population
ascended rapidly. It was declared a shire in
1958 and a city in 1961.
Important archaeological finds were located
in a sandpit along the Maribyrnong River when a
prehistoric skull was accidentally uncovered in
1940. Later carbon-dated at 13 000 years old, it
was the oldest bone fragment found in Australia
until the discoveries at Lake Mungo. A
contemporaneous femur was uncovered in the early
1950s and stone artefacts have also been
uncovered, made of quartz, quartzite and chert.
These have been dated at between 20 000 and 40
000 years. The bones of extinct megafauna have
also been found at a deeper level.
Another excavation site, 2 km south of Keilor
in the Maribyrnong Valley Area, yielded the
remains of a human burial, along with stone
implements, presumed hearths and faunal remains.
Things to see:
St Augustine's Roman Catholic Church
St Augustine's Roman Catholic Church is one of
the oldest surviving churches in the district.
Built c.1858 to replace an earlier timber
building, it is a Gothic Revival bluestone
structure with an octagonal tower capped by a
small spire on a belfry. The doorways, windows,
buttresses and detailing are of note. It is
located adjacent the highway.
Keilor's oldest building is 'Overnewton'
homestead. The one-storey section was built
c.1849 and is supported by a verandah on timber
columns. The two-storey section was erected in
1859 with stuccoed walls, roof turrets of
patterned slate and stepped gables. Nearby is a
single-storey gatehouse (also 1859). These
buildings were conceived in the style of a
Scottish country house by Scottish pastoralist
William Taylor. The panelled interior of the
billiards room was constructed by Scottish
craftsmen. It is located on the old Calder
Box Girder Bridge
The wrought-iron box girder bridge over the
Maribyrnong River was erected on bluestone
abutments in 1868 to replace the 1854 original.
It was modified in 1963 but is a substantial
span which has survived well and it is a
prominent feature of the townscape.
The entry road into Brimbank Park departs from
Keilor Park Drive at East Keilor. This reserve
of red-gum woodlands and open grasslands is
situated at the foot of the substantial basalt
banks of the Maribyrnong River. There is a
visitors' centre, walking and cycling trails, a
picnic area with toilets, a playground,
barbecues and conference facilities. For cars,
entry into the park is from 8.30 a.m. to 5.00
p.m., extending to 8.00 p.m. during daylight
savings. The exit gates do not close so cars
which have entered before closing time can get
out at any stage. Pedestrian access is
unlimited, tel: (03) 9336 3911.
Horseshoe Bend Farm
Horseshoe Bend Children's Farm offers children
the opportunity to interact with farm animals in
an authentic farm setting. There is a cottage
with tearooms, farm outbuildings, a picnic area
with toilets, disabled facilities and parking.
Pony rides are offered on weekends. It is open
daily from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. and there is
an open day every third Sunday of the month, tel:
(03) 9336 3911. The farm is located in Horseshoe
Bend Rd. To get there turn off Keilor Park Drive
into the old Calder Highway then into Bonfield
St which provides access to Horseshoe Bend Rd.
Rosehill Park is a recreational area on Rosehill
Rd at East Keilor. There is a picnic area with
barbecue, parking, toilet and playground
pipes formation in the Organ Pipes
Organ Pipes National Park
The entry road into Organ Pipes National Park
(85 ha) heads east off the Calder Highway 8 km
to the north-west of Keilor. It leads to a
picnic area with toilets.
People visit the National Park to go
bushwalking and to inspect the extraordinary
formation known as the Organ pipes. These pipes
are actually columns of volcanic basalt and are
located near Jacksons Creek. They were formed
approximately one million years ago when lava,
which had flowed into the valley from
surrounding volcanoes, started cooling. It
naturally took the form of hexagonal columns.
The park also has other interesting volcanic
formations including the 'Rosette Rock' and the
'Tessellated Pavement'. The latter was formed
when some of the basalt columns were levelled by
Rock in the Organ Pipes N.P.
Fossils in the park's sedimentary rock date
back 400 million years, indicating that the sea
once covered this land. The heavy clay soils
produced by the basalt have cultivated remnant
areas of grassland which were once common on the
western plains but are now rare owing to grazing
and agriculture. In fact early European settlers
drastically changed much of the landscape in the
park but, thanks to the Friends Group, it is now
considered one of the best examples of a
restored landscape in Australia.
Flora in the park includes wallaby grass,
variable spear grass, river red gum along the
creek's banks, and acacias such as silver
wattle, lightwood and bloodwoods, tel: 131 963.