Don Valley is located north of Launching, formed by two spurs from the northern ranges. Its heavily timbered slopes were opened up for farming around the early 1900s, but the area closer to the flatter ground where the Don River meets the Yarra River proved to be better for settlement.
John and Catherine Ewart’s (from Home Hotel in Launching Place) son David and his wife Annie, selected land at the foot of Mt. Toole-BeWong, on the east side of the Yarra, and became the first white settlers in the Don Valley. They named their property Glenewart. The Crown Land surveyors report noted the country as “steep and rangy”, the soil “rich and chocolate” and the vegetation “mountain ash, messmate, blackwood, hazel and musk, apple tree scrub and ferntrees.”
The rich rural area reaches up into Don Valley, which provides wonderful scenery, being surrounded by mountainous scrubby country and heavy timber. Launching Place, Hoddles Creek and Don Valley are sprinkled with residential blocks but are principally farming areas with dairy, beef, orchards and market gardens.
Haining Farm is a former dairy farm that has been transformed into a new public park providing essential conservation for two of Victoria’s most threatened species: the Lowland Leadbeater’s Possum and Helmeted Honeyeater. Walking tracks wind throughout the site with lovely glimpses of both the Don and Yarra Rivers. A ClimateWatch Trail takes you on an adventure to discover and record what plants and animals you see. Open grass areas are perfect for picnics and children can witness nature in action as this former dairy farm transforms into precious habitat.
The WHYLD Community Group is working to form a connected community for this part of the valley. WHYLD is an acronym for the towns of Woori Yallock, Hoddles Creek, Yellingbo, Launching Place and Don Valley.
‘Don Valley’, Victorian Places, 2014, accessed on 24/10/2021
“The Upper Yarra: An Illustrated History” by Brian Carroll 1988