In 1835 the name ‘Merriburnong’ was given to a sheep run imposed upon the traditional land of the Marin balug, or salt-water-river people. Before a punt was installed near the junction of the Saltwater River with the Yarra at Footscray, a circuitous track from Melbourne to Williams Town and Geelong crossed the river at ‘Solomon’s Ford’. But where exactly was it, and who was Solomon?
Rick Keam has sought answers by walking the riverbank and re-examining contemporary documents and historic photos. His fresh account of the Solomon era is placed in a wider context, from Charles Grimes’ 1803 exploration, through the degradation of the river as an urban-industrial drain, to its renaming and rehabilitation as today’s Maribyrnong.