Keilor Historical Society Inc.1990
Highlights which exemplify the features of Keilor Region.

The Keilor Cranium

Extract from a Keilor Historical Society Newsletter
Sept/Oct. 1992

Photo left: sheep grazing in Keilor.
In 1940 a fossil human skull was uncovered by James White as he worked with a pick in the Hughes Soil Pit, a small quarry where Dry Creek meets the Maribyrnong River in Keilor. The skull was found in the yellowish silt of an ancient terrace, with the mandible and a part of each zygomatic arch of the right temporal bone and part of the occipital bone missing.  James White’s pick had penetrated the skull of a middle-aged aborigine now known as the Keilor Skull, but more accurately called the Keilor Cranium as no mandible was associated with it.  The skull was placed in the National Museum, Melbourne. It appears that the cranium had been worn by the river before being interred in its resting place in the quarry - about 15 feet below the surface of the ground and 18 inches above the floor of the pit.

Radiocarbon dating of charcoal taken from hearths at the Dry Creek site suggest that there was Aboriginal occupation in the area as long as 40,000 years ago. Keilor is one of the oldest sites of recorded human habitation in Australia…Some of the fauna which inhabited the Maribyrnong River Valley around Keilor during the latter stages of the Ice Age.

- measuring 2 metres high and 3 metres in length, it is believed to be the largest marsupial ever to have lived.

- also known as the marsupial lion. This animal, the size of a leopard had three pairs of upper incisors which formed a powerful set of large pincers. There has been much conjecture as to whether this animal was carnivorous or herbivorous. Its premolar teeth being 4-5 cm. Long. This animal is similar to the Common Brushtail Possum.

Palorchestes Azael
- In 1988 the jawbone of a palorchestes azael, an animal the size of a bull was found during trench excavations at Horseshoe Bend in Keilor. The animals massive forelegs were equipped with 12 cm. Long razor sharp claws whilst its strange head was equipped with a trunk.

- also known as the short-faced kangaroo, these animals had forward-pointing eyes, shortened faces and heavily enamelled molars. Their hindlegs were very unusual with the elongated feet possessing a single large toe, which ended in a hoof-like nail.  These animals and many others, such as rats, wallabies, bandicoots, freshwater shellfish, possums, echidnas, swans, bush turkeys, along with different plants, including the daisy yam, provided a rich harvest for the Aboriginal people who lived in the area.

Keilor has evolved, in respect to European history, over four distinct stages:- Pastoral acquisition 1835 - 1850, Gold Rush Period - 1850s,  Market Garden Developments - 1860s - 1950s and then Suburbanisation from the 1950s onwards.