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Melbourne Parks

Amazing Bush Parks Around Melbourne, Westgate Park 

(This is first of a series of notes on the National Landcare Conference in Melbourne in Sept. 2014.)

 

Tucked into corners of the city are some wonderful pieces of bush which are worth a visit.

Most are areas of wasteland or quarries which have been restored to indigenous bush and support a vibrant wildlife community.

They are cared for by groups of locals who welcome visitors.

The most obvious is Westgate Park, seen as you cross the bridge and entered from Lorimer St.

 

This is reclaimed from a mix of bridge construction debris, Harbour Authority reclamation, Utilities easements and drainage lines, and repossessed industrial land.

A historic mess has been planned and landscaped into an Eden.

The park features areas of fresh and saline wet areas, fresh and saline lakes with associated bird life, and a range of forest types from heathland to sheltered bush.

An on-site nursery run by the Friends produces half of the annual planting of 20,000.

153 species of birds have been seen to date.

 

The website is very professional and offers a complete list of wildlife which calls the park home.

The calendars for works, volunteers and public events means that there is always a reason to visit.

 

The area is now controlled by Parks Vic and managed by the Westgate Park Friends Group.

Work is done by the Friends, Green Army, Conservation Volunteers, and Corporate team building groups. Details are on their attractive website http://www.westgatepark.org/

 

Other friends groups can learn from their ability to work with public authorities and provide a useful outlet for large corporate bodies to run team building tree planting events.

 

Newport Lakes Park

The Newport Lakes Park is built around several lakes which were formed by bluestone quarrying until the 1970s. Intense negotiations and public lobbying decided which of the holes were landfill and housing, and which were restored to lakes and forest.

 

The area is now owned by Hobson's Bay Council and managed by Friends of Newport Lakes.

The website www.friendsofnewportlakes.com includes a good history with before and after photos.

The bird list breaks down cumulative sightings to common, uncommon, breeding, migratory. (175 to date).

Friends and local schools are involved in planting, artwork, constructing trails and bird hides.

There is an on site nursery which provides many of the plants and sells to the public.