Wattle Park, Melbourne
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|Opened||31 March 1917|
|Operated by||Parks Victoria|
|Paths||Pedestrian and bicycle access throughout|
|Facilities||Toilets, barbecues, playground, golf course|
Wattle Park is a public park in Melbourne, Australia, located in the suburb of Burwood. It is known for its plantation of 12,000 wattle trees. It is currently maintained by Parks Victoria. The park provides public open space for recreation, as well as sporting facilities (accessed on a fee paying basis).
Location and facilities
Wattle Park is located in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood within the City of Whitehorse, approximately 13 km east of Melbourne's [Central business district|CBD]. Approximately one third of the park is recorded as a heritage place by Heritage Victoria and the National Trust of Australia has also classified the park. The "Lone Pine" is listed on the National Trust's Significant Tree Register, the seed having been grown from a Pine tree in Gallipoli, Turkey as a reminder of the ANZAC's involvement in WW1. There are two children's playgrounds, BBQ's, tables & seats. Two heritage 'W' Class trams offer shelter. Public toilets are located near Wattle Park Chalet on Monsborough Drive, the access road off Riversdale Road. There is a large grassed sports oval, a 9 hole Public golf course with cafe, and Public Tennis courts are available by booking. There are a number of walking tracks through the bush and a perimeter track. Dogs can be walked on lead.
Flora and fauna
The park contains areas of indigenous remnant bush land which has been identified as regionally significant. The Urban Fauna Survey Unit (Department of Conservation Forests and Lands, 1989) nominated the site as one of regional significance on the basis of its high diversity of common native fauna in a suburban environment.
There are 20 species of butterfly, at least 60 species of beetle, 3 species of frogs, bats, skinks, ringtail and brushtail possums. The park's bird life contains (among others) kookaburras, rosella, rainbow lorikeet, galahs and gang-gang cockatoo.
The park was first created when the Hawthorn Tramway Trust (HTT) purchased 137 acres (554,000 m²) of land from Mrs Eliza Welch, under the condition it was to be used as a public park. The park opened on 31 March 1917 when Sir Arthur Stanley planted a Golden Wattle and named the park.
Due to the HTT's financial troubles, further development of the park was put off for some time. After the HTT had been amalgamated into the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board, it was put off due to work on electrifying Melbourne's cable tramways. Planning and development of the park started in the 1920s and 30s, with a plantation of 12,000 wattle trees planted in between 1926 and 1928. A 9-hole golf course opened at Wattle Park in October 1937, with other facilities following later.
With the rise of popularity of motor cars in the 1960s and 70s, the MMTB (which was absorbed by the new Metropolitan Transit Authority in 1983) was focusing its attention elsewhere. Subsequently, local residents began to complain to the state government about the poor state of Wattle Park. In 1991, ownership of Wattle Park was passed from the Public Transport Corporation to the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, which undertook a program to rehabilitate the park's landscape.
Connection with trams
As Wattle Park, for most of its history, had been maintained by Melbourne's tram operators, it retains a connection with Melbourne's tramways. The Melbourne Tramways Band (sponsored by Yarra Trams) plays at Wattle Park once a month during spring and autumn. The bodies of two W2 class trams are used as shelters at Wattle Park, and it is the terminus of tram route 70.
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