The southern vehicle entrance to Koomba Park
|Location||Wantirna, Victoria, Australia|
(33 hectares open to public)
|Operated by||Parks Victoria|
|Status||Open all year|
Koomba Park is one of the parks comprising the Dandenong Valley Parklands in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. It consists of 92 hectares (230 acres), of which 33 hectares (82 acres) are publicly accessible, and is bounded by the Dandenong Creek, Boronia Road, EastLink, Mountain Highway and Burwood Highway in a clockwise direction. The park opened in December 1981.
Paths and trails
Both the Dandenong Creek Trail and the EastLink Trail both run through the park on the same primary north to south concrete path, before the trails split paths near the southern car park. All trails were originally of fine crushed gravel, but in mid-late 2007, the existing Dandenong Creek Trail was upgraded to 3 metre wide concrete from Boronia Road south to the former toilet block as part of the construction of EastLink. A new path of the same standard was constructed which leads further south to the Mountain Highway intersection with Burwood Highway, which forms part of the EastLink Trail, which opened in Mid 2008. The primary path exit at the north of the park leads under Boronia Road and continues to run alongside the Dandenong Creek while the southern path (the EastLink Trail) leads further along EastLink to the south and the south west path (the Dandenong Creek Trail) crosses the Dandenong Creek and meets the Burwood Highway in Vermont South, with this link being constructed as a raised boardwalk and opened in 1997. The boardwalk is currently closed for repairs and will reopen in October 2010.
There are also a series of official fine course gravel criss-crossing paths which are located in the park designed for walkers, although can be used by cyclists. These paths are usually very poorly maintained, with sections bumpy, narrow and even impassable due to overgrowth and fallen trees. A number of unofficial paths have also been created by visitors in the park.
A joint picnic shelter and toilet block (which was originally a football/cricket oval pavilion) existed in the park for some time but was demolished in mid-2008 due to numerous crime incidents (see crime section below). Electric barbecues were also removed at the same time. Information boards are located at the north and south pedestrian entrances to the park. A drinking fountain is also located at the junction of the Dandenong Creek and EastLink trails. The adjoining Wantirna Reserve, managed by Knox City Council and located at the southern end of the park features a sporting oval with an adjacent clubhouse and cricket nets which caters for Australian rules football and cricket, while the Wantirna Tennis Club clubhouse resides in the middle of ten private clay tennis courts. A scout hall and playground are also situated within the reserve. All facilities are accessed by dirt access roads with associated parking areas provided. The Victorian Jazz Archive is also located on the left side of the southern entrance to the park.
The park is known by locals and the police to be a meeting point for drug deals and gay sex, due to its remoteness from residential areas and densely wooded forests, especially at night. In 2006, the male toilets were permanently closed in a bid to curb gay sex meetings. In the middle of 2008, the entire toilet block/picnic shelter was demolished in a further bid to stop the meetings. On 7 May 2010 at approximately 1am, a drug deal in the park lead to the stabbing murder of a 41-year-old man from Dandenong.
- Anthony Dowsley (9 May 2010). "Dandenong man's body found in Koomba Park, Wantirna". Herald Sun. Retrieved 10 May 2010.