Wonga Park

Wonga Park
Yarra River, Wonga Park, September 2017 (author)

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Ths author is a Chartered Professional Engineer, providing specialized consultancy services in International Broadcasting Engineering. He is graduate of the Royal Melbourne Instiutute of Technology.and holds the rank of Member, Institution of Engineers Australia . he is a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for Services to Shortwave Radio, and was employed by the PMG's Dept/ATC/Telecom Australia from 1956 until 1997...

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Shepherd's Bush and Norton's Park, Vic






Shepherds Bush is a large natural sanctuary providing habitat for over 90 species of birds, 22 km east of the Melbourne CBD and is part of the very extensive Dandenong Valley Parklands.

Walking tracks and boardwalks meander through bushland and billabongs making the park an ideal spot for walking, sitting, bird watching and photography.

Shepherds Bush was designated as a water reserve from the early 1860's until at least the early 1900's. It was used as a watering place for locals and travelling stock. The area has never been privately owned and provides the best original creek vegetation in Dandenong Valley Parklands as it has never been cut for timber.

Shepherds Bush is a natural haven used by over 90 species of birds including a number of species listed as rare or uncommon. It is a favorite spot of the sacred kingfisher, a springtime visitor from the north, who sits in the trees and obtains its food by diving into the water for fish and yabbies and then returns to the branches to eat.

It is also an important habitat for a host of other native animals such bats, possums, frogs and reptiles. At night you may catch a glimpse of the elusive sugar glider gliding from tree to tree in search of dinner or the ringtail possum feeding on eucalyptus leaves. The brush tail possum can also be found at Shepherds Bush and is the largest native mammal to inhabit the park.

As a result of regular creek flooding and altered flow regimes, Shepherds Bush has a scattering of billabongs throughout. These billabongs provide habitat for a variety of frogs, reptiles, insects and invertebrates.

Shepherds Bush has swampy, riparian forest dominated by Yarra and manna gums, silver wattle, blackwood wattle and swamp paperbark. As the land is prone to flooding there is a good range of aquatic species in the area such as water plantain and tassel sedge. In the more elevated areas of Shepherds Bush you will see manna gums towering high above you. The Yarra gum is classified as endangered and there are only a few remaining stands in Victoria.

Merging with Shepherd's Bush is NORTON'S PARK.

This beautiful Park boasts rolling grassed lawns that give the park a definite European feel. The land was once an orchard, and still contains a number of remnant fruit trees that burst into bloom in springtime. It is a great place to picnic with friends or, for the more energetic, work out on the cross country running track.

The area of the present Nortons Park was predominantly orchard country. It was first selected by Thomas Blood in 1868, and stayed in his family until 1936.

The park was named after the Norton family who owned land in the area for 50 years from the early 1900's. The land served as a market garden and an apple and pear orchard and at one stage was used as a water reserve for drovers moving their stock through the country.

The park was opened in 1981 and covers approximately 35ha featuring shaded picnic areas, open grassy lawns and a playground and was primarily developed as a recreation park. It is landscaped with exotic vegetation species which gives it a different character to other parks in the Dandenong Valley.

The park attracts various bird species such as the cattle egret, white-faced heron and the pacific black duck that forage in the grasses and near the billabong for food. The rare great egret and sacred kingfisher are also seen in the billabong and flocks of common bronze winged pigeons are sometimes seen in and around the car park vegetation.

Nortons Park is home to many exotic species of tree such as large pine trees and remnant fruit trees.

I visited these Parks on October 13, 2007, exploring some 5 km of walking Trails.

The pictures of the trip are at Shepherd's Bush - Norton's Park Photo Album

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