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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Wandinong Bushland Sanctuary - Blackburn South

Photos of my visit of February 19, 2020.

Wandinong Sanctuary, is located in the suburb of Blackburn and comprises 2 hectares of remnant bushland fronting Canterbury Road and Romley St.

The original owners of the property planted trees with signage marking the names and birthdays of their 20 grandchildren.
The homestead, built in 1913, and outbuildings were demolished in the mid-1970s. The homestead stood near the large pine trees, at the end of the main pathway; commmorative plaques on a large granite boulder and an illustrated information board mark the actual site.

A new natural timber fence and gate have recently been constructed along the Canterbury Rd boundary. The info board has been replaced, sponsored by the Wandinong Sanctuary Advisory Committee. 

Each year, the descendants of the donors gather to celebrate the generosity of their forebears. 

Purchased by the Hooke family more than 100 years ago, it was gifted by them, Albert Arthur and Janet Emily Hooke, in 1973 to Whitehorse Council and to the community to be preserved "for all time as a sanctuary for native birds, wildflowers, native vegetation and as a place of public resort and passive recreation".

Entering the sanctuary from Windermere Court, Blackburn, the feeling is as though entering a secret garden. The lovely winding pathway wanders through dreamy bushland that evokes Impressionist landscapes and one might even imagine coming upon McCubbin, Condor or Streeton as they captured the beauty of the landscape.These artists took full advantage of such bushland settings in the 19th century and many of their famous works were painted in and around Blackburn.

Some evidence remains of where the original house stood and a plaque records the donation. The designation of sanctuary is an apt one as walking or strolling the paths it is easy to forget that such a peaceful place is part of a busy neighborhood.

This bushland setting is what the whole area once looked like before settlement and subdivision, and that increasingly these tranquil havens are more important than ever.

Native animals in this reserve are rare, mainly bush rats. As there are no creeks,
there is no access route for other animals!

The image (above) is a greatly magnified section of a 1945 aerial map, showing the Wandinong farm, north at top,  Canterbury Rd at bottom. Romley St has not yet been constructed  The homestead is at centre. Many of the present-day pathways were built in the 1970s (Whitehorse Historical Maps)

(Above) 2019 street plan (Whitehorse Maps)

1988 aerial view. Romley Rd had been formed, the homestead is in centre.

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