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Monday, April 02, 2007

Churchill National Park

Churchill National Park at Rowville in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs, 30 km from the city, is a remnant of natural bush and an example of the original landscape before clearing and settlement. Although most of the park is open regrowth woodland, there are small areas of original forest. Apart from the access road, there are no other vehicle tracks.

The area that is now the park was part of the lands of the Bunurong Aboriginal people. Today members of the Wurundjeri community of Melbourne are involved in park management and recovering Aboriginal heritage.

Following the establishment of Melbourne as a European settlement in 1835, the park area became the police corps headquarters for the Native Police in 1837. Later used as grazing land for police horses, it was known for many years as the Police Paddocks.

In the 1920s urban development finally brought some changes. Local stone was quarried for road metal and building material, a water supply channel was dug to Dandenong and the State Electricity Commission acquired a powerline easement. Fire and clearing of some areas also took their toll.

In 1941 the area was declared Dandenong National Park, later renamed Churchill National Park (after Sir Winston Churchill) in 1944.

I visited the Park on April 1, 2007, where I did a 5 km walk, along the Kangaroo, Ridge, and Nature Tracks.

The huge electrical power lines and towers dissect the Park, and high-density residential development is now apparent right up to the Park perimeter.

Despite those disgusting and obnoxious visual intrusions, this very large Park has many intereresting natural features, including mobs of Eastern Grey Kangaroos!

The photo album is at!articles/327170/index.html

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