Prior to European settlement, the Creeklands would have sustained a rich and varied mixture of vegetation and wildlife.
The larger Eucalyptus and Acacias would have dominated the upper storey, supported by dense thickets of Swamp Paperbark and Bursaria. The ground storey would have featured native grasses, creepers and wildflowers, with reeds and rushes alongside the creek and wetlands.
The significant removal of vegetation began with the tree cutting, charcoal burning, mixed farming and grazing activities of the district’s early settlers. Orchards dominated the district after the turn of the century, followed by residential subdivision after World War 2.
In 1941, the City of Nunawading purchased Furness Park so as to preserve native plants and wildflowers. The block on which the oval is located in Kalang Park was acquired in 1966, followed by Black’s Walk in 1967.
The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works undertook extensive drainage works along the central, most flood-prone section of the creek between 1955 and 1975.
The Up the Creek! Campaign and the Committees
During the early 1980s, local residents formed the Blackburn Creek Conservation Group and ran its Up the Creek! campaign for the acquisition of all the land along the creek between Pakenham and Main Streets not required for further works. The land was subsequently purchased by the City of Nunawading in 1983, creating a continuous stretch of public open space. This page presents a map covering when the pieces of the park were purchased in more detail.
Since 1984, an Advisory Committee, consisting of local residents appointed by Council, has acted as a consultative and support body. The aim of the Committee is “to develop and maintain the reserve as a linear park, enhancing its natural assets and promoting its diverse recreational opportunities”.
The first major plant-up of the area occurred under Project Regeneration in 1986-1987 using indigenous plants. Council, Melbourne Water and community volunteers coordinated by the Advisory Committee have continued improving the park as a Bushland Reserve ever since.
Originally published in 1987, this scanned monograph from our archives written by former Malcolm Street resident, teacher and historian Mr Os Green has links to the Creeklands campaign – but also covers interesting facets of the residential development of Malcolm Street and Sheehans Road from the mid 1950s – together with material on the earlier settlement of the area by orchardists.
Surrounding Property Development
Because our park has to rely on neighbouring properties for its effectiveness, it is appropriate for us to also review the history of surrounding property development. This theme is explored further here.
The following document gives a detailed chronology of the development and recreational uses of the Creeklands: Blackburn Creeklands Chronology .
Other Items of Our History
Other interesting facts about our park:
- There was a Baseball diamond at Kalang Reserve.
- There was an Open-air School adjacent to Furness park in Gardenia Street.
- Prior to the advent of our Web News, the Blackburn Creeklands shared a biannual newsletter with our sister bushland park – the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary. This page contains links to older issues.