Have you discovered South Surrey Park yet? – Ursula Povey
Since our COVID-19 restrictions began, lots of other people have discovered South Surrey Park, a linear park following Back Creek from Riversdale Road to Union Road. It has been a favourite spot for walking and exercising the dog and the children in this time of lockdown. You can play football on the open spaces, sit under shady oaks, explore the rocky creek, or just meander through the bush. As you explore the park you will hear an ever-increasing number of birds who appreciate our tall trees and sheltering bushes.
There is a self-guided walk produced by the Friends of South Surrey Park which could make your visit just a bit different. It can be found on the Friends of South Surrey Park website: www.southsurreypark.org/p/blog-page. html There is also a QR code to the website on the noticeboard in the park. On our website you can read our email newsletters and find out more about the park.
There have been many changes since the area was named South Surrey Park in 1936. Prior to that time, it had been farmland and photographs of the opening of the big bridge in 1936 show a bare and eroded creek with open paddocks close by, with houses around the periphery. Four poplar trees were planted at each end of the bridge, two of which are still there. An elderly neighbour once told me of how they used to meet beside the creek, light fires, and roast potatoes. Later it became very overgrown; with willows, cherry plums, tradescantia, ivy, and blackberries choking the creek as you can see in the image at left.
This year, the Friends of South Surrey Park will be holding our twenty-fifth Annual General Meeting. The group was formed to return the park to valley grass forest, with indigenous trees, shrubs, and plants. There is an enormous yellow box eucalypt which is a remnant tree, and a very old Bursaria which must have been there for many years.
We are proud of the work that has been done and we love seeing the delight in people’s faces, especially those who did not know this gem existed in Surrey Hills. During our time working in the park, we have replaced the blackberries, tradescantia and cherry plum trees, to name just a few introduced weeds, with such things as native grasses, shrubs, and flowers such as Australian bluebells, everlastings, and trees such as river red gums and Bursarias. The photograph is of the sunlit, revegetated creek.
Ursula Povey lives in Surrey Hills
First published in September 2020 edition of Eastsider News