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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Woodlands Historic Park History

Out past Melbourne Airport in the western suburbs of Melbourne is a special piece of history that not many people know about, It's called Woodlands Historic Park. Woodlands is only 22 km from the city, just north of the Melbourne Airport. Follow the Tullamarine Freeway and turn right into Oaklands Road (Melways 177 H9) or walk from the Somerton Road Picnic Area (Melways 178 B6) or Weeroona Aboriginal Cemetery/ Providence Road Car Park (Melways F10 ).
  It’s a unique place that combines a rare piece of European settlement with a retirement community for ex-racehorses, and is a lovely way to spend an afternoon! The Woodlands homestead is a grand old house from the 1840’s. It was built for an Irish Royal Navy officer who migrated to Australia with his family in search of a healthier climate. It’s also a rare example of an early prefabricated home, meaning it was partly or entirely pre-assembled, in this case in Britain, before being delivered to the site. 
There are many historical relics scattered throughout the park, Cumberland Ruins and Dundonald Ruins both are old houses back from the 19th century. Not much is left of these two however but is still a great insight into the old way of life.
Woodlands Historic Park is an important conservation and recreation resource on the north-western fringe of Melbourne’s metropolitan area and forms an important part of the region’s network of parks.
The Park, established in the 1970s, contains a landscape that has changed little since pioneering pastoral settlement in the 1840s. The Park contains areas of little-disturbed grassy woodland vegetation that provides habitat for the recently re-introduced Eastern Grey Kangaroo and Eastern Barred Bandicoot.
The Park has significant cultural and natural values that have endured time despite changes resulting from Melbourne’s urban expansion. In the future, it is likely to become an ‘island of open space’ adjacent to residential development. As it is the only significant area of natural vegetation between Melbourne and the forests of the Macedon Range, the Park will become increasingly important in maintaining regional biodiversity.
The diversity of vegetation arises from the intersection of basalt and granodiorite and the presence of the Moonee Ponds Creek, which flows for approximately eight kilometres along the northern, western and southern boundaries. The granodiorite flora exhibits an unusual mixture of Eucalypt species including Yellow Box, Manna Gum, Grey Box and River Red Gum, as well as Drooping Sheoke. The remnant Grey Box and River Red Gum woodland has for the most part been retained. A 400 ha section of the park, the 'Back Paddock', was fenced in 1987 as a nature reserve to protect native wildlife from dogs, cats and foxes. The endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot was re-established here in 1988 and this colony is playing a major role in securing the species' future. Sightings of Eastern Grey Kangaroos are a certainty; you may also see echidnas, skinks and Eastern Blue-tongue lizards basking in the sun as well as brown snakes.
However the main reason for this blog is to promote the unbelievable variety of bird species so in following blogs all thing birds will be discussed..... 

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