Courtney is a freelance fashion, art and design writer and content creator for www.mrgift.com.au - an online boutique specialising in quality gifts for men. Read more of Courtney’s work at www.alittlepinkbook.blogspot.com.au
Published February 5th 2011
Brimbank Park is located in the Maribyrnong Valley near Keilor East and is accessible by road (from Keilor Park Drive, off the Western Ring Road) or via the trail along the Maribyrnong River. This extensive park has numerous BBQs, picnic areas, walking/bike trials, playgrounds and even a café. On a warm summer day Brimbank Park is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or BBQ with family and friends.
Although the park was opened in 1976, the area has a rich history that spans thousands of years. Europeans settled the area during the 1830s, originally using the land for farming. The name 'Brimbank' originates from the practice of watering stock by driving them 'around the brim of the bank'. Numerous market gardens were also planted on man-made terraces adjacent to the river, taking advantage of the rich soil from the river flats.
Aboriginal history in the area extends back 30,000 years and evidence of human habitation in the Keilor area is amongst the oldest to be discovered in Australia so far. For more information on the Keilor area, the Keilor Historical Society website is an excellent source.
Brimbank Park and the surrounding area has experienced high rainfall over the last couple of months, so the park is currently a lush scene of beauty. The river is flowing quite swiftly, and can be deep in some places, so care must be taken in and around the water, particularly in flood-swollen areas where there may be underlying snags.
The combination of vast, flourishing bushland and an abundance of water make this area a haven for wildlife, including a variety of birds as well as brush-tail and ring-tail possums. Look out for numerous species of waterbirds, an assortment of parrots, Blue wrens, Flame Robins and Yellow-tailed Thornbills. The magnificent river red gums that line the riverbank can live for hundreds of years, their sweeping branches providing a home for many species of animals. Parks Victoria has produced some informative park notes on a suggested Nature Trail that can be followed through the park, giving you the best chance of spotting some of the above wildlife, as well as information on Brimbank Park itself.
The Leaping Lizard Café is located towards the north side of the park and offers a variety of scrumptious snacks and meals daily. Toasted sandwiches start from about $4, with more substantial meals like beef lasagne, quiche and filo parcels with a mixed salad sitting around the $8 mark – excellent value for fresh, wholesome fare. Biscuits, cakes, muffins and ice creams are also available for those with a sweet tooth or as the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee. Staff are friendly and helpful and there is amble (air conditioned) seating inside or out.
We used to ride the billy cart in Brimbank Park, in preparation for our annual Billy Cart Derby. Oh, the good old days; it was so much fun. With all the rain we've had lately I suppose Brimbank Park will be a lot greener compared to the other times I've seen it - dry and withered. I haven't been there since about early 2007, but frequently travel past it. That same year I knew of someone who flew over it when coming back from Sydney. She said it looked brown from above because of the drought.
By Matthew - senior reviewer Tuesday, 8th of February @ 03:09 am