Watch the ducks and geese upon the lake, picnic, attend a festival, explore the cleverly themed playgrounds, stroll quietly among the tall trees, take a look back into the past or create a challenging workout for yourself. It's all available at Coburg Lake Reserve, Lake Grove, Coburg.
ANZAC avenue planted in 1919
Positioned on the outer edge of what is one of Melbourne oldest suburbs, the reserve is bordered by Sydney Road, Newlands Road and Gaffney Street. The busy thoroughfares attract such heavy traffic, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Coburg Lake Reserve is a token land space, shunted into what is essentially an industrial area. It is not.
Instead, since 1915, it has been important recreational centre for the local community. It's where the light ripple of the Merri Creek flows downstream and fills the lake bowl. Upon wandering down into the depths of the grounds, the roads are left far behind. In the park people picnic, push prams, hold big family gatherings and teach their children to ride bikes. Before it was disallowed, swimming too was a common leisure activity.
Prior to becoming a reserve, the site had its history as a bluestone quarry where Melbourne prisoners of the early 1900's were forced into hard labour, digging out the rocks. Many of those were used for the construction of nearby Pentridge Prison (active until 1999). In the reserve, one wall of semi-quarried stone has been left exposed to demonstrates the park's former purpose.
A weeping willow
Since the removal of some of its overgrown trees and shrubbery, the park has become more open to sunlight and lost the seedy reputation it suffered during recent years. The upgraded landscaping now highlights an avenue of elms, tall pines, palms and willows, plenty of paths and picnic tables. Coburg Lake Reserve has been reinstated as a place worth visiting. Referring to the changes, Moreland Counsellor Stella Kariofyllidis announced that 'Kids' laughter returns to Coburg Lake this summer'
The walking tracks in the reserve, with a couple of substantial hills, can provide a decent amount of exercise. Set aside at least an hour to completely traverse the park and definitely try out the purpose built exercise equipment.
Several playgrounds will entertain young children, including the cleverly decorated Outdoor Lounge and the Doug Hull Space Adventure playground. The main parking area for the Coburg Lake Reserve is located in Lake Grove and there are a small number of spaces just off Newlands Road as well.