A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published August 27th 2013
Peaceful park and Epping's best-kept secret
Finding a peaceful bushland sanctuary in suburban Sydney is easier said than done, residential development having long ago replaced most of the native vegetation. But one such bushland retreat does exist in Epping in the form of Edna Hunt Sanctuary.
In 1957, Mayor E.A. hunt owned part of the land now occupied by the reserve and was understandably concerned that the area would be degraded by future development. He wanted the land to be protected "for the future use of the people and as an amenity to the district", so he gave the land as a gift to council.
It was subsequently named in honour of his wife, Edna Hunt, and the addition of more land from surrounding residents took the total area now covered by the bushland sanctuary to 7.1 hectares.
However, although the former mayor went to great lengths to ensure the land was handed over to the community, many local residents in the Epping area these days would be completely unaware the sanctuary even exists. Tucked away off Hillside Crescent and hidden beside the nearby railway line, the reserve is without doubt one of the area's best-kept secrets.
Edna Hunt Sanctuary is home to Blue Gum High Forest, an endangered plant community that occurs nowhere else in Australia other than the north and northwestern suburbs of Sydney. Only one per cent of Sydney's original Blue Gum High Forest remains today, scattered across the region in tiny pockets like this reserve.
There are some towering trees dotted throughout the reserve, and bushcare efforts are under way to ensure their survival. A bush trail winds its way through the sanctuary, dappled sunlight filtering through the trees and mingling with the sound of birds twittering away.
Only once you get into the reserve do you realise just how big it is. There's plenty of open, grassy space (some shaded and some sunny), making it the ideal spot for a family picnic. There's also plenty of room for a game of cricket or soccer if you're feeling energetic.
A number of seats are dotted throughout the reserve to let you just sit down and take in the natural scenery in front of you. If it weren't for the occasional train passing by on its way to Epping Station, you wouldn't realise just how close you are to the suburban sprawl.
To find more information on Edna Hunt Sanctuary, log on to the Parramatta City Council website.