The former Elsternwick Public Golf Course is transforming into an expansive nature reserve. This ten-year re-development project is at a fascinating stage, with many of the fairways returning to unkempt wilderness, whilst others are being re-developed into a chain of newly planted, constructed ponds.
View from a former elevated tee at Elsternwick Park Nature Reserve
Entering from the corner of New Street and Bent Avenue, there is a sense of venturing into a magical, but somewhat alternative community space, with a strange mix of order and chaos. It is part reminiscent of a European village green, with families wandering arm-in-arm along the grassy fairways. At the same time, it is part post-apocalypse, at least for golfers, with feral kids disappearing along narrow paths through the ever-encroaching undergrowth to some hiding place deep in the bushes.
Former water hazard now Elster Creek wetland at the Nature Reserve
The newly constructed "Northern Aquatic Landscape" that forms Stage 1 of the reconstruction is still off-limits behind a cyclone wire fence, but looks to be nearing completion, with much of the major landscaping tasks done. In total there will be six stages including picnic areas, boardwalks, bird hides and nature play areas. Different sections of the reserve are likely to be closed off as the re-development progresses and others re-opened.
The newly constructed chain of ponds at the reserve
The nature reserve is adjacent to the extremely popular Elsternwick Park, on the other side of Bent Avenue. Collectively these two areas will provide several kilometres of trails and numerous picnic areas. The nature reserve will also enhance the park's important role of filtering out sediments and nutrients from urban stormwater before it enters Elster Creek and onto Port Phillip Bay.
If you want to know more about the re-development, you can view the master plan for the Elsternwick Park Nature Reserve on the Bayside City Council's website, including opportunities to provide feedback on the master plan and subscribe to updates on the re-development. Looking back through Weekend Notes, here is an article of what the golf course used to look like. Go down there and experience this unique community space first-hand, and who knows, you might even find some of the golf balls lost on my errant drives from many years ago.