Between 1951 and 1979, Police Constable August Lewis Maluga worked with outstanding dedication to protect the young communities of Sefton and Birrong. This was before they had become the developed suburbs of Bankstown that they are today. In recognition of his success solving numerous crimes, the City Council named a serene little spot in the centre of the area after him - Maluga Passive Park.
From the edges of the park all that is visible is the thick stand of trees. It isn't until you follow the winding paths through the trees and beside undulating greens, that you discover the gem within.
Shady trees protect the secrets of this passive park
Maluga Passive Park is home to a large freshwater pond with a neat brick-paved causeway down the middle. The pond is frequented by hundreds of birds that live in the surrounds of this important riparian habitat.
Such remaining natural habitats are invaluable, as many species find food and shelter here. Bankstown Council manage the native fish species in the pond and they have also established other programs, like the Headwall and Bank Stabilisation Project, to ensure Maluga Passive Park remains a flourishing and ecologically-balanced ecosystem.
The many varieties of bird that frequent the park include the Australian Wood Duck, Crested Pigeon, Purple Swamp Hen and the Eurasian Coot. Also look out for the Eastern Great Egret - a common inhabitant of Sydney's wetlands. The park is also graced by a pair of Black Swans - the most friendly and curious I have ever encountered. Even birds of prey can sometimes be spotted on the boughs of trees, looking out over the cacophony of birds on the water below.
Lizards also make their home on the banks of the pond, camouflaging in the shadow of the pine and dried leaves. And you may be able to get as close to a lizard as I did, before it waddles off into the undergrowth.
Be assured that youngsters will be enchanted by the wildlife, but you will find that there is a wonderful play area here for them as well. What's more, exercise equipment provided just next to the children's playground means you can work out while the kids play nearby.
The paths around the pond are perfect for a leisurely stroll - you can even bring the dog. Meanwhile, taps, toilets, shady spots on the grass, benches, barbeque facilities and covered picnic tables provide everything you could want for a relaxed picnic. It is only a 10 minute walk from either Birrong or Sefton railway stations, and if you chose to drive, there is plenty of space to park along Gascoigne Road.
Stay at the park a little longer - till the sun begins to go down. Find a bench to sit on and experience the golden glow around you, the glistening water and a light breeze, still warmed by the heat of the day.
Maluga Passive Park is a reminder of the dedication of a Police Constable who worked to bring peace to his community; and what a suitable tribute it is. The park is a haven in the midst of suburbia, effortlessly offering a space of unexpected tranquility.