City of South Perth - McDougall Park Open Day

City of South Perth - McDougall Park Open Day


Posted 2013-01-27 by Shannon Meyerkortfollow
McDougall Park in Como happens to be the park closest to where my Grandma lived, which means I spent a lot of my childhood there. It is where my mother and father had one of their first 'dates' back in the 1960s, under the watchful eyes of their parents.

I imagine that most people have a park just like this: part of their childhood, part of their memories.

So when I found out that there was a free open day at Neil McDougall Park and Hazel McDougall House I was intrigued to find out more. I had always noticed that there were buildings in the middle of the park, but as a kid, you're more interested in the play equipment than the history.

Neil and Hazel McDougall bought the land now known as McDougall Park in 1914, although they didn't build a house and live there until after Neil returned from WW1. They began grazing cows and opened a small dairy.

However since they had no children of their own, in 1951 they decided to sell part of the land to the City of South Perth so that all residents – and their children – could enjoy the space. When Neil died in 1964, some of the land surrounding the house where Hazel still lived, was fenced off so she could continue to enjoy it until she passed away in 1979.

In the early 1980s, just when I was beginning to play there, the house was reopened as an arts and craft centre for the community.

In the mid to late 1960s the council began redeveloping the park, turning the original swamp into a lake, and planting trees on the grazing land. Over time an amphitheatre, playground and picnic areas were also built, all with the ongoing involvement and support of Hazel. Over the past three decades, more changes have taken place – the play equipment has been upgraded, the undergrowth in the bush areas has been cleared – but it is still a wonderful place, full of wonderful memories.

The Open Day on March 23rd will showcase all that is special about this unique park. Hazel McDougall House, the home of the South Perth Society of Art and Craft will be open, as will the Community Garden. Residents are invited to help make a community mosaic which will be installed in the park, but the Open Day is for families from all over Perth. There will be free entertainment, a sausage sizzle and Devonshire tea, the new playground will be opened and poetry readings from WA Poets Inc.

I think Neil and Hazel would be thrilled to know that generations of families from South Perth and beyond are enjoying their special gift to the community, and who knows, maybe I'll see you there along with the next generation.

216914 - 2023-06-16 07:30:26


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