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Published August 5th 2014
A Must Visit For Outdoor Types
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Point Cook here's a little bit of history to contextualize and explain the existence and name of the Saltwater Reserve in Pt Cook.
Lots of seating and car parking
Point Cook is about 25 km southwest from Melbourne in the City of Wyndham. Watch out for this is a rapidly growing area. In 2011 Point Cook recorded a population of 32,000. It is estimated to reach over 50,000 by 2020.
Point Cook was named in 1836 after John M. Cooke, mate of His Majesty's vessel Rattlesnake. The ship charted part of the Port Phillip Bay in 1836.
In 1853 the pastoralist Thomas Chirnside added the farmlands of Point Cook to his holdings. He built the famous Point Cook Homestead (27 rooms) in 1857. Thomas and his brother are famous for their extensive land holdings including Werribee Park, Carranballac, Mount Williams and Curnong.
The Chirnside brothers' interest in hunting is to blame for the introduction of deer and foxes to Point Cook in the 1850s. The Chirnsides became one of Victoria's prominent pastoral families, entertaining the colonial gentry and organising sporting functions for their guests. So the need for sporting facilities has a long history… it is now reflected in the size of the Saltwater Reserve…. but more of that later.
Thomas Chirnside. He would have been quite a catch.
In 1912 the Federal Government purchased a large section of Point Cook establishing the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base. This was the RAAF's only base until 1925. Point Cook is now the home of the RAAF College including Officers Training School (OTS) and the RAAF Museum.
After seventy years of family ownership, in 1920 the Chirnside family sold the Point Cook property to Sydney Dalrymple who four years later sold the northern part of the Point Cook land to Cheetham Salt Pty Ltd for salt recovery lagoons.
Cheetham Salt established ponds where seawater was left in shallow ponds to evaporate. This was then harvested until the early 1990s, when the Victorian Government purchased the site. The Cheetham Wetlands now make up a conservation area for migratory birds. The higher section has been developed into various housing estates, such as Sanctuary Lakes.
This is all an elaborate introduction to the Saltwater reserve. This reserve includes: synthetic football/cricket ovals football/cricket pavilions, 8 tennis courts and pavilion, a basketball court, enclosed dog off lead area, soccer pitches and pavilion, children's playground and BBQ areas. The reserve also has many flat walking and riding tracks.
Spaces for tennis players
This large area is used by many sporting clubs such as the Point Cook Football Club, Point Cook Auskick Western Region Umpires Association, and the Point Cook Soccer Club.
Located on the corner of Saltwater Promenade, you can't miss it. When I first saw the reserve I tried to think of another such outdoor sporting facility that was quite so big. The construction noise a buzz in the background reminded me that this area would be soon be swarming with residents.
BBQs and tables for adults
The facilities are spanking new and well constructed so it was a little surprising that the only others enjoying the playground were one mum, two children and a dog (off the lead). If this were indicative of its use it'd be like a private playground where the kids could run wild and have their pick of the equipment.
Modern climbing frames
There are three slides, belted swings and new style swinging equipment with soft landing material underfoot. The equipment and BBQs looked practically unused.
Lots of new equipment to delight children
Pt Cook is a pretty nice place. Some of the estates are reminiscent of exclusive Queensland estates that are built around impressive lakes. While you are in Pt. Cook you might also like to visit other tourist attractions such as: