Scheyville National Park has fascinated me, since I learned of its existence a few years ago. Many quiet walks have I taken through this unusual park. It lies, unknown to most, in that yet untouched area between farm country and slowly encroaching development in Sydney's West.
One of the most astonishing things about Scheyville National Park is that although it has an outstandingly rich history and was well known in Western Sydney in its heyday, it has now been all but been forgotten.
And this is surprising, as it has had many faces in its time. Before settling into its current existence as a quiet National Park and Environmental Education centre, it was the site of a socialist experiment in the 1800's, a migrant camp, an agricultural training farm, an officer training unit and finally an agricultural college. And there are remnants of all of this varied history to be found there to this day.
For me Scheyville is about discovery. It is full of surprises, as the past is remarkably intact onsite. Yet at the same time, the events that took place there happened long enough ago, that we don't have all the answers. As such, it retains an alluring element of mystery.
Migrant Heritage Walk
The migrant heritage walk takes you through the actual spaces where migrants from the early part of the 1900's lived and learned to work the land of the Australian countryside.
The migrants came from parts of Europe including England and Hungary and were given the opportunity to create community here, and to learn and find work until they were able to branch out and make their own way in Australian society.
There are still some of the quonset huts used during this time located onsite.
Among all the other varied ways this amazing site was used it was even utilised as a military training facility by the 73rd Australian Anti-Aircraft Search Light Company RAAF 24 and afterwards by the 41st Parachute Battalion.
Scheyville has a myriad of trails and walking tracks. There are paths through the bush, beside the lagoon and past the historical areas. There are lots of options for diverting in different direction and no two visits are likely to take you along the same route.
The lagoon itself is an important part of the ecosystem of the Hawkesbury area, as it provides a wetland habitat for numerous birds. Some of the more commonly seen species include the dusky moorhen, white-faced heron, royal spoonbill and the black-winged stilt.
Scheyville is a National Park now, and probably will be for many years to come. But with such a varied history and the site's amazing ability to adapt, I wouldn't be too confident that this will be the last transformation it will undergo.