I count myself lucky to be born in Australia's coffee capital of Melbourne and love to write about what's on in my home town.
Published January 12th 2013
A site of much history, now a family haven
Box Hill's flagship swimming facility Aqualink is a popular locale for eastern suburbanites seeking respite from the summer heat or a place to entertain the kids and keep fit. However early last century, the venue of choice for a cooling summer dip was the neighbouring Surrey Dive.
Historic Surrey Dive as it was in 1914. (Image courtesy of Box Hill Historical Society)
Formerly known as 'the Dive', this deep, disused quarry within the historic grounds of the former Box Hill Brickworks was first used for swimming in 1905 and for over fifty years played host to numerous swimming carnivals, competed by such notable Australian athletes as Frank Beaurepaire. These days however, the only locals to swim in the Surrey Dive ornamental lake are a family of ducks!
Alongside the lake is a peaceful, shady parkland equipped with everything you need to enjoy a picnic, barbeque or simply let the kids blow off steam. In particular, the adventure playground is tailored to suit a range of ages and abilities and includes swings, single, twin and spiral slides, small maze, a novelty fort-style boat and lighthouse, tunnel, ramps, fireman's pole and small rope ladder.
Whilst some of the playground structures do not have constant shade, the surrounding seating, picnic tables and barbeques are well protected. There is also an undercover seating area overlooking the lake. If you happen to have a few bread scraps remaining after your meal, the resident ducks are always up for a snack, and can be safely fed from a modest timber boardwalk positioned alongside of the lake, right near the picnic area.
Whilst the park is not ideal for visitors of the four-legged variety a few metres away, on the other side of the car park, is the Surrey Park cricket oval and running track, which has plenty of space for you and your dog to stretch your legs.