STAGE ONE BEGINS FOR GOLF COURSE-TURNED NATURE RESERVE News / Project Milestone / Media / 01.04.2021

The transformation of Bayside City Council’s Elsternwick Nature Park Reserve has begun with Stage One works now underway.

Designed by McGregor Coxall and endorsed by Council in March 2020, the masterplan proposes the transformation of a decommissioned golf course into a thriving, biodiverse parkland and wetland oasis located in the suburban heart of Melbourne.

Collaboration with the Elsternwick Park Association and Traditional Landowners, the Boon Wurrung Foundation, helped inform a shared design vision centred around ecology, connection, and Caring for Country.

Featuring key elements including a ‘chain of ponds’, woodlands and wetlands, and outdoor community amenities linked by structured path hierarchies, the Reserve features comprehensive water management, ecological conservation, and parkland amenity strategies to deliver significant environmental and social benefits for the community.

The site's water strategy offers significant improvement of water quality, stormwater and flood management, and alternative water supply opportunities for the surrounding region says Miranda Wilkinson – Associate Director, Co-Studio Leader at McGregor Coxall’s Melbourne Studio.

“The masterplan treats stormwater from the 3,200ha Elster Creek catchment before entering Port Philip Bay,” said Wilkinson.

“Treatment includes harvesting excess flows for regional open space irrigation and toilet flushing, reducing reliance on potable water supply, mitigating urban heat, and improving quality of regional public amenities.

“Water is also fundamental to Elsternwick’s ecological revival, supporting seven distinct ecological communities and providing an important refuge for local wildlife.”

Cultural expression and education underpin the design, supporting ‘Caring for Country’ to promote community understanding of Aboriginal Culture as an integral part of Australian Culture.

“The masterplan enables cultural expression for future design and future users, providing opportunities for long-term engagement with Country, arts and culture, including the integration of ‘bush classrooms’ for all-age knowledge sharing.”

Elsternwick’s design encompasses possible future employment for local Aboriginals to manage and maintain the Reserve’s landscape and activities.

“Continuous, ongoing engagement with the Boon Wurrung people is crucial to ensure the Reserve is a place that truly expresses its cultural values.” said Wilkinson.

You can read more about the project here.

Photo credit: Phoenix Aerial Imaging