Community invited to help celebrate sanctuary’s 50-year milestone

March 25, 2015 by  

Half a century of community support will be commemorated in a special gathering at the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary before the end of this month.

The event is being held to thank volunteers and committee members, past and present, from throughout the City of Whitehall, including Mitcham, for their contribution in protecting this significant part of the environment.

Mayor Andrew Munroe said the sanctuary had benefited from the area’s ardent conservationists.

The sanctuary emerged from an initial proposal by the Board of Works, who owned the water in the lake, to deepen it in an endeavour to control flash flooding. However, community members feared the environment of the lake would be destroyed by such a move.

As a result, an alternative plan initiated by landscape artists Ellis Stones and Edna Walling, together with Nunawading Council, was devised for a wall to be constructed across the lake’s southern edge.

Known as the Great Wall of Blackburn Lake, it still stands as a symbol of the community members’ fight to protect this unique part of their local environment, according to Cr. Munroe.

Controlling the flooding has had a positive effect on the environment and has seen the Melaleuca trees preserved. In 1965 the area was pronounced a sanctuary as a way of preserving its natural habitat.

Five decades later and the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary is thriving under the watchful eye of a 14-member Advisory Committee, along with volunteers and the Education Officer for the Environment, Lucy Menzies.

Flyer printing and information sent out to community members on the sanctuary’s database has been undertaken to alert locals to the 50-year celebration, which will be held on March 29 from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm.