FRIENDS OF ELIZABETH BRIDGE RESERVE
The Creation Of The Elizabeth Bridge Reserve
The Elizabeth Bridge Reserve attracts hundreds of visitors every month. Some just walk the bitumen paths, others feed the ducks, sit and watch the world go by, or gather with family and friends for a picnic, barbecue or to play on the playground equipment. Thanks to the generosity and the foresight of the Bridge family, everyone now has a wonderful park to enjoy.
The first moves to establish the park occurred after the passing of Elizabeth Bridge in 1975. Her daughter, Jean, couldn't manage the 12 1/2 acres of land on her own, so she held a family conference with her sister Elsie and brother Bill.
All agreed the property would make a lovely park. Jean approached the Shire of Lillydale, that on May 31, 1979, acquired the first parcel of land. This ran between the back fences of the homes in Durham Rd and Birkenhead Drive. The reason they purchased only this piece was because Jean still had horses on the property, and wanted to keep the dam.
After the Shire made the final payment, Jean made a donation of $1,000 to the Shire for signage or other improvements at the Reserve.
The Shire was to buy two further pieces of land from Jean.
The first was on July 29, 1985, comprising of 1.067ha, and was the land now occupied by the Bridge Community Garden Centre car park, and part of the open land to the west.
The final purchase was in the 1990s, and was the next block westwards which formerly had a green horse shed.
While the Shire purchased the land, it was agreed it would be called the Elizabeth Bridge Reserve in memory of Louisa Elizabeth Bridge, Jean's mother.
Early Bridge Family History
The Bridge family first moved to Kilsyth in 1936 – Elizabeth, husband Harold, Jean, William and Elsie.
Initially, they rented a small cottage further east in Durham Rd. But with the death of Walter William Wylie on March 1, 1941, Elizabeth negotiated to purchase the 12.5 acre farm. Jean has documents showing Elizabeth paid a deposit of 100 pounds for the property, and paid one pound per week until the purchase price of 600 pounds was paid. The first 5 pound deposit was paid on July 5, 1941, and the property finally transferred into Elizabeth Bridge's name on September 2, 1949.
Shortly afterwards, on July 31, 1950, Elizabeth transferred just over one acre to her son Bill. His family lived there until after his death in 1977. Today it is the site of the units west of the reserve.
On September 20, 1955, Elizabeth also transferred another one acre on the eastern boundary to her brother, Alfred Leonard Riddall, who started building his new home. However, the completing of the home was left to the new owners, the Dummelows.
Today, that home is the Bridge Community Garden Centre.
To complete the Reserve, the Shire Of Lillydale purchased the eastern parcel of land from the Orchard family and later, to allow residents greater access, purchased the block fronting Beatrice Street to the west.
Elizabeth Bridge near her house
The vegie patch and stable
A tinnie on the farm dam
Part Of The Shire Of Lillydale's Concept Plans For The Reserve Developed In 1986.
1986 original concept plans
Elements to be included in the park in 1986 were:
• An ornamental lake and tea lawn;
• Entry plaza with kiosk and toilet facility;
• Barbecue area and lookout
• Two playgrounds
• Interconnecting path system; and
• Grassed common.
Proposed construction timetable
Stage 1: 1987
Basic earthworks, grassing and services.
Stage 2: 1987-1988
Lake pathways, some park furniture, road works and one feature.
Stage 3: 1988 -1989 Amphitheatre, additional park furniture. Durham road works, lookout and playground.
Stage 4: 1989 - 1990 Maze, entry plaza and completion and park furniture.
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