The history of Bushlands Reserve

Bushlands Reserve acknowledges that we operate and function on the lands of the Darkinyung people.

We pay our respect to these lands and its people. We acknowledge those ancestors that defended,walked and managed these lands for many generations before us and who have left a legacy of strong cultural, wisdom and knowledge embedded in these lands today.

Bushlands Reserve, on Darkinyung Country, was originally scrubby bushland in a natural gully, with a stream running through it. The larger Springfield area is comprised of bush, wetlands and our beautiful Rumbalara Reserve.

The original park at Bushlands Reserve, consisted of a swing, see-saw, slippery dip, some monkey bars and a seat. These were at the top of a big, scrubby hill and very difficult for families with prams and young children to access.

In 1999 Springfield Residents Association was formed. They joined with Chertsey Primary School and Chertseydale Community Cottage to work together to support the families and children of Springfield. They realised that working together they could achieve a huge amount for their community.

To get the ball rolling, they organised a free family day out called 'Spring in Springfield'.

Alongside the free family fun-day, they had a group of volunteers doing a survey and asking people what they wanted or needed in Springfield.

It became clear that children and parents wanted a park that was accessible and up to date, and the youth wanted a Skatepark.

So that is what became the next projects. They wrote to Gosford Council in 1999 and begged them for a more accessible park that was very much needed. The Mayor promised to look into it.

But, nothing happened. So, they decided to apply for grants and build it themselves!

In 2001 they received a Community Development Grant to build 'Bushlands Avenue Park-Community Meeting Place', plus a matching grant from Gosford Council. They were joined by the 'Work for the Dole' program with Dave and his wonderful team of young workers.

They started off building a hand ball court, as that was the sporting trend at the time.

During the construction, excitement was building around the area with kids and families dropping by to see the progress.

The bike track was also being constructed. It became a great opportunity to use the talents of the graffiti artist in the work group who designed and painted the track.

The Council reps were so impressed, that they said they would install some new play equipment, which they did. A huge, shiny, colourful climbing frame. And to give the local kids some ownership over the new park, children from Chertsey Primary School came to add their handprints to the concrete and plant some trees around the reserve.

To top it all off, there was a wonderful community celebration and BBQ. Local MP Jim Lloyd attended and presented the young workers with certificates.

Bushlands Park was very well received, not just by locals, but by families all over the coast who would come to use the bike track or ride down the super, long slide.

Springfield Residents Association then went on to build the Skatepark at East Gosford next, but that’s another story.

Sadly, the new play equipment was vandalised and burnt down. It was devastating to the community and organiser's who'd worked so hard to get it built. The equipment you see today what brought in to replace it. It is much in need of updating.

The community spirit of Springfield is obvious. The community bands together to build and grow, and support one another. Within Bushlands Reserve Community Group we have community leaders who first established the park and worked with the original organisations to establish the park.

Thanks to representatives from Springfield Residents Association Inc, Chertseydale Community Cottage Inc, Chertsey Primary School, Erina Rotary Group, Springfield Pond Wetlands and members of the community and local families, who have recently established “Bushland Reserve Community Group”.

The members all have a common interest in rejuvenating Bushlands Reserve and making it a wonderful community hub and meeting place for activities and events.

So keep an eye on the park for new things happening.