This site was once a busy farm, still containing the fascinating historic remnants of Hare’s Homestead. It’s popular with walkers, fishers and bird watchers and provides for a diversity of activities.
Located on the corner of Tramway and Mackey’s Road in Churchill, Mathison Park is a large reserve located 158km east of Melbourne and 8km south of Morwell. The easiest access point is at the Mackeys Rd car park. A brisk walk around the circumference of the lake will take you 20 minutes; otherwise, there are plenty of opportunities to rest on one of several seats installed for just this purpose.
Named after Wal Mathison, secretary of the Morwell Shire from 1948-62 during a period of rapid development, this lovely area is just a few minutes from the town centre of Churchill. Lake Hyland, around which the walking track is developed, derives its name from Sir Herbert Hyland (the local State Member of Parliament from 1955-64).
This is a very popular place for anglers, birdwatchers, people who love to feed the birds or walk the dog as well as those who enjoy a great walk in natural surroundings. Just near the car park, you’ll find a lovely picnic spot with BBQ facilities, toilets and a playground for the little kids and, for the bigger kids, an All Ages Fitness Station that includes radial chin-up bars, arched monkey bars, parallel bars, balance beam, sit-up bench, push up bar and a log jump.
Excellent signage provides the key information for identifying fish as well as the numerous bird species you’re likely to see on your stroll. A detailed site map highlights key points of interest and a large sign provides the community’s vision for the future of the site.
The path around the lake is gravel and there is a boardwalk section. A series of plantings provide a diverse range of settings, with International, Australian, Victorian and Gippsland themes. The value of locally indigenous species have also been recognised and there are carefully managed revegetation zones that the dedicated volunteers of this Park endeavour to continue restoring.
At the south end of the lake, you’ll find the remains original farm homestead, known as Hare's Farmhouse, as well as an example of O'Halloran's underground water tank used to store and provide domestic water and along with the dairy formerly located at the site. The adjacent Koori Garden provides a detailed sign identifying and describing the types of plants that the Gunaikurnai nation have put to use for thousands of years.
You can extend your walk along Eel Hole Creek Track if you’re feeling like a longer journey, which leads you along a lovely stretch of remnant and revegetated bushland to the town centre. Check www.ptv.vic.gov.au if you’d like to access the Park via public transport, there is a regional bus top on the corner of Tramway Rd and Mathison Park.
The Park Tracks project is an initiative of the Latrobe City Council, which acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Gunaikurnai nation. Through their cultural traditions, the Gunaikurnai identifies this area as part of their Traditional Country.
At the Mackey Rd carpark, you will find the Apex Bicentennial Park that provides an excellent picnic area with BBQ facilities, toilets and a playground for the young and old.
The Model Boat Club has a Driver’s Stand that is a fantastic platform from which to launch your remote control miniature craft, or just watch others with the expertise.
No need to get your feet wet as you cross the wetland area that is brimming with wildlife of all descriptions.
You’re bound to meet a pooch or two on your travels along this walking track, and they seem to enjoy the surrounds as much as their human friends.
A dedicated Friend’s Group ensures that the vegetation within the Park is both diverse and appropriate to the area, with so many magnificent flowers such as this beautiful banksia.
Mathison Park is extremely popular with birdwatchers because it provides so many habitat areas. You’re bound to meet a Moor Hen or two as you walk around Lake Hyland.
A fine example of farmhouses in Hazelwood during the early 19th century. See in particular the domed wall.
An excellent interpretive sign provides an overview of the plants that have a range of uses for the Gunaikurnai nation that has lived in this region for thousands of years.
Anglers can choose from one of five fishing platforms, with the Latrobe Valley Fly Fishing Club and Associated Angling Club regularly stocking the lake with rainbow trout and redfin.
This really is one of those places you can go to that will engender calm. At sunset and sunrise, Lake Hyland rings with the song of birds, frogs, insects and many other native animals.