You take your kids there, you have a picnic there, you rest there, but do you know the history of your local parks? Where their names originated? The significant role it played in shaping the region? We’ve uncovered some little-known truths about the history of Moreton Bay Regions local parks.
Coming about in the early 1950s when the Samford railway station and yard were phased out, John Scott Park is now the heart of Samford with its large open spaces, community stage, playground, shelters and BMX track. When the Ferny Grove to Dayboro line was closed, local postmaster, Bill Nelson petitioned the Pine Rivers Shire Council to place a park on what had become vacated land. The petition was taken to State Government where it ruled in favour of setting aside former rail property to create the recreational and sports reserve that we all know it as today. To commemorate the historical importance of the train line placing Samford on the map, you can find a little red train structure within the park's playground that is a favourite among many children.
Named after the NSW Surveyor-General, John Oxley Reserve is a 10-hectare public parkland and nature reserve in Murrumba Downs, near Dohles Rocks. In 1823, John Oxley was tasked with finding a suitable site for a convict settlement when he happened upon some shipwrecked ex-convicts, Pamphlett and Finnegan. The latter told Oxley of a large river (referring to Brisbane River) but mistakenly led the group up the Pine River. Together, the party continued upstream to what is today known as Oxley’s Inlet, commemorated by John Oxley Reserve. The Carole Green Walkway within the reserve is a designed bush pathway that leads to a boardwalk by the North Pine River where it is like Oxley, Finnegan and the rest of the crew docked.
Another John Oxley discovery, Sweeney Reserve was originally the location of an Aboriginal fishing area called ‘Mandin’ and was used as a ‘Rain-Making’ site by the local indigenous population, the North Pine Clan of the Turrbal people. Eventually, the government obtained the land for the purposes of being a road and water reserve while also playing an important role in area’s timber history as a vital logging ground. When the local railway opened in 1888, Sweeney Reserve became well known for good fishing, rowing and swimming as well as a popular picnic location. By 1924, the park had become so eminent for school-break ups, company picnics, swimming lessons and general public visitation that the government gazetted the land as a recreational reserve. Today the reserve protects the cultural heritage values of the North Pine River Area and forms part of the North Pine River Heritage Trail.
An unsuspecting little park on Francis Road just off Gympie Road in Lawnton, Lenny Allen Children’s Park is an open, grassed field often used for sports and fitness. With a small playground, barbecue and picnic shelter along with a cricket pitch and free fitness equipment, it's unlikely anyone would know that the grounds were once used as a camp by R.A.A.F personnel including Officers, Sergeants and Airmen.