Mathison Park with Hyland Lake

mathison-park-hyland-lake-toilet-blockMathison Park is located at 20 Mackeys Road, Churchill

(In this article fishing, walking, 1929 ruins, model powerboats, relax, setting, wildlife, park, fitness centre, facilities)
Mathison Park the home of Hyland Lake with a gravel to boardwalk around the lake.  A walking trail can take you into Churchill where a number of retail shops and cafes await you.
In the park are barbeques, toilets, shelter, and play equipment.
The playground is surrounded by gum trees.

Fishing at Hyland Lake

Churchill Victoria, Latrobe Valley, things to do, Ducks, Hyland park, ruins,Hyland Lake is filled with rainbow fish, there are platforms around the lake for keen anglers to try their luck with the line.

Model powerboats on Hyland Lake

On the third Sunday of the month before 10 am the whirring of model boats spray the water around. The colourful boats take to the lake and are fun to watch. People can join but they need the appropriate permits to join in the action.

Mathison Park, Churchill a great place to relax

mathison-park-hyland-lake-small-damThere are rustic park benches connected to the same style wooden picnic table. The gum trees above casting shadows of light and dark across the tabletop. A soft breeze runs past me, tugging at my skirt playfully, teasing my hair and tapping my shoulder. The page in front of me is not missing the attention of the flirtatious breeze, it flutters. I place my hand on it to keep it in place, stopping the cliche reenactment of the fast flipping pages of any windy movie with a book in it. I look up at the lake, the first time since I have sat down. It’s a brilliant blue, courtesy of a cloudless sky accentuating the Federation University and Churchill at the bottom of the mountains. The Strzelecki Ranges still bears the scar of the savage bushfires path. The scar consists of white ghosts of trees without leaves that have given up on life, only serving as a reminder. Mostly the bush on the mountains has regenerated and even the scar adds character, we survived. Maybe the reminder is necessary since we have not had a bushfire in the area since the one that left the scar. No smells overpower the scent of nature, probably one of the reasons I love this place so much. It’s peaceful and smells like the outdoors should clean, the body of the water is not pungent smelling, as it’s constantly rippling adding character to the sapphire lake.

A view of the Jeeralangs and Mount Tassie off in the distancemathison-park-hyland-lake-gum-trees-jeeralangs-churchill-victoria

It’s possible to get lost in the mountains just sitting here, without needing to go any closer. The foreground of the lake is broken with an object I affectionately call the cage. It has a round concrete top. There is mesh wire atop another concrete piece slipping into the water just meters from shore basking in shade from the strong gum trees at its banks. Three ducks sitting on top of this concrete structure. The duck furthest from me sits proudly with his breast puffed out, looking stately. Trying to be as tall as the tall concrete pillar only half a meter from it, a meeting point for the other ducks playing in the water.
A rustling noise draws my attention, as the traffic passing by has not, nor has the odd jogger. There is a fitness station not far behind where people can warm up or cool down. Looking down to the sound of the rustling, hoping it is not what I fear most, however, I prepare myself for it likely could be.

mathison-park-hyland-lake-fitness-parkWildlife at Mathison Park, Churchill

I find I am looking into amber eyes, sporting a red mask of white feathered duck. With his yellow beak in the air, as if to say, ‘and who are you’? I must admit I felt rather intimidated by this bird standing as tall as my seated knee. It feels like an aggressive gesture, we are still in a silent standoff, staring at each other. Maybe he is just watching and I am making mountains out of duck eggs. A stray thought crosses my mind, maybe I am threatening to him with my pad and pen. My purple ballpoint pen is poised mid-air, I guess I’d find that a threatening gesture. I put the pen down, whilst maintaining eye contact. Putting the pen down has reminded me I am here to write.
I break the stare first hoping the duck doesn’t take it as an invitation to attack and more as a gesture to leave. 
Yet a quick glance tells me the duck didn’t reciprocate and I am the focus of the ducks attention. Somehow the group has grown silently in size. Trying to ignore them I pick up the pen. I then hear two car doors slam, the rattling of the sliding door is next. With a quick slam there is the noise of at least two children crushing twigs and leaves with hot feet headed for the playground; which is behind me. The quick steps on the ladder and the traditional ‘whee’ the expression of joy or slight terror as they slid down the yellow slide, told me that is what they did.mathison-park-hyland-lake-red-bandit-duck

Mathison Park, Churchill is a great place for fun and reflection

The little feet didn’t stop for long, hitting the ground running. Heading in my direction and that of my feather guard; who I am not too certain won’t attack if they so desire. It’s too late to call a warning as there is already a flurry of feathers as the ducks flutter away from the child. Luckily the ducks didn’t think today was a good day for kid pecking. Maybe they know a plucked end may await them should they peck. The responsible adult saw the terror the child instilled in the multi-coloured flock, who moved closer to the water and called the child back. The child responded to the shouted demand of the parent and turned away from the ducks. “I was just playing”. Shortly after the car left, I am in peaceful surrounds yet again. Back with the fun loving breeze, the leaves, mountain, water and even the ducks who inform my paper and pen.

The O’Halloran Ruins

mathison-park-hyland-lake-o-halloran-estateThe concrete skeleton of a homestead with water tanks around are that’s left of the 1929 homestead. You can see it was an early adopter of concrete utilising large red stones. The evidence of five rooms with no roof and nature slowly reclaiming it. A nearby board tells of the history and shows the pictures of this building in its prime.


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This post was written by Tegan Dawson