It was once a “wasteland” area and over 30 years has become one of the most popular parks in Melbourne’s east.
Lillydale Lake was a combined project between the Shire of Lillydale and Melbourne Water to stop the township of Lilydale flooding and provide community members with quality open space.
Walling Ward Councillor Len Cox said the lake opened on 7 July, 1990, after years of works to prepare the grounds.
“Though Melbourne Water built the lake, Council then had to build the parkland, because what you had here before was pretty much a wasteland,” Cr Cox said.
“It had been cleared, it was full of rubbish – including car bodies – with a creek running through it.
“It opened in 1990 and, without any doubt at all, it’s been the most popular project that Council’s ever done.
“If you came down here on a weekend when the weather is reasonable, you’ll find it’s packed with people – I think it’s the most popular outdoor spot in Yarra Ranges.”
Lillydale Lake was named after the Shire of Lillydale – not the town of Lilydale – and so has a double-l in its name.
Billanook Ward Councillor, Tim Heenan, said that extensive works had been carried out since the lake opened, to improve the look of the area, provide exercise opportunities and make the lake safe after dark.
“Lillydale Lake has grown enormously in its popularity over the last 30 years,” he said.
“The trees you see there have were all planted – and there were many, many thousands of them.
“It’s become a fantastic asset for Lilydale. The playground has always been a real treasure and recent inclusions are the dog off-lead course, full security lighting on the outside of the lake and an accessible water fountain for people and dogs.
“What we have here is something that Lilydale people have been looking forward to for many years.”
Cr Tim Heenan at Lillydale Lake.
Cr Heenan encouraged visitors to the lake to be mindful of social distancing and restrictions on outdoor gatherings during the return of Stage 3 restrictions.
“Please respect the situation we have at the moment – social distancing is paramount,” he said.
“We’re only allowed to be in small groups of two outdoors at the moment and while getting outdoors is great for exercise and mental health, please keep plenty of distance from others until the situation changes.”
Melba Ward Councillor, Terry Avery, said that families had been regularly visiting the lake for decades, returning as children grew up and became parents themselves.
“In thirty years, Lillydale Lake has become one of the most popular spots to visit in Yarra Ranges – we’re proud of the work that’s been done here and look forward to seeing how this beloved area will grow and change in coming years,” Cr Avery said.
“We’ve had people who visited the lake as children come back with their own children and new families planting trees at the lake that they can come back and visit.
“I’m a regular visitor with my family, and I know that the community has already taken ownership of this place – I’m sure we’ll all keep it as a treasured place to go for the next 30 years.”