Eel Hole Creek

By Delma Hodges

My interest in Eel Hole Creek began some years ago, while having a long discussion with a delightful gentleman, great in years, but quite strong in memory. He told of his years as a dairy farmer living south of Glendonald Road in Churchill.

He told of the wet winters and the need to drain the farm for his dairy cattle, so he started to dig a drain. It commenced on the rise of his property and ran the full distance down to the lower northern end of his boundary. Whether fissures in the ground joined up to his drain in the wet winters, it is unknown, but his work allowed his land to be productive, and tolerable for the cattle.

A smile and a chuckle could always be heard as he said they now call his drain, Eel Hole Creek. There was no creek he said, till he made his drain.

Eel Hole Creek - Culvert

I took a wander down the Eel Hole Creek recently, taking the pathway leading to the culvert at the end of Philip Parade opposite the entrance to the Glendonald subdivision. The path follows the water flow from the concrete culvert, past the Fed Uni living quarters and tennis courts and finishing at the pathway that links the Kurnai school and the Uni to the Churchill shops. At a leisurely stroll it took an hour as I paused to enjoy the birds and photograph some of the plants, then returned to our car parked near the commencement of the walk.

The pathway provides an easy walk past native endemic trees and hardy shrubs. I saw a very cheeky red wattlebird at the start of the walk and of course as I walked along there were lots of sounds coming from other small birds dancing in the trees. The ever-present magpie was also busy searching for anything edible.

Eel Hole Creek - Gum Eel Hole Creek - Wattle

The culvert and creek, that the pathway follows, does need a bit of maintenance as both blackberry and ivy have taken advantage of our lockdowns to make their presence obvious. I am sure this job will have been noted already by the relevant authorities.

An exciting find was a Gymea Lily (Doryanthes excelsa). Aborigines are reported to have cooked the young flower head and roots. It is lovely to have it in our park.

I hope you will take the time to wander along this section of the walk that leads to Lake Hyland at Matheson Park. Churchill is rightly proud of this recreational gem.

Eel Hole Creek - Shrub

In February’s edition of Churchill & District News, Mike Beamish wrote about the Lyrebird Walk close to Mirboo North. I went there in early March so I missed seeing the tongue orchids unfortunately, but I did keep an eye out for some of the birdlife he mentioned. There was a delightful stillness in the forest. It is a tonic for the soul no matter when or where we walk.

Sources: Wriggley & Fagg - Australian Native Plants 5th edition

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