Coburg Lake Reserve is a large park built along the Merri Creek and in the old granite bluestone quarry where prisoners cut the stones for the walls of Pentridge Prison. A dam on the Merri creek has made part of the former quarry into an ornamental lake. It is the most attractive place in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg.
In the last decade the park has acquired some sculptures; there is a winner of previous sculpture shows, a donation from sister cities and even an abandoned sculpture. However the scale of the park with its the tall eucalypts tends to dwarf even large sculptures. (I have written blog entries about the sculpture “Man of the Valley” and about other sculptures in the City of Moreland in Sculptures in Brunswick and the Moreland Sculpture Show).
The Moreland Sculpture Show was shown in the park for several years and this has contributed two permanent sculptures to the park by Melbourne-based artists. The sculpture show was moved out the Coburg Lake Reserve due to persistent vandalism to the sculptures (and the annual sculpture show was last year replaced with an installation show).
“Fish Out of Water” by Lisa Jane Miller was Moreland Sculpture Award Winner and Public Choice Award Winner at the Moreland Sculpture Show 2002. Decorated with a mosaic of ceramic tiles on ferro cement, with a large fish rising out of a dry basin. This sculpture is a plea for Australia to treat refugees more humanly, written in the glaze of the ceramic tiles. Another “Fish out of Water – Inhumanity 1” won the Northcote Pottery Award at the 2005 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show; it was, again, in Miller’s preferred media is ceramic tiles and ferro cement. When the sculpture was first installed the area of the park was largely undeveloped and it really looked like a fish out of water. Now it looks at home as there is a children’s playground next to it with a giant game of Twister, swings, a flying fox, seating and some colourful play-sculptural elements.
Liz Hewitt’s “Ship to Warf” is a series of three red knots of cast concrete. The sculpture was abandoned by the sculptor at the end of the Moreland Sculpture Show, donating it to Moreland City in 2003 (a donation that the council has foolishly yet to officially accept). “Ship to Warf” works well as public sculpture in that it is elegant, provokes the imagination and you can be stand or sit on it.
Coburg Lake Reserve is a popular park and a great place for a picnic. The park is well equipped with a hall/meeting room, a stage, several children’s playgrounds, picnic and BBQ areas. When I was photographing “Ship to Warf” there were a couple of galahs walking around on the grass (for more about the birds at Coburg Lake Reserve see Eremaea Birds).