Our thirteenth walk goes to visit Burwood’s very own university – Deakin. In particular, we will be looking at their most interesting Sculpture Walk, which was set up by the University Art Gallery. We will, of course, include bush and parklands to complete our circuit from Burwood Village. Depending on how much exploring you do, this walk is approximately 7km.
Firstly, however, a special note is needed. If you, like me, are not familiar with the university campus, you will have a much richer (and more successful) experience if you have a copy of the guide to the sculpture walk. You can collect a copy from their gallery, which we pass on the walk, but it has limited opening hours (10am–4pm Tuesday to Friday). Alternatively, you can easily download the guide by searching for ‘Deakin Sculpture Walk’. Bring this guide with you.
You start the walk in Burwood Village at the south east corner of Burwood Highway and Warrigal Road (Melway 60 G6). Stroll east down Burwood Highway for five minutes to the entrance to Burwood Cemetery; this cemetery has been here a very long time, since 1857. Browse as you walk through this quiet place, perhaps admiring views over Burwood and Mount Waverley, and the many fine trees, from the western fenceline.
Exit at the south east corner, then turn left into Highbury Road. After 50m, cross Evans Street into Harker Street and walk on the southern side under its large eucalyptus. At the end of Harker Street walk almost straight ahead, crossing two streets (Cromwell and Ireland) into Tudor Street, where you will see an unusual sculpture at the far end of this street. It is a geological history of Victoria (more or less) with a large pendulum. There is a plaque to read.
Head north along the Gardiners Creek Trail for ten minutes or so, noting the tree plantings, Koorie carvings and paintings, homage to the drive-in theatre, the orchard heritage, and to some cypress trees whose stumps have been carved. Cross Burwood Highway at the lights and walk east to the second entry heading north, near the Gardiners Creek Reserve sign, where you will have the creek reserve to your left and an oval to your right. After walking for five minutes you will come to a bridge, but do not cross this bridge; instead, head north east past the cricket practice area towards Building P. (There are public toilets behind the club rooms on the main oval.) The Art Gallery is beside Building P. You have now been walking for about an hour.
Using the university’s sculpture walk guide, you can now start wandering around to see how many of the twelve sculptures you can find (I found ten). Nearby Corner Café may be a place for a break. Once you find sculpture 11 – Echidna (noting its shiny nose, perhaps indicating a status similar to lion sculptures in other countries), start walking back towards the point where we came across the oval near the cricket practice area. It is now time for some more bush. Again, do not cross the footbridge, but continue north (then east) along the banks of Gardiners Creek. There are two more or less parallel tracks. Either is OK, but do not cross the creek yet. The track beside the creek is more popular, but the inland one is shadier.
After about 15 minutes the two tracks do join, near another bridge. Here you will cross the bridge (signed to Wattle Park), walking north past a small playground, then gently uphill through a right of way to a street (Cadorna St). Turn left along this street, and after walking for 10 minutes you reach Elgar Road. Cross this road carefully, and enter Wattle Park.
Once inside Wattle Park, it is best to turn left and then right – away from the traffic and beside the remnant vegetation protected area. There is an informal path bearing north west along the fence line through a most attractive area. You will pass another crossing, but keep walking roughly north west (although aimless wandering in Wattle Park is encouraged!). There are also playgrounds and picnic facilities available not far uphill from where we are walking. About 20 minutes after entering Wattle Park, you should emerge onto Riversdale Road. To your right (east) lie the Wattle Park shops, and slightly to your left along Riversdale Road there is a smaller group of shops, including a chocolate shop and a milk bar. Either way, you will find a bus stop for the Smartbus 903 (going to Mordialloc) to take you back to the start of our walk.