Our fifth walk starts on Toorak Road at tram stop 53 (Lithgow St – Melway 60 D6). This time we walk around Hartwell. In 2012 Volkhard Wehner wrote a book titled Old Hartwell: The Life and Times of the Village that Lost Its Name with a wealth of information about this area, now the locality of Hartwell.
Walk north along Highfield Road (an old street, existing before 1872). Our first Hartwell encounter is the Church of Christ. Now a brick building, this was once a small wooden church, built in 1925. After this, at Ruyton Street, walk northeast through Lynden Park. When you reach the first oval, you will see our path directly across it, first near the clubrooms, then under huge cypresses. As you walk through this lovely linear park, you pass Lynden Aged Care (1976); the imposing brick building is Nazareth House (also aged care), set up in 1929. Beyond these buildings you will cross into a natural creek bed which is supported by the Friends of Back Creek. You will also notice the change in the track itself. Which track do you prefer?
Follow Back Creek Trail to Riversdale Road, then walk west towards the city (if you wish, you can catch a tram from stop 54 to stop 49). If you choose to walk, you will see street names (on small tiles) laid into footpaths, an enormous Irish Strawberry Tree (at Moorhead Street), the attractive Highield Park (atop of the rise – a good spot for a rest, and a popular park since 1914), distant views to the south, an old tram shelter, and the imposing St Dominic’s Catholic Church, replacing a wooden building in 1937. This church is often open for a quiet visit inside, but first check that services are not under way. The priory next door – originally Holyrood Mansion, a private house – is also very attractive viewed from Holyrood Street. City views can be seen to the west.
At Glyndon Road turn left, then right into Allambee Avenue, stopping at a very small park that includes a public toilet. You could also buy tasty goodies at the shops! Continue west along Allambee Avenue, and at the end veer slightly left to the very obvious trail through Frog Hollow Reserve, originally called “Frog Holler” because of the frogs calling.
At the next road crossing, turn right (under the railway) and look for an orange gravel path through Willison Park. When this winding path ends, walk south 100 metres until you reach Tyrone Street.
You have now reached the jewel in Hartwell’s crown, the delightful Fordham Gardens (you have probably admired them from the tram or your car). Once you have looked around, you can, if you wish, return to where you entered this park and walk east up to the railway line and Hartwell Station (which retains much of its country style – the building was Walhalla Station until it was dismantled and moved to Hartwell in 1938). There is also a park and shop/cafe nearby.
You can catch the tram back to Burwood from Fordham Gardens, or by walking south from the station to Toorak Road. The length of this walk ranges from 5 kilometres (if you take the tram in Riversdale Road) to 7 kilometres (all walking).