The state of the Maroondah Reservoir Park is such a sore point for many Healesville locals that the state Liberal party has pledged half a million dollars to restore it.
However not everyone who goes there thinks so poorly of the park. John Burgess, who lives 100 kilometres away in Melton, has been visiting the park every month or so for the last 30 years.
He said he found the dam on a random drive in the hills and took the road down to the park to find out what was there. “I saw the sign for the park and as soon as I got here it made me feel calm and peaceful,” he said.
“I’ve kept coming over here ever since because it’s a special day out for us as we go to the Healesville Sanctuary and then come here.”
If birds could talk then they they would be on first-name terms with John and his partner, Joanne Burslem. “As soon as the car stops all the birds come over to us, even before we get out of the car,” he said.
“There are all sorts here, cockatoos, galahs, king parrots, corellas, and lorikeets.”
Part of his popularity with the birds is probably due to his bag of sunflower seeds that soon has the birds eating out of his hand, especially the king parrots.
“The birds are so soft and gentle, they just sit on my hand and open up the seeds, eat the centre and then throw away the pods. It is amazing how trusting they are and how they remember us.”
“This place is amazing and no one seems to know about it, it’s always empty. You can bring the family and not have to worry about anything, everything is just so safe and peaceful here.”
So whilst facebook may be awash with negative comments on the park, these two make the 200 km round trip across Melbourne because to them it is a haven of beauty and tranquillity. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.