Cherry Lake, established c.1840, at Millers Road, Altona.
How is it Significant?
Cherry Lake is of local historic, social and aesthetic significance to the City of Hobsons Bay.
Why is it Significant?
Historically, it is significant for its associations with the early pastoral settlement of this area in the 1840s when it was used as drinking water for the stock of early graziers and provided a landmark for surveyors mapping the area, as well by its ownership to the pioneer William Cherry. (AHC criteria A4 and H1)
Socially, it is significant as a major recreational park within Altona that is highly valued by the local community. (AHC criterion G1)
Aesthetically, it is significant as a major cultural landscape element, which is a local landmark and an integral part of the identity of the Altona area. (AHC criteria E1)
This lake resembles its historical form but its setting has changed dramatically in part, particularly the proximity of refineries. However the presence of the refineries has also created a buffer zone which has stopped residential development from encroaching on the lake. Revegetation of its banks has been an important step to reclaim this major historical landmark in the City.
Along the pathways created around the lake is a number of information panels which include descriptions of the indigenous vegetation around the lake, such as tangled lignum, cumbungi, sea club-rush, rounded noon flower, and chaffy saw sedge.
Another panel deals with the history of the lake, with the William Cherry noted as a horse breeder among his other farming activities, having provided horses for the British Army in India. Cherry is said to have driven his stock from his pre-emptive right (entered at the east end of Civic Drive) north along Altona Road across the 'stepping stones' (ford) in the Kororoit Creek and on to the abattoirs which were once on part of the rifle range reserve. There is a picture of what presumably is the Cherry family in front of a random basalt rubble house.
Another panel deals with the seasonal variations of the lake over time, with dry weather making its banks a good race track in past times and its dry bed providing a source of dust for the surrounding residents. Flooding into nearby houses is said to have inspired the construction of a levee bank between it and the Kororoit Creek and a weir built along Millers Road after the 1963 floods. An outfall was established into the bay and later a bore pump installed that allowed the lake to remain at a fairly constant level by the late 1960s and further recreation development to occur.