Site History

Campbells Croft was originally owned by the Campbell family, early settlers of the Vermont area. Passed down to Bruce Campbell and his sister, Daisy, the small family holding of approximately 30 acres remained undeveloped until the late 1960's despite the encroaching residential development.

Bruce and Daisy lived in a small 'wattle and daub' cottage on the property with no electricity or modern luxuries. They ran a small poultry farm. Bruce also maintained a market garden on the open lawn area while Daisy, an exhibited artist, grew cut-flowers for sale. Both were known for their love of the local environment and were particularly opposed to the destruction of the creek side environment for flood mitigation works. Their house is believed to have stood near the large Oak trees growing on the open grass area to the middle of the Croft.

The Campbells were keen to protect their farm from surrounding residential development and were saddened when faced with the prospect of subdividing or selling sections of their property to pay land rates. Encouraged by friends, they decided to sell the majority of their land not to property developers but to the then City of Nunawading for use as public open space. Transfer of the land occurred in March 1969 with the Council purchasing the 9.7ha of land at favourable rates, subject to several conditions. The conditions were intended to preserve the land in its original state for passive recreation and included some restriction on the removal of trees.

The conditions of sale also insured that the Campbells who built a house near Cotswold Close could continue to enjoy the Croft, tending the existing vegetable patches and cutting Daffodils as they wished. Daisy Campbell continued to ride her bike, selling flowers and vegetables in the Vermont area until her death in 1979 (aged 79). While Bruce maintained his vegetable patch until hospitalisation and ultimately his death in 1984 aged 85. Despite the Campbell's desire for minimal publicity they are well remembered by the local community for their generosity to the people of Nunawading.

(This information is taken directly from the City of Nunawading, Campbells Croft - Abbey Walk Management Plan dated September 1994 prepared by Mark McWha Pty Ltd Landscape Architect)
The City of Nunawading and the City of Box Hill amalgamated to form the City of Whitehorse.

Abbey Walk was purchased from the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works in 1977.

Campbells Croft & Abbey Walk Today

Together Abbey Walk and Campbells Croft are approximately 14 hectares of bushland and open space. Dandenong Creeks runs along the east with Boronia Road to the South.

Abbey Walk, northern section of the Reserve, is approximately 4ha of native vegetation and gently rising grassed areas.
Campbells Croft falls into at least five distinctive areas being:-
The Pines - about 2 ha of extensive plantation of Pinus radiata located on the high western slops.
The Meadow - large grassy open space located centrally within the Croft. Exotic trees including Elms, Poplars, Oaks, Silver Birch gives the park user a relaxing English feel to the Croft.
The Ridge - northern section of the Croft this area is thickly vegetated with a large variety of both native and exotic plantings, Eucalyptus, Pines, Cotoneaster, Pittosporum etc. This area gives a wilderness feel to the Croft.
Remnant Swamp Woodland - a very cherished area of the Croft, consisting of significant areas of high quality remnant vegetation. Much work by the committee volunteers and 'Practical Ecology' has been done within this area, weeding invasive exotic vegetation and replanting with indigenous species.
Wetlands - recently upgraded, this magnificent area is a natural overflow for the Dandenong Creek floodings. It is a large area of indigenous vegetation with thriving aquatic and fauna species.

Historical photos of Vermont

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