Pop-up park to pop up once again

By Lachlan Durling

CAMPASPE Shire Council’s ‘temporary leisure space’, also known as the pop-up park on Murray Esplanade, will stay as a green space for the time being.

Once works on the retaining wall are complete, the space will be restored as a park, with council yet to have discussions with the community about what it would like the site to become.

“The retaining wall works are on track and due to be finished at the end of August,” Campaspe Shire infrastructure general manager Jason Deller said.

Once the retaining wall works are completed, the park is expected to provide the public with a space to view the Murray River from the Historic Port at no cost.

Circa 1900, the river frontage looked a lot different to what it does today.

Small huts stood on the property to accommodate wharf workers, but in 1925 two rail lines ran through the site for the Evans Brothers Sawmill to load milled timber.

In 1977 a shed was built facing Murray Esplanade for the operation of the Red Gum Timber Works.

But that was only around for 10 years before it was converted to a serviceable building for the operation of the Red Gum Works restaurant.

That sold in 1997 with the new owners reopening the site as Oscar W’s wharfside restaurant, which remained open for 17 years, eventually closing in 2014.

In 2016 significant river floods undermined the river bank, destabilising a section of the retaining wall.

After considering its options, council agreed to demolish the building to allow the construction of the retaining wall from the land side.