Green jewel in the Kalamunda crown

Nestled in the heart of Kalamunda and incorporating part of the Bibbulmun Track, Jorgensen Park is a recreational facility and dog-walking park, rich in both history and native wildlife.

Teeing off- The Kalamunda Golf Course in its hey-day, the 1950's. Credit: The Kalamunda Historical Society

Teeing off- The Kalamunda Golf Course in its hey-day, the 1950s. Credit: The Kalamunda Historical Society

In 1928 Kalamunda residents formed a golf club and took out debentures of £25 each to purchase 67 acres of landowner Jacob Schmitt’s orchard and 60 acres of reserve bushland for the golf course.

For the next 46 years the Kalamunda Golf Course was a popular and challenging one.

Hedley Jorgensen was the son of original debenture holder and foundation member Harry Jorgensen, and was club president for many years.

Hedley J. Jorgensen Credit: The Kalamunda Historical Society

Hedley J. Jorgensen Credit: The Kalamunda Historical Society

As well as being the Kalamunda Golf Club president, throughout his time in Kalamunda Hedley Jorgensen was a foundation member of the Kalamunda Club, president of the Swimming Club Committee, president of the Parents and Teachers Association of Kalamunda High School, and a member of the Rotary Club.

Kalamunda Historical Society president and niece of Hedley Jorgensen, Jenny Lewis, said the park was named after him.

“Hedley had a long connection to Kalamunda,” Mrs Lewis said.

“The naming of the park was definitely in recognition of all his contributions to so many community institutions, which is nice for the family.

“He was instrumental in getting the golf club to move from where they were down to Hartfield Park.”

President of the Kalamunda Historical Society Jenny Lewis. Credit: Rachel Neumann

President of the Kalamunda Historical Society, Jenny Lewis. Photo: Rachel Neumann

Members of the Kalamunda Golf Club decided to move in order to create a top class green course because of water and terrain proving difficult obstacles, and in 1972 the Hartfield Club was formed across from the Hartfield Sporting Complex in Forrestfield.

Hedley died in 1973, and the land that had been the golf course was in possession of the Shire of Kalamunda.

“There was talk of developing it for housing, but there was quite a lot of resistance to that, so the decision was made to make it into a natural park, which is what it is today.” Mrs Lewis said.

“And then of course, the old golf house became the Kalamunda Learning Centre, which is one of the longest running learning centres in Western Australia.”

The Kalamunda Learning Centre was named Hoch Heim, after Jacob Schmitt’s original orchard home.

Joy McGilvray, with the native Bookleaf plant. Credit Rachel Neumann

Joy McGilvray, with the native Bookleaf plant. Photo: Rachel Neumann

Today Jorgensen Park is host to a large array of wild flora and birdlife, easily accessible to the public.

The Friends of Jorgensen Park is a group of Kalamunda residents that maintain the park by weeding and planting native plants so visitors can fully enjoy what WA wildlife has to offer.

Friends of Jorgensen Park coordinator Joy McGilvray said she started the group after noticing profuse weed growth in the park.

“We started up about five years ago, I’ve been walking in this park for a long time, and I noticed that over the years there was a lot of tagasaste, or tree lucerne, invading the remanent bushland,” Mrs McGilvray said.

As well as tagasaste, the dieback disease is also found in the park.

“It’s water-borne so it gets into the soil and attacks the roots of the trees, and then it carries on down slopes,” Mrs McGilvray said.

Peter and Kathleen Gilson walking their dog Brandy in the park. Credit: Rachel Neumann

Peter and Kathleen Gilson walking their dog Brandy in the park. Photo: Rachel Neumann

Visitors are encouraged to scrub their shoes before they leave the park, to stop dieback spreading.

Kalamunda resident Peter Gilson said Jorgensen Park was one-of-a-kind.

“I’ve been coming up here for 20 years,” Mr Gilson said.

“A lot of people are coming because there is no other park in the Perth metropolitan area where you can walk around with your dog like this.”

From left-to-right: Andrew Crawford, Leoni Monks, Caitlin Crawford, Hayley Monks, Kelly Monks and Kye Monks, enjoying a picnic in the park on Caitlin's birthday. Credit: Rachel Neumann

Andrew Crawford, Leonie Monks, Caitlin Crawford, Gerard Monks, Hayley Monks, , Kelly Monks and Kai Monks with their dog Indra, enjoying a picnic in the park.  Photo: Rachel Neumann

Cyclist Jared Monks said the network of trails was one of the reasons he visits.

“I myself come regularly, I walk my dog here and I’m a mountain biker, so we use it as a path, to cover trails,” Mr Monks said.

Joy McGilvray said the Friends of Jorgensen Park Group was a way for her to give back to the community.

“I’ve had a lot of enjoyment from this park, I’ve walked two different dogs successively who have been able to run free, I’ve walked up here by myself, I’ve enjoyed the flowers, and the birds and meeting people,” she said.

“I’ve got a lot from it, so I’m trying to give something back.”

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