Friends of Blackwood Forest Recreation Park – Manager’s Office Restoration

By Friends of Blackwood Forest

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The Park's Origins

The Blackwood Forest Recreation Park is situated in the southern Adelaide Hills suburb of Hawthorndene. This 52a/ 21ha site, now permanent open space, was originally established as a Government Experimental Orchard in the early 1900's. Over 4,100 distinct varieties of fruit trees were planted (thought to be the biggest collection in the world at that time) and a wide variety of trials and tests were conducted on fruiting, fertilizer usage, pruning and cold storage.The works carried out here played a crucial role in the development of horticulture in South Australia. The Experimental Orchard continued to operate on this site till the mid-1960's when the land was returned to the Crown. Through the 1980's and 90's, the State Government put forward plans to sell off the land for housing however sustained community pressure finally saw the area proclaimed as a Recreation Park under the management of the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) in November 2001.

Evidence of this site's rich horticultural history is present in the dry stone walling; remnant fruit trees which have survived clearances, droughts and neglect and are still fruiting over 100yrs later; and the Manager's Office.

…And the 'Forest' bit?
Stands ofPinus radiata were planted on the eastern side of the property in the 1960's and 1970's and these ageing pines cover about 1/3 of the land.

Our Project

The quaint Office Building – constructed from local stone – is the only building left standing on the site. It is structurally sound but is in a sadly neglected state, currently unusable and needing heaps of TLC! The exterior of the building is 'Locally Heritage Listed' and this dictates the standard of any external restoration work. It has fallen to the Friends group and the community to fund the restoration of this building. It was, however, the power and the sustained pressure of the community that saved this land as open space for the enjoyment of all …so all things are possible!

We want to restore the Manager's Office so it can be used for community events and to protect its heritage value.

What's Required?

If this building is not restored it will continue to deteriorate, be vandalised and perhaps suffer the fate of the c1911 Manager's House which stood on the property until it was destroyed by fire and subsequently demolished. We see the value of restoring this building for community use (functions, displays).

This restoration will require:
  • Roof and gutter replacement $ 4,500
  • Floor and skirting board replacement $ 6,400
  • Repair windows and internal plastering $ 2,500
    Replace timber fireplace $600
    Total estimated cost $14,000

Note: We will do the restoration bit by bit based on the funds we raise starting with the roof and guttering which has to be done to a heritage standard and is subject to a separate quote. The rest is based on another quote we received and we are looking at alternatives to get the work done in the most economical way possible, particularly the floor.

Please help us give back to the community and preserve a piece of South Australia's horticultural history!

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Team Members

Glen Phillips

Mark & Jenny Pedlar

David Bartie

Debbie Reynolds

Denise Martin

Jackie Taylor

Kevin Jeffries

Tricia Paterson