Stark Park and Bridger Park

About

Stark and Bridger Parks provide a charming and restful centrepiece to Eltham’s historic retail precinct.

The younger of the two, Stark Park commemorates local icon Jack Stark and is built on the site of a grocery business established by Jack in 1945. The store was demolished after a fire and the site served as a car park for many years, though a remnant of the original building remains to form Stark Park’s northern wall.

Opened in December 2005, nine months before Jack’s death, Stark Park was the first project by landscape architect Alice Cullen. The design inspiration was Eltham as “the town of firsts” and the park’s grassed area is in the shape of an eye, representing the eye of the firsts. The park also features several distinctive mosaics.

Bridger Park, named after Ira Bridger, Eltham Mayor from 1923 to 1938, is a pleasant valley park that straddles the Manawharawhara Stream. Originally a wasteland of blackberry and tangled willows, it was transformed into an attractive park as a project devised by Mr Bridger to provide work for the unemployed during the depression. With predominantly native planting, the park is especially attractive when the kowhai are in bloom in early spring.

A small amphitheatre provides an occasional setting for concerts and other entertainment and the park is a popular picnic venue. The children’s Toy Wall is a bizarrely beautiful artwork began in 1997 when the late Fay Young, a long term employee of Jack Stark, found a child’s toy car on the ground outside her home. She put the toy on a concrete wall for the child to find, but when the unclaimed toy kept falling off, she cemented it on. After that, other children asked her to add their toys to the wall and even after her death in 2000, the wall’s collection has continued to grow. A photograph of Fay Young is attached to the roof of a dolls’-house-sized church built in the shrubbery behind the wall. Inside is an urn holding her ashes. 

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Physical Address

Bridge Street Eltham

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