Mossvale Park this Winter hasn’t been quite as interesting as in previous years, or else I’m just becoming used to the way it changes year in and year out. While it’s said that familiarity breeds contempt, I certainly have no contempt for Mossvale Park as it’s one of those rare places that isn’t a regular park, nor is it a botanical garden despite all of its historic trees. It’s a nice mix of perhaps both, especially as you can enjoy it year in and year out without the restrictions and regulations that normally accompany anything closer to Melbourne. I guess given the location of Mossvale Park, trying to regulate it in the way many other parks are regulated would be kind of a lost cause because of the way nature treats it at least once every year. With the Tarwin River West Branch circling the park, I’m not sure that there exists any other park in Victoria that gets such a thorough wash every year without fail.
Now towards the end of Winter this year, we had a substantial amount of rainfall over a few days and that naturally flooded Mossvale Park once again. The flooding was about on par with previous floods over the years, but it’s always interesting to watch the water flow and the way that the park floods when the river overflows its banks. This year provided some interesting views, as the flooding is never the same between years, and I also managed to get some interesting video for a change. I was hoping to use my tripod for some steady panning etc, but the ground was very soft and the water quite deep in places such that there was no way that I could place the tripod where I wanted. So I ended up hand holding my camera rig which did induce a bit of wobble in the video, though nothing really bad overall.
A few days later the park was looking almost normal with a few pools remaining about and quite a lot of debris caught amongst the posts and rails, and under seats and tables. It’s quite surprising how quickly the water had subsided, as I was expecting far more to be lying about. The river had also fallen quite a bit, so I wonder whether a low tide or something had helped to move the water on faster than it normally would. Now we’re quite some distance from the ocean; however, as these smaller branches of the Tarwin River all flow into the Tarwin River proper, the pull of a low tide may still make itself felt even over such distances. Whatever the case, the water was down such that you could walk pretty much anywhere over the park, though it was still quite soggy and soft underfoot (that’s why gumboots are the go in Winter).
But then the rains came back a day later and all that changed once again. This time I think the park was the fullest that I’ve ever seen, with only a few parts still above the waterline and rivulets flowing across the road in places that I’d not seen in other years. There must have been sufficient water still running down the hills and when the latest rainfalls hit, it escalated significantly. And perhaps there was now also a high tide that prevented the water from flowing out, who knows? In fact the entire valley going to Mossvale Park was at the wateriest that I’d ever seen and must have been quite a view going down to Leongatha. Being early morning and ‘peak hour’ I decided not to venture further south. It’s not so much the traffic, which is really not that heavy, but there are simply very few spots along the highway where you can pull over safely and stop to take photographs. The best spots are usually just on a bend or where there’s no road verge available. The latter, unfortunately, is common throughout the area.
As you can see from the previous photographs, the force of the water was severely deforming the gates at the side entrance to the main grounds and I wondered how much more they could take before they broke and floated off. Either way they’ll probably need a bit of repair once the park dries out. So I decided to walk to the highest point of Mossvale Park and get some elevated views of the surrounding water world. The sound stage was under water except for the highest part adjacent to the doorway. A substantial lake had formed right around the main part of the park, going right around to the far end where the river departed the park boundary. The carpark and the playground were still above the waterline, but I doubt anyone not in a 4WD would have attempted the crossing to the carpark. Even some local tradies weren’t prepared to drive the main road to Knockwood Estate in their 4WD ute, until a local from up the hill went through in their 4WD.
If this weather continues and with Spring usually being the wettest part of the year, Mossvale Park may yet see a few more floods. But it’s not only flooding that we’ve had, with the severe winds over the last few weeks, trees have been coming down all over the area, keeping clearing teams busy for many days. We have two very tall dead gum trees in our back yard that need to be cut down, but with the ongoing poor weather, it’s been far to dangerous for any arborist to attempt the task. Given the ongoing wild winds and rain, nature may take over instead.