Thursday, 23 July 2009

B.J Wallis Gardens and the Lily Pond at Pakenham

Near the Cardinia Shire Offices, in Henty Way, at Pakenham are the B.J. Wallis Gardens, created from an old quarry, and the Lily pond, which is off Duncan Drive. The B.J. Wallis Gardens were officially opened on May 30th 1993 by the Shire President, Cr Bill Ronald.

The old quarry before the gardens were complete. The Lily pond is on the right, towards the top of the photograph.

The gardens were named in honour of the Shire Secretary, Barry John Wallis. Mr Wallis was Shire Secretary of the Shire of Berwick from 1966 until 1973 and the Shire of Pakenham from 1973 until 1982. A report in the Pakenham Gazette of June 2nd, 1993 which covered the opening of the Gardens mentioned that Barry Wallis grew up in Pakenham and regularly visited the quarry as a child and that during the construction of the Shire Offices (officially opened July 28th 1983) he recognised the potential of the quarry to become a landscaped garden. The Gardens now include a rotunda and a series of walking tracks.

The B.J Wallis Gardens, shortly after completion.

The gardens were created around a quarry, originally owned by Thomas Henty of Pakenham Park. Thomas was the grandchild of Thomas and Frances Henty, who with their children James, Charles, William, Edward, Stephen, John, Francis and Jane had arrived in various Australian colonies from 1829 to 1832.

Thomas Henty was born in Launceston in 1836 to James and his wife Charlotte (nee Carter). Thomas purchased the property Pakenham Park from Dr James Bathe in 1865. Henty was a member of the Berwick Shire Council from 1866, and Shire President on two occasions from 1869-1872 and 1873-74, and from 1884 to 1887 he was a member of the Legislative Council. He married Lucy Pinnock in 1869 and they had eight sons and two daughters. The first regular Church of England services in Pakenham were held at Pakenham Park and Thomas Henty purchased six acres of land in 1871 for the ‘old’ Church of England, on the corner of Main Street and McGregor Road. He also laid the foundation stone for the building on December 7th 1883. He named the Church St James, in honour of his father. The first service at the Church was held in May 1884.

After Thomas Henty died in 1887 the land was taken over by his son, James Reginald Henty, who retained the homestead block until he died in 1929. James Henty enlisted in the Boer War, was a Berwick Shire Coucillor and Shire President 1913-1914. A boulder, near the Shire Offices, marks the place were his ashes were scattered. After Henty died the land was purchased in 1932 by Frank and Evelyn Duncan, after whom Duncan Road is named.

A view of the Rotunda and Quarry walls, taken shortly after completion.

Henty’s quarry supplied stone used for the construction of the Melbourne to Sale railway line. The Oakleigh to Bunyip section opened October 1877. During the construction of the line a canvas town developed on Henty’s hill, with a population estimated at 400. The men worked on the line and worked in the quarry.

The Lily Pond was also part of Henty land and was originally of eight acres (around 3.2 hectres). It is pictured below in 1929.

These photographs were taken in 1929.
The original inscription on the photograph above is The dam at Pakenham.
The original inscription on the photograph below is Seddon gathering lilies, Pakenham Park dam.


Michelle McLean said...


Thanks for taking us for walks through our local history. I really enjoy the way you write and the insight you give us into our local areas. Keep up the good work!


Anonymous said...

Great to read the history of both the Barry Wallis garden and the Lily pond, I discovered the garden 12 months ago but used to drop a friend of to the Lily Pond centre to do her patchwork brings back fond memories of Barry who my husband played cricket with and my late friend Helen Sterk of Officer..Thank you great history reading..