Willunga Recreation Park, Main Road, Willunga

Willunga Recreation Park is the area of land bounded by Main Road, Aldinga Road, Railway Terrace and the Willunga Primary School. It includes the oval, tennis/netball courts, the Show Hall, Festival Hall and Community Centre, the old Police Station at 3 Main Road and the market areas, but excludes the Coast and Vines Pentecostal Church building on Aldinga Road.

The idea for such a park in Willunga was conceived in 1855 when the first Willunga Show was held on the land later earmarked for the Recreation Park. In 1875 a meeting of residents determined that a public park be provided for the use of local residents and, in January 1876, eight (8) acres of land was purchased from Mrs Pethick for the sum of 96 pounds ($192). This land eventually became known as Willunga Recreation Park. In 1876 the oval was established and the Show Hall was built for 360 pounds ($720), followed by the oval pavilion in 1903.

The Almond Blossom Festival began in 1969, with the aim of raising funds to build the Festival Hall, which was opened in 1979. Willunga Recreation Park has maintained its status as a multi-purpose park for the use of the residents of Willunga. Its management is the responsibility of the Willunga Recreation Park Incorporated (WRPI) volunteer committee on behalf of the community.

The Recreation Park is “home” for many sporting clubs, markets, service and social organisations. These include the Willunga Football, Netball, Tennis, Cricket, Basketball and Table Tennis sporting clubs, the Willunga Quarry, Green Light and Artisan markets, Willunga Girl Guides, Meals on Wheels, Willunga RSL and CWA, Cinemallunga and 2nd Friday Film Club. Part of the land is leased to Willunga CFS and the park is designated as an emergency centre when the need arises, as was the case with the fires in the Willunga Hills. It also provides sporting and Festival Hall facilities for the Willunga Primary School.

The annual operating costs of the Recreation Park are over $100,000, with the necessary funds coming from several sources. These include hire and rental income from the clubs and primary school, rental from the lease of the two WRPI properties (the former Police Station at 3 Main Road and 11 Main Road), casual hire fees, grant income (if applications are successful) and the funds raised from the Almond Blossom Festival. In addition to providing vital funds for the Recreation Park, the Fair and ball provide opportunities for clubs, organisations and businesses to fundraise and benefit from these events.

Some of the buildings in the Recreation Park complex are on the City of Onkaparinga’s local heritage list (SA Heritage Places database #5392 # 5393)

References:

2016 Dempsey, Brian, Willunga Recreation Park Newsletter, February 2016.

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