Life of service lives on

George Burden's store in Springvale, pre-1924. Picture: DANDENONG AND DISTRICT HISTORICAL SOCIETY

What’s in a Name delves into the fascinating stories and personalities behind some of the city’s best-known street names and locations. This week the Journal looks at Burden Park.

Springvale South’s Burden Park is named after George Burden who was the longest serving councillor for the City of Springvale.
He was elected in 1913 and remained in the position until his death in 1948, 34 years later.
Mr Burden was on the board that set up greyhound racing at Sandown and was father-in-law to Andrew Ericksen who followed in his footsteps on the council.
He was born at Woodend in 1863. He moved to Springvale and lived there for 56 years.
He was a farmer and then owned a store on the corner of Springvale Road and Balmoral Avenue.
Mr Burden was a justice of the peace and a foundation member of the Springvale Masonic Lodge.
He died at his home in Balmoral Avenue, Springvale, aged 84.
John Boehn bought the land now known as Burden Park in 1854 and it became a scrub area.
In 1923, Crs Burden and Ericksen drew attention to the fact that Mr Boehn and his descendants were nowhere to be seen and that two men had fenced some of the land to use for their own purposes.
According to the Burden Park Bowling Club, the council decided to obtain control of the land and in 1928 received court approval to acquire it for use as a reserve. The cost was $4480.
In 1949, the State Rivers Commission established a migrant camp on the north-west corner, mainly to house central European migrants who were laying water services throughout the growing Springvale area.
Near the camp, trenches about 12 feet wide and 12 feet deep were dug to accommodate waste.
When the trenches were filled in they were covered with about two feet of soil.
The land has been sinking ever since and it is still possible to dig down three feet and bring up perfectly preserved papers.
The Girl Guides used the area for bush camping exercises but until 1958 there was no serious attempt to use the park as a recreational area.
At that time the council set aside one half penny in the pound from the rates as a Sporting Club Development Fund and in 1959 called meetings of interested people to form a bowling club and a tennis club.
The Burden Park Bowling Club came to be.
Residents, community groups and local schools were heavily involved in the establishment of the timber adventure playground in 1994.

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