The park's history
During the late 1880s the area now known as Emerald Lake Park (about 50 hectares) was purchased by Carl Axel Nobelius to form part of his plant nursery holdings. During the early 1900s, Nobelius cleared the land and planted fruit and ornamental trees for sale both within Australia and overseas. During its heyday, the nursery employed 80 people and produced up to 3,000,000 trees and shrubs.
When this business was no longer financially viable, Nobelius cleared and cut most of the trees and planted New Zealand flax suitable for producing rope and twine. From 1913 to 1926, a processing mill at the park prepared the raw fibre for transporting to rope manufacturers, until cheap imports pushed the product off the market and Nobelius was forced to abandon the enterprise.
Despite the work and clearing that took place, Nobelius took great pains to maintain the ecology of the stream that ran though the property and as a result many of the original tree ferns remain and are a feature of the park today.
After Nobelius’ death in 1921 the park area, together with the other properties of the nursery, were sold to William Henry Treganowan who established a syndicate known as Nobelius Station Estates, which carried on nursery production until finally selling out in the late 1940s.
During the syndicate period, Nobelius’ son (AV Nobelius) and a surveyor named Webb, encouraged Treganowan and the syndicate to develop the area as a park and these two men supervised the development of the area. After two aborted attempts to establish a lake due to engineering and financial difficulties, the syndicate abandoned the idea.
During 1934-40, a lake of more than 3.5 acres was eventually established by the Fern Tree Gully Shire Council and became known as Lake Treganowan.
Through the Emerald local progress association, the people of Emerald pressured the Fern Tree Gully and Berwick councils to approach the then State Government to acquire the area and develop the park. This was finally successful in 1939 and Fern Tree Gully Shire Council took over management of the park which opened to the public in 1941.
When Fern Tree Gully Shire was divided in 1966, management of the park passed to Sherbrooke Shire Council. With further local government amalgamations, it has now become the responsibility of Cardinia Shire Council.
Between 1960 and 1976, as a result of a small nursery being established within the park, many imported and native trees and shrubs were planted out in large areas so that today, the park contains well-established specimens of conifers, maples, elms, poplars, oaks, chestnuts, hawthorns, wattles, and camellias, as well as shrubs such as rhododendrons, berteris, and native mints. Areas of native bush are also protected and allowed to flourish.