On Thursday 16 November, a celebration was held at On Statenborough retirement living to recognise the regeneration of the Michael Perry Botanic Reserve in Stonyfell.
Mr Michael Perry AM, for whom the reserve is named, was the special guest of honour. A former City of Burnside Councillor, Mayor, and Alderman, Mr Perry now resides at On Statenborough.
The event was attended by almost 100 On Statenborough residents, Resthaven staff, City of Burnside Mayor, Anne Monceaux, City of Burnside CEO, Chris Crowley, senior council staff, councillors, and volunteers who had been involved in the regeneration.
On Statenborough Social Club member, Julie Willams, who MC’d the event in style, says, ‘I often go walking in the Michael Perry Botanic Reserve, which is a “hidden gem” of Burnside.’
‘It was on one of my walks that I met Councillor Jane Davey, and we talked about the regeneration of the reserve, and I mentioned that Michael Perry was living at On Statenborough.’
‘This sparked the idea to celebrate the revegetation and the man after whom the reserve is named.’
Dr Mark Ellis, Technical Officer for Conservation and Land Management with the City of Burnside, gave a speech at the event, where he explained the regeneration process. He explains, ‘The Michael Perry Botanic Reserve, which opened on 8 March 1980, is a small wonderland that we’ve been working hard to restore to its former glory since 2019.’
‘The garden had fallen into disrepair, with woody weeds and other feral species taking over, and many of the stately trees reaching the end of their natural lives.’
‘Volunteers have cleared weeds and planted over 250 species of specimen trees and plants to ensure that the garden and its unique environment will continue to grow and retain its status as a very special place in Burnside.’
It was fitting that prior to the morning tea, On Statenborough residents enjoyed a guided walk through the reserve with Dr Ellis, who proudly explained the new signage and other items of interest.
It was a wonderful tribute to both the Council for regenerating the reserve, and Michael Perry, who said, ‘I’m quite overwhelmed by all the attention, but I do believe you should try to contribute and serve the community, rather than sit back.’
Mr Perry became a councillor with the City of Burnside when he was only 26 years of age, in 1959. Overall, he served on council for 19 years, as a Councillor, Alderman and Mayor (from 1973–1975), which was, as he recalls, ‘a great honour.’
On 26 January 1983, Mr Perry was appointed a member in the general division of the Order of Australia for service to industry and the community.
Mr Perry and his wife of 47 years, Janine, moved to On Statenborough in 2012. Michael says, ‘It’s the best move we ever did. We enjoy the lifestyle here—it’s a new life, with great people. I’m glad we moved here when we did.’