|Organ Pipes National Park|
|Managing authorities:||Parks Victoria|
|Official site:||Organ Pipes National Park|
The park was established in the year 1972 on what was then degraded farmland around the gully formed by Jacksons Creek in an attempt to reestablish an area of the indigenous vegetation of the district, which has been almost completely lost through farming and urban development. The particular site was chosen because of the presence of several interesting geological features, including the "Organ Pipes" themselves - a pattern of vertical pipe-like rock structures exposed by the erosion of the creek - and a "tesselated pavement", where the rock surface has been split into regular "tiles".
It is also a popular tourist destination as it houses the Organ Pipes, The Tesellated Pavement, the Rosette Rock and much more. There is a Visitors Centre and picnic area next to the car park and short walking tracks down a rather steep hill to Jacksons Creek and the rock features.
Unfortunately the park is under the flight path of Melbourne Airport and adjacent to the Calder Park Raceway so noise can be an unpleasant feature of a visit. The birds and other animals seem to be unaffected by this and an early morning or dusk visit will be rewarded by sightings of Swamp Wallabies and Eastern Grey Kangaroos.
Sedimentary rock and fossils found in the park date back 400 million years, an indication that the area was once a sea. About one million years ago giant lava flows known as a flood basalt spread across the land from surrounding volcanoes. The basalt of the Keilor Plains was created from one of the world's largest lava flows, in places 70 metres thick.
Jacksons Creek, which meets with Deep Creek to become the Maribyrnong River, has slowly worn a deep valley in the basaltic plain revealing the million year old volcanic geological formations such as the hexagonal basalt columns known as the "Organ Pipes". Walking along Jacksons Creek can offer a cool relief even on the hottest days. Water levels can vary greatly with flow stopping entirely in dry summers although there are always numerous deep pools (home to Platypus). There is usually a flood during winter and debris along the bank shows the high water level
Work continues to remove introduced plants and vermin, and reintroduce natural vegetation and wildlife to the park. As of 2002, large areas of trees and shrubbery are beginning to be reestablished, but the natural grasses are yet to reclaim the park. Many native animals, such as the Echidna, Swamp Wallaby and Eastern Grey Kangaroo are beginning to reappear. The Sugar Glider was relocated into the park from Toolern Vale and a very successful bat roosting box project has been underway for 20 years. This is one of many projects run by the Friends of the Organ Pipes National Park.