Historic reserve redeveloped

Sunbury MP Josh Bull, Melton mayor Kathy Majdlik, and Melton councillor Lara Carli. (Supplied)

By Oliver Lees

The Stan Payne Reserve is ready for lift off following a redevelopment of the historic site by Melton council.

Located at the entrance of the Diggers Rest township, the reserve is known for being the launch site of the first powered flight in Australia by famous escape artist Harry Houdini on March 18, 1910.

Sunbury MP Josh Bull officially opened the reserve on March 19 following the $800,000 development, which includes new signage to inform guests of the site’s history and improved shelters.

The Victorian government provided $400,000 toward the project from the 2018-19 round of the Growing Suburbs Fund, while Melton council contributed the other half.

Mr Bull said he’s glad to see the delivery of new projects like these in the Sunbury area.

“The new‐look Stan Payne Reserve is a great new place for children to play and be active and residents to gather to be more connected to their community and its history,” he said.

The Growing Suburbs Fund has invested over $30 million into the Melton council area since 2015, including the development of the Eynesbury Early Learning Centre.

According to records kept by Museums Victoria Collections, Houdini’s historic flight included a singular lap of the paddock.