Parklands Board and staff are saddened by the passing of Merv Corkett, whom we knew as a lover of nature and of his community. Merv was a passionate and constant volunteer in his beloved local West Albury reserve, which he helped to transform from wasteland into what is now Padman-Mates Park.
Padman – Mates Park was Merv’s home, quite literally, all of his life. Merv grew up in one of the houses that were built on the miners leases that are now incorporated into Padman – Mates Park. These miner’s leases were eventually abandoned and the land gifted to the community into perpetuity.
Back in Merv’s youth there was no power, just kerosene lamps. Rainwater tanks were the sole source of water for all household use, as well as watering the extensive orchards and vegetable patches. Merv would recall to us the regular visits by the dunny horse and cart, emptying the buckets in the outdoor loos.
Living down by the river was an ideal life. Merv spent much time perched out over the river on one of the two ‘leany trees’ and leaping into the Murray River on the popular rope swings.
Over the years, the area had become an impenetrable ramble of woody weeds and rubbish. When the Friends of Padman – Mates Park was established in 2000, Merv was there with many of the local residents, keen to clean up the weeds, rubbish and bring this abandoned area back to life for the wider Albury community.
For the next two decades, Merv worked away at Padman – Mates Park every week, plugging away by himself or alongside volunteers, community groups and Parklands Rangers, cutting and removing environmental woody weeds, maintaining tracks between the old house blocks, planting, burning woody weed piles and generally bringing this magnificent patch back to a higher quality bushland for all to enjoy.
Thank you Merv for sharing your passion, time, memories and immense love for Padman – Mates Park. We are all the richer for the legacy that you have left for future generations to enjoy.