Historic 26-hectare site in city centre with model Tudor village, tree-lined walking paths & cafes. Just on the edge of the CBD, or Central Business District, is Fitzroy Gardens. The gardens date back to 1848, when they were set aside as a public space. At the time, the establishment of a beautiful public park was rare, so it is an important reminder of Melbourne’s role as the people’s city and as the garden city. Since Fitzroy Gardens is more than 160 years old, it boasts a number of older, tall trees. Blue gums, willows and elm trees were all popular during the 19th century. Today, you can tour the Victorian landscapes, but you can all see an ornamental lake and even the cottage where James Cook’s parents once lived, which was brought all the way from England to Melbourne.
The layout follows a classic Victorian era design, featuring pathways lined with magnificent elm trees, known to be some of the best grown in Victoria. There are a variety of flowers and ornamental shrubs and trees, which together with extensive lawns creates a diverse and layered landscape. The watercourse that runs through the centre of the gardens is an ephemeral tributary of the Yarra River, Birrarung. The Scarred Tree in the south-east section of the gardens is associated with the pre-colonial use of the area by Aboriginal peoples and it is registered on the Aboriginal Heritage Register. The tree was a redgum, one of a number of remnant redgum found in the gardens. The gardens contain several buildings and structures which are of architectural significance in their own right, including the Band Pavilion (1864), Sinclair’s Cottage (1866) and the Rotunda (1873). Significant twentieth century buildings include the plant manager’s cottage The Lodge (1927), the recently refurbished Spanish mission-style Conservatory (1930) and the Electricity Substation (1940). The Fitzroy Gardens Visitor Centre opened in 2014 and provides tourism information and manages entry to Cooks’ Cottage.