The 59-acre Edinburgh Gardens located at North Fitzroy is bound by Brunswick Street, St Georges Road, Alfred Crescent, Jamieson Street, Queens Parade, Napier Street and Freeman Street. The park has a shape closely resembling an oval.
Alfred Crescent and W.T. Peterson ovals are located within the park.
Alcohol may be consumed at the park between 9am and 9pm which attracts young people on weekends to hang around. Moreover, the park has many sporting facilities like a basketball court, tennis court, footy ovals, skate ring and lawn bowls along with picnic facilities. The children’s playground at the south of the gardens is fenced making it safer. Consumption of Alcohol is banned at the park from 9pm the day before New Year’s Eve until 9am on January 1.
The gardens are located at 3 minutes walking distance from Rushall Station.
Location: Edinburgh Gardens, Alfred Crescent, Fitzroy North
Facilities at the Garden
2 Children’s playgrounds, BBQ, drinking fountains, Public toilets, basketball court, Skate facility, 2x Football/ Cricket grounds, Bandstand rotunda, Tennis courts, picnic tables, pavilions, dog off leash area.
Edinburgh Gardens is wheelchair accessible, including an accessible toilet and parking.
Designated areas at the park are available for hire. Details can be found here https://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/facilities/edinburgh-gardens
History of the Gardens
In 1862, Fitzroy Council requested for around 50 acres of land where Edinburgh Gardens now stands to be reserved for public recreation as an alternative to the triangular site near Heidelberg Road which was temporarily reserved for public recreation in 1859. The Lands department rejected the application siting reserve came within the line of fire of the nearby rifle butts used by the Collingwood Volunteer Rifles.
Clement Hodgkinson, who was Victorian Assistant Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey from 1861 to 1874, took an active interest in the matter and as per his directions, the size and boundaries of the reserve were altered and the newly laid out site was temporarily reserved for public recreation in March 1862.
In 1862, a request by Collingwood Commercial Cricket Club to use part of the park to play cricket was granted and was given permissive occupancy of 9 acres of the reserve. In 1863 The Prince of Wales Cricket Club was given permissive occupancy of 6 acres, south of the Collingwood Commercial Cricket Club’s land grant. 1872, when both the cricket clubs amalgamated, the new entity was given permissive occupancy of the combined site of 15 acres. The southern oval became the main ground and the northern oval was removed before 1900.
On 12 March 1868, Henry James O’Farrell shot and wounded Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria when he was on a royal tour of Australia. It is assumed, this incident has prompted the naming of the garden as “Edinburgh Gardens” at around the same time.
On 24 October 1881, the land was permanently reserved as a site for a public park and gardens and in 1883, a smaller section at the northern end of the gardens were also permanently reserved for the purpose.
In 1883, Fitzroy Football Club was formed, and the club negotiated with the cricket club to share the oval in Edinburgh Gardens. The same year, a Committee for Management of Gardens was also appointed. The Committee initiated the planting of the avenue of trees soon after taking charge of the gardens. During this period, part of the Gardens was used by the council to dump rubbish and garbage. In 1877, the North Fitzroy Bowling Club built two rinks in the Gardens.
From 1884 to 1888, railway construction work was going on through the gardens for the Royal Park to Clifton Hill and Fitzroy Branch lines. The four-kilometre-long Inner Circle line, which runs from Spencer Street Station via Royal Park to three new stations in North Carlton and North Fitzroy.
Following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, George Godfrey MLC presented a commemorative statue to the people of Fitzroy which was installed at the Edinburgh Gardens. The statue was mounted on a decorate base situated amidst cabbage palms and roses. Statue of Queen Victoria in a typical pose carried the orb and sceptre of royalty. After a tumble the statue went missing and never replaced. Today, instead of Queen Victoria stands Kathy Holowko’s “The Unsung Hero” which is a humble earthworm.
A bandstand rotunda was built at the gardens in 1925 by the City of Fitzroy as a memorial to those who served in the First World War. The rotunda was designed by Edward Twentyman, founder of the architectural firm Twentyman and Askew. In 1948 a ladies bowling green was established at the Gardens.
In 1956, The National Can Industries Ltd (NCI) established a factory in the southern half of Edinburgh Gardens. The same year Inner Circle line was briefly re-opened for the Olympic Games, as some events were held at Princes Park.
By 1981, the final remaining line, through Edinburgh Gardens to the Fitzroy Goods yard was closed and by 1983, VicRail began removing the rails and the sleepers from the now-defunct line. The railway track was remade as bicycle and pedestrian pathway and the area south of the railway footbridge was redeveloped as public housing.
In 1996 The National Can Industries (NCI) factory in the Edinburgh Gardens was demolished to extend the parkland.
Though the Gardens are not included on the Victorian Heritage Register, Fitzroy Cricket Ground Grandstand is included as a building of state significance in the register (VHR No H751).