Williamstown Botanic Garden is one of the oldest Botanic Gardens in Victoria. The Gardens strong Edwardian character is enhanced by its impressive central palm avenue and the frame work of layouts. But compared to other major gardens in Melbourne, Williamstown Garden lacks in design sophistication and gives an impression of many years of neglect.
Four hectares of land was set aside for a public garden in 1856, after intense lobbying from the people of Williamstown. The garden was designed by eminent 19th century landscape designer Edward La Trobe Bateman and initially plants and planting advise were given by first director of Royal Botanic Gardens Ferdinand von Mueller. The design was implemented by municipal surveyor William Bull. The gardens were formally opened on 2nd January 1860.
The first curator of the park Mr S. Thake was instrumental in the construction of the ornamental lake in 1904 and the installation of iron entrance gates. In 1907 the iron gates were purchased from the executor of Mr Fitzgibbon, former owner of Fairlie, South Yarra. The Gates were manufactured by the famous W. Macfarlane and Co, at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow.
The northern half of the garden consists of open lawns and mature trees planted in a pattern with paths in-between. It has a colourful mix of palms, evergreen exotics and decorative shrubs. The Southern part known Pinetum mainly have mature pines and Cypresses. The park has a few park benches and picnic tables.
A marble statue of Alfred Thomas Clarke stands at the end of the main axial path, which was erected on 18th July 1891. Originally New Zealand Cabbage trees were planted at both sides of the main axial path. In 1915, it was replanted with Washington Palms and in 1988 it was again replanted.
A water drinking fountain was installed in 1906 near the lake for the commemoration of the jubilee of the municipality. Apart from having a family picnic and a stroll through the garden, there are not many activities suitable for the Garden. The proposed future changes include giving a focus to the botanical nature of the park.
Address: Corner Osborne St & Giffard St, Williamstown, VIC