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Yarraville Gardens Precinct

James Cuming Memorial

 

Yarraville Gardens precinct is a vast expanse of recreational area situated in the suburb of Yarraville, which comprises of Yarraville Gardens, Barbara Beyer Reserve, Cuming Reserve and Hanmer Reserve.  Adjacent to the gardens is the Yarraville Tennis Club Reserve.

Yarraville, a former industrial town is located just 5km west of Melbourne CBD, in the city of Maribyrnong along with the suburbs of Braybrook, Footscray, Kingsville, Maidstone, Maribyrnong, Seddon, Tottenham, and West Footscray.

The Park precinct is bound by Hyde Street to the west, Harris Street to the north, Whitehall Street to the east and Somerville Road to the south.

Facilities available at the Gardens

  1. Barbecue, picnic tables, public toilets, children’s playground and an outdoor stage. A large lawn area suitable for many activities.
  2. Dogs can be off lead on Greelish Oval except when games in progress and the entire Barbara Beyer Reserve is off-lead area for dogs.
James Cuming Memorial

3.The Park is available for Wedding ceremonies, birthday parties, getogethers’ and other events that gather more than 50 people. Booking can be made through the Maribyrnong Council.

4. Hanmer Reserve has an Oval for Footy, turf cricket wicket, Cricket nets and sports club pavilion. Web: https://www.maribyrnong.vic.gov.au/Parks/Hanmer-Reserve

5. Yarraville Tennis Club which is nearby has eight tennis courts with pavilion. Web: https://www.tennis.com.au/yarravilletc/

Details

Address: Whitehall Street, Yarraville 3013

Web: https://www.maribyrnong.vic.gov.au/Parks/Yarraville-Gardens-precinct

Brief History

The land for a Botanical Garden in Footscray was temporarily reserved on 21st November 1859, described as located on marsh land beside the Yarra River, below its junction with the Saltwater River. There were many quarries in the area on those days. In March 1870, the reserve was leased to Joseph and Solomon Leek for 3 years by the Footscray Borough Council with an agreement to plant 100 trees per year. No progress was made in turning the reserve to a botanic garden, so the council received an ultimatum to return the land to the Land Development Board. After discussions with them on the future of the reserve, in 1874 Council requested to cancel the reservation for Botanical Gardens except for the 19 acres that situated at the Southern side of the reserve, and the balance of the 15 acres to be exchanged for a site closer to Hyde Street. As per the Council’s request, around 25 acres were granted on temporary reservation for public gardens on 30th March 1874. A part of the temporarily reserved land of around 15 acres east of Whitehall Street was revoked in 1897.

The Gardens remained neglected until 1915; the land was fenced, and paths were laid in 1915. In 1916, David Reeves Matthews was appointed as Landscape Gardener. Major works to beautify the garden were taken by David during his tenure. He was responsible for the development of the Gardens until his retirement in 1964.  Around 10 acres of land where Yarraville Gardens stands was permanently reserved for public gardens on 7th February 1964.

Cuming Reserve

Around half an acre was temporarily reserved as Footscray Ornamental Plantation Reserve in 1903. In 1906, industrialist James Cuming offered to beautify the reserve on condition of renaming it as Cuming Reserve. James Cuming Memorial statue by Margaret Baskerville, who is regarded as Australia’s first woman sculpture was first unveiled at Napier Street in Footscray on 14th April 1916 and in the 1960’s it was moved to Hyde Street in Yarraville. It was relocated to the current location in 2001.

Yarraville Gardens and co-joined Hanmer Reserve together, comprises approximately 6.8 hectares. Council acquired Hanmer Reserve in 1933 as a recreational space. Yarraville Tennis Club reserve of 0.8 acres was also acquired by the Council around the same time.

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