Sunday 26 February 2012


Fairfield Boathouse was established in 1908 by John St Clair as a picnic, camping and refreshment room area. John St Clair was a piano tuner from Smith St, Fitzroy, with a vision. He firstly wrote a letter to the Premier suggesting that he open a refreshment room and boat shed area, with motor boats at Fairfield Park. The Premier had to seek the approval form Yarra Bend Hospital of the Insane because the proposal for the boat shed was actually on the hospital grounds. The Premier gave his permission for the boat shed project to go ahead.

Mr St Clair built the boat shed and six years later Fairfield Park was set aside from the same grounds. However Mr St Clair had seven troubled years with Crown Bailiffs over building permits. Eventually in 1915 the Heidelberg council bought him out. In 1923 the boathouse was raised by 12 feet to help minimise flood damage, a frequent threat to boathouses along the Yarra. Boat and canoe carnivals and open air carnivals were common sights at Fairfield until the 1950’s. Boating popularity declined until finally the Fairfield boathouse was closed in 1980 as it was declared unfit for human habitation.

In 1985 the boathouse was restored and re-opened. The derelict building had recently housed squatters and possums. The project took 30,000 hours of restoration work. Meticulous work and an eye for detail was required for rebuilding. Even the gardens have been restored to encourage native birds. It now enjoys renewed popularity and is a pleasure to visit.

This post is part of the Scenic Sunday meme,
and also the Sunday Bridges meme.

View of the Fairfield Pipe Bridge from theBoathouse. This can also be used by pedestrians and cyclists following the Yarra trail
Boating and kayaking along this stretch of the Yarra are very popular
The Fairfield Boathouse
The Boathouse has been beautifully restored
A variety of refreshments and light meals can be had at the Fairfield Boathouse. Those who wish to have picnics or barbeques are also accommodated in the surrounding parklands

This impressive bluestone Amphitheatre, set in the midst of Fairfield Park, is an great venue for performances and ceremonies.   The Amphitheatre can accommodate up to 350 people
Good to know that Fairfield Park has its own mailbox so you can write it a letter!


  1. This looks like a fun place. I'm working on my letter now. ;)

  2. What a lovely, fun looking place indeed, Nick! Such a wonderful boathouse! Would love to visit there! Your captures are terrific as always! Hope your weekend is going well!


  3. Looks like an amazing place.

  4. A fine addtion to Sunday Bridges! «Louis» appreciates your participation!

  5. What a beautiful place and I love that bridge

  6. What a fantastic restoration Nick. How fantastic that this once derelict place is now catering to so many diverse recreations! I've always loved old boathouses and this one is a beauty.

  7. Another great place to see, Nick. Thank you for sharing.
    Have a nice week.

  8. What a lovely place. The boathouse itself is a beautiful structure. Very, very nice.

  9. What a beautiful place, looks like a great place for the family to spend the day and have some fun! Love the bridge and the scenery! Great photos. Happy Sunday!

  10. A gorgeous boathouse - glad it was restored!

  11. This looks like a wonderful place for an outing. Sometimes I carry around a letter I need to post so that mail box would come in handy, lol.

  12. U happy with the result today with k Rudd?

  13. Beautiful place.

    Regards and best wishes


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