Flagstaff Gardens is the oldest park in Melbourne, Australia, first established in 1862. The gardens are notable for their historical, horticultural and social significance to the history of the city. The gardens are 7.2 hectares (18 acres) of Crown Land bounded by William, La Trobe, King and Dudley streets, managed by the City of Melbourne.
The Gardens take their name from a flagstaff erected in 1840 at the settlement's highest point, in order to communicate between the harbour and town. This became known as "Flagstaff Hill". Before this, the area was used as a cemetery and was known as Burial Hill. (There is a memorial in the gardens that marks the graves of the first European settlers.) The hill was at such a high point that people going to Flagstaff Hill enjoyed panoramic views of the bay. However, as city buildings rose up around the gardens, the views were blocked out. Today, standing in the gardens, it is hard to imagine that this was such a high point and that it was once possible to see the bay.
The park contains extensive lawns with a variety of mature trees, flowerbeds and wild animals including possums. The southern end is characterised by deciduous trees, while the northern end contains mature eucalypts. Avenues of elms shade pathways along with several large Moreton Bay Fig trees.
The north corner contains a bowling lawn, rose beds, flower and shrub beds. Along William Street there are tennis courts, which also double as volleyball, handball and netball courts. Electric barbecues nearby provide a popular site for office parties in December. Scattered about the lawns and gardens are memorials and sculptures that illuminate some of the social significance of the area. Flagstaff Gardens have been classified by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) and is listed by the Australian Heritage Commission and the Victorian Heritage Register.
This post is part of the Friday Skywatch meme.