Yarra Bend Park has been one of Melbourne’s largest expanses of inner suburban parkland for nearly 150 years. Yarra Bend Park and neighbouring Studley Park were reserved in 1877. Both park areas and several reserves were combined in 1929 to create one large park. The combined area became known as Yarra Bend National Park despite never being raised to formal national park status.
During the 1930’s additions included picnic and sporting grounds, toilet facilities and a public golf course. The Yarra Bend Golf Club House, officially opened in May 1936, is an original example of American ‘Country Club’ type architecture. The Park provides a great open space for walking, bike riding, riverside cafes, golf, boating, BBQs, picnicking and a host of other leisure activities.
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.
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 Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.