The Evolution of Melbourne’s Gardens: From Colonial Times to Today

5 mins read
melbourne house and gardens

Melbourne is known for its beautifully landscaped gardens and parks. These verdant spaces offer city dwellers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life and immerse themselves in nature. From royal botanic gardens to hidden green oases, Melbourne’s gardens tell the story of the city’s evolution and offer a glimpse into the past.

Melbourne’s garden culture dates back to the colonial era when European settlers first arrived in the area. The settlers brought with them a love of gardening and a desire to create a familiar landscape in their new surroundings. With time, these gardens evolved, reflecting the changing tastes and styles of the city’s diverse population. Today, Melbourne’s gardens are a testament to the city’s rich history and a point of pride for its residents.

Colonial Roots: Melbourne’s First Gardens

During the early colonial era, gardens in Melbourne were primarily functional spaces used to grow food and medicinal plants for the growing population. The first Europeans to arrive in the area lived in tents and temporary shelters, and it wasn’t until the early 1830s that permanent structures began to appear. These early pioneers were determined to create a sense of familiarity in their new home, and gardens played an essential role in this process. In the mid-1830s, Melbourne’s first botanic garden was established in the heart of the city. This garden, now known as the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, became a central hub for horticultural education and scientific research.

Melbourne’s Golden Age of Gardening

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were the golden age of gardening in Melbourne. Beautifully landscaped gardens, with sweeping lawns, exotic plants, and interesting topiary, became the symbols of wealth and status. Many of Melbourne’s finest gardens were built during this era, including the Fitzroy Gardens, which were designed in the late 1860s. The Gardens Boathouse and Observatory were both built in the 1870s and provide stunning examples of Victorian architecture. The Queen Victoria Gardens, located in front of the National Gallery of Victoria, were established in the late 19th century as a tribute to the British monarch.

Post-War Era and Beyond

Following World War II, Melbourne experienced rapid growth and urbanization. Many of the city’s gardens were threatened with demolition, but thanks to the efforts of dedicated groups and individuals, most were saved. During the post-war era, community gardens and allotments became popular as people found ways to grow their food in small spaces. The Carlton Gardens, which were established in the 1850s, underwent a significant renovation in the 1990s and now feature several historical landmarks, including the Royal Exhibition Building and The Melbourne Museum.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most famous gardens in Melbourne?

  • Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – Home to over 8,500 plant species from around the world.
  • Fitzroy Gardens – A beautifully landscaped park with walking paths, lawns, and historic landmarks.
  • Carlton Gardens – A UNESCO World Heritage Site that features several historical landmarks, including the Royal Exhibition Building and The Melbourne Museum.

What is the best time of year to visit Melbourne’s gardens?

Melbourne’s gardens are beautiful year-round, but spring and autumn are the best times to visit. In spring, the gardens come alive with blooming flowers and trees, while autumn offers a riot of colors, as the leaves change to orange, red, and gold.

How can I support Melbourne’s gardens and plant life?

There are many ways to support Melbourne’s gardens and plant life, including volunteering at community gardens, supporting conservation efforts, and visiting local parks and botanic gardens. Additionally, consider planting native species in your garden or on your balcony to provide habitat for local wildlife.

Is it possible to buy a house near Melbourne’s gardens?

Yes, it is possible to buy a house near Melbourne’s gardens. If you are interested in purchasing a home in Melbourne, you can refer to this Guide to Buying a House in Melbourne for more information.


Melbourne’s gardens offer a glimpse into the city’s past and tell the story of its evolution. From colonial-era gardens to modern community allotments, these green spaces are a vital part of Melbourne’s culture and identity. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, a visit to one of these gardens is a must-do experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog