Heritage revisited as site returns to its natural roots

March 11, 2015 by  

A joint $5.5 million redevelopment programme in the heart of Melbourne, Victoria, has culminated with the opening of a new-look Royal Park.

In a project aimed at returning the entire 139-year-old park into open space and parkland, the former site of the Royal Children’s Hospital has been converted back into its natural environment.

The reinstated parkland, which includes a nature play area, was officially opened by Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, State Premier Daniel Andrews, Lisa Neville from Climate Change, and Water and Health Minister Jill Hennessey.

Mayor Doyle said the opening marked five years of work, including consultation with the community to achieve the ultimate goal of returning the site to its natural state.

In so doing, he said, the natural setting also incorporated an area for children to play with such features as swings, a rocky sloped area with slides, and a climbing forest.

The mayor described the new attraction as a welcoming gateway to what has been returned to a 170-hectare Royal Park.

The connection with the parkland of traditional owners has been honoured by the use of designs that reflect all of the seven Wurundjeri seasons.

The introduction of 17,500 plants, grasses, shrubs and 1,100 trees – and the establishment of barbecues, picnic tables and drinking fountains, along with postcard printing to promote the newly redeveloped site – is expected to boost visitors to Royal Park for many years to come, according to the mayor.