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Edwards Park

The layout of Edwards Park has adapted to a range of activities over time. The radial paths meeting in the centre create a setting that lends itself well to Port’s current preoccupation with exercise, health and fitness. A playground for children has been a part of Edwards Park from the beginning.

Edwards Park was once part of the tapering Sandridge Lagoon. The Lagoon was a profound shaper of Port’s history, leaving its trace in the street layout of the Esplanades East and West.

A landscape plan for Edwards Park prepared for the City of Port Phillip in 2001 describes the history of Edwards Park in so far as it can be gleaned from Council records. Unlike neighbouring St Vincents Gardens and the St Kilda Botanic Gardens, there is no single designer of Edwards Park.

The land, having been reclaimed from the Lagoon was not suitable for housing. Establishing jurisdiction over the land in the first instance took many years of protracted argument with authorities. Pressure for a children’s playground came early from the Guild of Play reflecting the need for such opportunities for children in Port at that time.

The Canary Island palm trees appear to have been planted some time between 1923 and 1931 – though the exact number and date is not established.

The palm trees have now attained some stature and are a defining feature of the Park. There is concern for their health. It’s hard to imagine a time when the palms were not so tall but this great photograph gives some idea.
image courtesy of Fred Nicholson

Edwards Park is named after Herbert Charles Edwards who was Mayor of Port Melbourne several times during his long service as a Councillor from 1920 to 1959. He was involved in planning the Park.

Recently his son visited Port and was made welcome by members Helen Barry, Don Hossack and Margaret Bride. The visit triggered many memories of growing up in Port.

Mr and Mrs Edwards visit Edwards Park, named after his father


Sources and further information

City of Port Phillip: Statement of significance for Heritage Overlay 448: Edwards Park
Edwards Park: Conservation Analysis and Masterplan: City of Port Phillip November 2001
A History of Port Melbourne Nancy U’Ren and Noel Turnbull

Got something wrong? Left something important out? Have something that would add to our understanding of Edwards Park? Please comment below or contact the Society.

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