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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 Henry Norval Edwards who was Mayor of Port Melbourne in 1884 to 1885. He was first elected to the Council in 1883 and retired in 1907.  At the time of his Council service, the lagoon was ‘a murky stream’.

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

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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PMHPS acknowledges the generous support of the City of Port Phillip.


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Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and work, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.