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Fitzroy Gardens Melbourne

Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne is famous for its floral displays, fountains, statues, model Tudor village and avenues of large elm trees. The Gardens date back over 150 years and few other capital cities can boast such a significant garden so close to the city centre. The magnificent gardens are visited by over two million local, interstate and international visitors each year and it is one of the major attractions in Melbourne.

Captain Cook’s Cottage lives in Fitzroy Gardens and is an attraction for all ages. It was built for Captain Cook’s parents in 1755 at Great Ayton in England, bought by Sir Russell Grimwade in 1933, dismantled, shipped and rebuilt brick by brick in Melbourne in 1934. There’s the historical side to Cook’s amazing voyages and tragic death in the Discovery Centre; visitors can listen to the sounds of the Cook family sitting down to a meal and hear the excitement when the son, James, returns from his seagoing adventures. The English cottage gardens are lovely for a stroll and the cottage is one of Melbourne’s ‘must dos’.

One of the attractions for children is Ola Cohn’s Fairies Tree with its lovely carvings on the stump of one of the original Red Gum trees (over 300 years old). From 1931 to 1934 Miss Cohn worked on the delightful likenesses of fairies, dwarfs, gnomes, a jackass, koalas, flying foxes and a host of typical Australian animals and birds. She used all the natural irregularities and curves to transform the tree trunk into a thing of beauty.

Sinclair’s Cottage is on the main Elm Avenue. It is a rare example of an Italian Romanesque style and was adopted as a gardener’s cottage for James Sinclair and his family to live in. It is a single story house with a gabled entrance porch with overhanging eaves. Two chimneys dominate the roof and the stables at the back repeat the fine details of the main house in a much simpler fashion.

The Boy on a Turtle bronze sculpture of a child astride the back of a turtle is located in the lower lake. The Mermaid and Fish, and the Boy and the Pelican sculptures are attractive sculptures mounted on sandstone gate posts at the Hotham Street entrance. They are the work of William Leslie Bowles who won first prize with these pieces in the Fitzroy Gardens Sculpture Competition held in 1935.

The Tutor Village is in the centre of the Gardens near the Fairies Tree and, next door, is The Pavilion Café. The original Kiosk was opened in 1908 with tea rooms, a bandstand, a residence for the proprietor and public toilets. A dining room was added in the 1920’s. The Kiosk was the first such facility in the public parks. The timber building was damaged by fire in 1960, later demolished and the present brick building was opened in 1964. The café is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5.00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8.30am to 5pm.

Here is a link to the Fitzroy Gardens website.


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