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Alexandra Gardens

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Vincent Street, Ararat VIC 3377

Features

  • Playground with shade sails
  • Free electric BBQs
  • Undercover areas
  • Picnic tables
  • Ornamental lake
  • Australian Native Garden
  • Herb Garden
  • Easy 800m walking track
  • Gorgeous multi level walk-in fernery
  • Terraced lawns
  • Outdoor fitness stations
  • Japanese themed island
  • Drinking taps
  • Rubbish bins
  • Powerpoints
  • Toilets
Alexandra Gardens is a spectacular park in Ararat, Victoria with a lot to offer. An incredible multi level walk-in fernery slopes down toward the terraced lawns and ornamental lake. An 800m pram/wheelchair-friendly walking track makes its way around the lake, across pretty bridges and through the Japanese themed islands. Close to the fernery lies a fantastic playground with lots of unique play equipment, a wheelchair accessible ramp, toddler play space and shade sails.

Alexandra Gardens are worth visiting for the walk-in fernery alone. Sealed, narrow walking tracks wind their way through the beautiful ferns, vines, stones and water features. There are many different tracks, turns, steps and corridors to explore within a fairly compact area. See if you can find the stone-lined cave hidden amongst the impressive array of plants. This fernery will make you feel as though you have stepped right into a rainforest, and is a credit to the town of Ararat.

Undercover barbecue areas feature free electric barbecues and are located beside the lake and up past the playground, close to the adjacent oval. The second barbecue area, near the oval, has an undercover picnic table area as well as undercover barbecues and has powerpoints available.

A toilet block is located next to the oval beyond the second barbecue area.

Two outdoor fitness stations can be found along the walking track which circles the lake. 

The gorgeous park and gardens are located right across the road from the infamous J Ward - Asylum for the Criminally Insane, making it a great spot for visitors to relax and picnic after taking tours of the impressive historic asylum.

'Land for the gardens was allocated in 1860 and plans laid out by Baron Von Mueller - the designer of Melbourne's famous botanical gardens. The bulk of development work did not begin until 1902 with Hugh Linaker as curator. In 1907, the gardens flourished under the stewardship of 500 community volunteers who saw the gardens re-opened as Alexandra Park.' (Source: www.ararat.vic.gov.au)

Information signs located within Alexandra Gardens display the following text:

ALEXANDRA GARDENS

The Alexandra Gardens were established with plant material supplied by Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller from the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. The gardens have important historical links with garden curators of the past, including Linaker and Matthews both of whom went on to design and manage parks and gardens in Melbourne.

The site was gazetted for a botanical garden in 1862 and set out in accordance with a plan provided by Dr Mueller.

The construction of the fernery on the northern slopes of the garden from plans drafted from a model submitted by Mr W. Stubbings of the Hospital for the Insane was completed in 1912. The design was described as 'bold, a conspicuous feature being a graceful turret in the north-west corner, with mansard roofs on the east and south elevations, and arched porch entrances'.

Unfortunately the fernery was removed at a later date.

The original bridge connecting to the island in the centre of the lake which was later replaced by the one you see here today. The original arched bridge was completed in 1915 and was a very distinctive feature. The bridge was a replica of one existing in the public gardens in Tokyo, Japan, a photograph of which was brought to Ararat by a gentleman formerly a resident in Ararat, and who had paid an extended visit to Japan.

Re: Alexandra Gardens Master Plan.

HISTORIC ARARAT - ALEXANDRA GARDENS

This area was chosen for a botanical garden reserve in the early years of settlement when the people of Ararat decided that the officially surveyed site at the foot of the Kangaroo Range (One Tree Hill area) was too far from the town.

The gardens were laid out by the volunteers of the Gardens Improvement Committee to the design of Hugh Linaker in the early years of the 20th century.

An appreciation for Hugh Linaker is at the pond opposite this plaque.

ALEXANDRA GARDENS LAKE WALK

First established in 1863, the Alexandra Gardens is an oasis in the heart of the city of Ararat. With an ornamental lake, expansive lawns and large shade trees, it is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic, take a stroll or just relax. For those looking for something more active, the walking path encircling the lake is ideal. Other features to explore include the fernery, the glasshouse the Asian Island and the herb garden.

Alexandra Gardens
  • Land allocated for a botanical gardens in 1860
  • Early planning and plants supplied by Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens
  • Early work done by prisoners of the Ararat Gaol under the supervision of the Governer of the Gaol.
  • The bulk of the development work began in 1901 with Hugh Linaker as the curator.
  • The Alexandra Gardens consist of a large ornamental lake surrounded with expansive lawns, large shade trees, with features including the fernery, children's playground, display glasshouse, picnic/barbecue facilities, Asian island, Australian Native Garden, herb garden, and many more.
Glasshouse
  • Donated by Rotary in 1980 to commemorate '50 years of Rotary in Ararat'.
  • Cymbidium orchid display July to November.
Fernery
  • Was the largest in the state at the time of development in 1912.
  • All rocks and soil brought in by bullock wagons.
Playground
  • New playground equipment installed in 2003.
  • Includes some access to all equipment.
Barbecues
  • Two free electric barbecues.
Asian Island
  • Developed with oriental plants to emphasise our 'sister city' relationship with Taishan, China.
Australian Native Garden
  • Developed by Council in conjunction with the Grampians Group of the Australian Plant Society.
Herb Garden
  • Developed on the site of the old glasshouse.
  • Planted up by the Victorian Herb Society.
Track Features
  • Distance: 800 metres
  • Walking time: 15 minutes
  • Accessibility: Easy



DID YOU KNOW...

  • There are so many excellent playgrounds tucked away in little-known places. Take a look through this great list of playgrounds throughout the Victorian Goldfields.
  • There are hundreds of fantastic barbecue areas throughout the Victorian Goldfields. Some are in parks/playgrounds, others are scattered throughout the bush. Many barbecue areas are located alongside amazing attractions and walks, so go out for a barbecue and get exploring!
 

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