Edinburgh Gardens, Melbourne

Edinburgh Gardens is a large park located in North Fitzroy. It is bounded by Brunswick Street and St Georges Road to the west, the curve of Alfred Crescent to the north and east, and Freeman Street to the south. It was created from a grant of land in March 1862 by Queen Victoria and laid out by Clement Hodgkinson, who designed many of Melbourne's parks and gardens,. At approximately 24 hectares (59 acres) in size, the park is large by inner urban standards.

Statement of Significance 1978

Edinburgh Gardens were nominated for inclusion on the Register of the National Estate in 1978.

Statement of Significance 2004

The park is unique due not only to the size, but also the strange features, and unusual history of the reserve. For example, the centrepiece of the park is a pedestal designed to hold a large statue of Queen Victoria. However, this statue only stood watch over the gardens for three years before mysteriously going missing more than a century ago. It was never replaced, and the bare plinth remains as a strange reminder.

Former Railway in Edinburgh Gardens

A spur of the former Inner Circle Railway once bisected the gardens. The Fitzroy spur diverged from the line along Park Street, followed Mark Street across Alfred Crescent and finished at the former Fitzroy Station, located behind Brunswick Street Oval. This passenger service was never viable, and was closed only a few years after being built. The area was then used as a freight yard until the 1980s.

Some sections of the old track are still visible through the park. Level crossings were retained when the tracks were removed. The old line has been replaced with a shared path that joins the Linear Park Reserve and leads to the nearby Capital City Trail.

Factories associated with the line have been demolished and the land either returned to the Edinburgh Gardens or sold.

A timber pedestrian bridge remained in the south-west of the gardens until about 2003. it was sold and removed to make way for a low-rise development for the Office of housing.

W.T. Peterson Community Oval

An Australian rules football oval located at the south-western corner of the gardens, the W.T. Peterson Community Oval (named after a 21-year veteran of the Fitzroy City Council) (GC: 37°47′20.54″S 144°58′51.26″E / 37.7890389°S 144.9809056°E / -37.7890389; 144.9809056 ) is better known to generations of Fitzroy Football Club supporters as the Brunswick Street Oval. The ground has a capacity of approximately 15 000 spectators. It served as the club's home ground in the VFA competition, and later the VFL competition from 1883 until 1966. The last game played there was in August 1966 when Fitzroy played St Kilda. Fitzroy lost that match by 84 points. Currently the ground is used by the Fitzroy Football Club playing in the VAFA and the Fitzroy Junior Football Club in the YJFL, it is considered the spiritual home ground of Fitzroy. The playing ground is now framed by the remaining original features of the oval: the visiting members gate structure at the corner Freeman and Brunswick Streets, and late nineteenth century grandstand, gates and ticket box on the opposite side of the oval. The main grandstand is on the Victorian Heritage Register.

The ground record crowd for Brunswick Street Oval was set on May 6, 1935 when 36,000 fans saw Fitzroy draw with Collingwood. Both sides scored 14 goals and 9 behinds and were deadlocked on 93 points.

Fire gatherings

Activity in the park in the last few years has been occasioned by a weekly fire-twirling night, traditionally held on Wednesdays near the rotunda. This runs all year round, usually quietening down in the Winter and then peaking in attendance during the summer months when the nights are warmer and the energy is high. The gatherings are mostly attended by Melbourne fire-twirlers and members of the local hippie and psychedelic trance scenes. Usually beginning at 8:30-9pm and running until midnight, it has provided a wonderful opportunity for pros and newcomers alike to learn new tricks, demonstrate skills and share stories and advice about all things fire-twirling.

UPDATE: The fire gatherings don't happen anymore.