Before European settlement the land we know now as the Domain Parklands was a rich and fertile landscape. The river followed a different course, with extensive wetlands along much of the lower parts of the area. Vegetation would have included open grasslands and grassy woodland, including River Red gums, and on the higher areas most likely plains grassland and plains grassy woodland. It was an area of great importance to Aboriginal people, a meeting place and a food source.
The master plan will help us identify the special features of the Domain Parklands, while highlighting the need for change. It will outline how we can best transition the landscape while respecting its important history.
We recognise that there are elements that should be retained and other parts which may need to adapt to future opportunities. The features that make up the Domain Parklands landscape today include:
- Open grassy lawns framed by trees, networks of paths, water features, garden beds and horticultural displays within the parklands, and the long river frontage.
- Distinct horticultural features such as the Pioneer Women’s memorial garden, the fern gully, the floral clock and Government House shrub border.
- Paths and views to the Queen Victoria memorial and King George V memorial; and numerous other historical sculptures and memorials.
- Major destinations of Government House, the Shrine of Remembrance, Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
- Identify and reinforce key elements of landscape character.
- Investigate opportunities to use horticultural knowledge and practices to more clearly define different landscape characters.
- Diversify landscape experience and relevance by introducing indigenous landscape features.
- Strengthen the parklands connection to the river through the river edge landscape.
- Rationalise and balance heavily activated areas.
- Rationalise the internal roadway to reflect the character of the parklands.