The Domain Parklands is a patchwork of beautiful parks and gardens, made up of nearly 123 hectares. It includes some of the city’s favourite destinations, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Shrine of Remembrance, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Government House, Alexandra Park, Alexandra Gardens, Queen Victoria Gardens and the Kings Domain.
The Master Plan covers areas managed by five different land managers. It recognises the individual and unique destinations, while strengthening the area as one domain.
While the City of Melbourne does not manage all parts of the Domain Parklands, it looks after areas that surround and connect major destinations. The Master Plan focuses on the areas managed by the City Of Melbourne, and guides the management for the areas of common interest by all land managers.
As Melbourne grows, with more people living, visiting and working in our central city, green places – like the Domain Parklands – will become increasingly busy. The Master Plan seeks to prepare the parklands to meet the needs of current and future generations, and respond to the challenges of climate change and population growth.
The Master Plan was developed with input from the community and a wide range of stakeholders from 2015 to 2018.
The Domain Parklands Master Plan was unanimously endorsed at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting on Tuesday 19 February 2019.
Read the Domain Parklands Master Plan.
Timeline item 1
Phase 1 community consultation
29 September to 30 November 2015
Timeline item 2
Phase 2 community consultation
4 July to 12 August 2016
Timeline item 3
Review feedback and develop draft Master Plan
August to November 2016
Timeline item 4
Future Melbourne Committee to approve to go to community engagement
21 August 2018
Timeline item 5
Phase 3 community engagement - draft Master Plan
23 August to 28 October 2018
Timeline item 6
November - December 2018
Timeline item 7
Final plan presented to Future Melbourne Committee
Timeline item 8
Final plan released
Draft Master Plan
- Where are the Domain Parklands?
The Domain Parklands is a patchwork of beautiful parks and gardens making up nearly 123 hectares, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Shrine of Remembrance, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Government House, Alexandra Park, Alexandra Gardens, Queen Victoria Gardens and the Kings Domain.
The name ‘Domain Parklands’ was first used in the City of Melbourne’s 1997 Domain Parklands Master Plan.
- What is the City of Melbourne doing with the parklands?
The City of Melbourne has created a new draft Master Plan for the Domain Parklands to guide the management of the parkland over the next 20 years.
- What is a Master Plan and what will it involve?
The City of Melbourne’s Master Plan will guide the future management of the Domain Parklands over the next 20 years.
Developing the master plan required a combination of research, analysis, planning and key stakeholder and community engagement. The analysis included research into community use, heritage, landscape characters, traffic and parking, horticulture, and other social and environmental values of the park.
While the Master Plan outlines a vision for the future of the parklands, the primary focus of tasks and recommendations from the Master Plan will be directed at the areas where the City of Melbourne has responsibility.
- What is the focus of the Master Plan?
Our plan focuses on the areas we manage and seeks to create a strong, shared vision for the whole parkland, treasuring the important destinations within it.
This master plan has been prepared to guide our management of the parklands for the next 20 years. It will help us to
- Nurture a healthy, resilient and beautiful landscape
- recognise the Aboriginal cultural heritage of the place,
- improve the visitor experience,
- improve access to and within the parklands, and
- collaborate with land managers in future management of the parklands
- Why have you created a Master Plan for the Domain Parklands?
The Domain Parklands are one of our city’s most loved green spaces. Since the first Master Plan was released in 1997, much has occurred including drought, water initiatives, a dramatic increase in visitors, the Observatory gate development, Victorian heritage registration, as well as parts of the parklands recently being registered on the National Heritage list.
Additionally many trees in the Domain Parklands are in decline and there is a need to plan for their replacement. The parklands also face broader challenges such as climate change, extreme heat and water restrictions and the increasing levels of use as Melbourne becomes a 24-hour city. There is also an increase in urban renewal pressure.
For these reasons it’s the right time to for a new Master Plan.
- Does the City of Melbourne manage the Domain Parklands?
No, the City of Melbourne does not manage all parts of the Domain Parklands. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Shrine of Remembrance, Sidney Myer Music Bowl and Government House have separate Governance and purposes. The parklands create the setting for these important places.
Each of the Land Managers has responsibility for the areas they manage. The Shrine of Remembrance and Melbourne Gardens (the Royal Botanic Gardens) have landscape master plans for the areas they manage. While the Domain Parklands Master Plan focuses on the areas managed by the City of Melbourne, it also guides management for the areas of common interest for all the Land Managers.
- Which organisations has the City of Melbourne worked with on the new Master Plan?
The Domain Parklands are Crown Land, managed by 5 different Land Managers.
We have worked with the different organisations within the Domain Parklands to develop the Master Plan. These are;
- Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
- Shrine of Remembrance Trust
- Office of the Governor (Government House)
- Victorian Arts Centre Trust (Sidney Myer Music Bowl)
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
- Why is open space, like the Domain Parklands, important?
The City of Melbourne’s Open Space Strategy 2012 describes how Melbourne is identified as one of the most liveable cities in the world, and that a major contribution to this liveability is the quality and diversity of our open spaces.
Open space is important for many reasons, including social connectedness, mental and physical health and wellbeing, mitigation of urban heat, biodiversity, cultural heritage and character, economics and tourism, events and arts. The Domain Parklands have a capital city role in the Open Space Strategy.
- What other consultation have you done with the community to inform this draft master plan?
Two previous phases of community engagement provided valuable input to inform this draft master plan:
Phase 1 – Share your memories of Domain Parklands
The first phase was conducted in September to November, 2015. It gathered information about what people value about the Domain Parklands by inviting them to share memories, prompting conversations about the themes and aspirations for the future of the parklands. Specific programs were held to engage with children.
Phase 2 – Discussion Paper
The second phase in July to August 2016 involved the release of a discussion paper seeking public comment on key themes to set the direction for the future of the Domain Parklands.
- What are you doing to improve access to the parklands?
Good access to and around the parklands is a major focus of the master plan. Good access is an important part of improving the visitor experience, but it is also essential to ensure anyone who wants to visit the parklands is able to.
There are many improvements proposed to access in the parklands. These can be summarised under improvements to entrances, pathways, and signage. They also consider the barriers created by the road network and ways to improve access across these roads – while also making the pedestrian the priority as well (where possible). There will also be an increase in number and distribution of accessible car parks.
Improvements to access also include recommendations about access by public transport. The proposed Anzac station will provide a new entry to the parklands and this will also require new paths to bring pedestrians from the station into the parklands, including to the Shrine of Remembrance and Melbourne Gardens entrances. Many tram stops adjacent to the parklands do not meet any paths into the parklands, so these connections need to be made. The paths next to to the river are not compliant with good standards for access and these will be improved.
- Why are you rethinking the road systems within and around the parklands?
An extensive road system surrounds and dissects the parklands. The network within the parklands includes Alexandra Avenue, Linlithgow Avenue, Birdwood Avenue and Dallas Brooks Drive.
The roads and parking spaces in the Domain Parklands are used by parkland users and non- parkland users.
The key findings of our traffic study showed how the roads are currently used:
- Most traffic is through traffic.
- There is more than adequate parking for parkland users.
Visitor numbers to the Domain Parklands continue to grow every year. City of Melbourne research has found through traffic and commuter parking has a significant impact on parkland amenity and visitor experience. Repurposing some car parking to better support park visitors, boost access, amenity and safety will have a positive impact for pedestrians, cyclists and recreation in the area. Accessible parking for disabled parking permit holders will be maintained and increased in key destinations.
As the roads occupy a significant area within the parklands they present several opportunities to improve the pedestrian movement and enhance the parkland visitor experience. In some locations we may be able to repurpose some road space to improve tree planting plots, which will better support the health of the trees.
so these connections need to be made. The paths next to to the river are not compliant with good standards for access and these will be improved.
- How will repurposing some car parks improve the parklands experience?
The research for the master plan showed many car parking issues and opportunities. It showed there are over 1300 car parking spaces, but many of these are used for car parking for purposes other than visiting the park, including commuter parking.
We recognise that it is important for some people to drive and park at the parklands when visiting. However, the parking analysis gives us confidence that some car parking can be repurposed in several areas in the parklands.
While parking to visit destinations within the Domain Parklands will continue to be provided, some on-street car parking can be repurposed to improve the amenity, safety, visual experience and better connect the parklands.
This will provide space for pedestrian crossings on internal roads and more dedicated cycle lanes within the parklands. These dedicated cycle lanes will help reduce the current congestion in spots where cyclists are using busy pedestrian paths.
Changes to parking restrictions in some areas will free up parking for genuine park visitors.
At present there are many locations in the parklands where walking along the park paths is adjacent to parked cars and through traffic. We know that where we can reduce the visibility of parked cars within the parklands, these paths will provide a much more pleasant setting for walking.
- Does climate change affect how you will manage trees in the Domain Parklands?
Trees play an essential role in defining the character of the Domain Parklands. They provide beauty, habitat, create landscape settings, stimulate the senses and positively influence our mental health and wellbeing. Trees are vital for cooling the city and the tree canopies and root systems reduce stormwater flows and nutrient loads that would end up in the Yarra River and our waterways.
Many trees in the Domain Parklands are reaching the later part of their life and will need replacing in the coming decades. New tree planting and planting renewal will be informed by research identifying trees which are better at coping with future climate conditions.
- What is an Arboretum?
An arboretum is a collection of trees, cultivated for conservation, scientific, research and educational purposes.
It is proposed to further expand the city arboretum in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Through the city arboretum, a stronger emphasis will be placed on science, research and education.
The trees will be managed at a higher level of cultivation than usual, to facilitate leading research. The learning from this will be applied to tree selection and management across the municipality.
Selection of planting locations will be guided and designed carefully to coordinate with landscape character, heritage influences, view lines and open areas to retain, and how the area is used.