City of Melbourne is committed to developing open space opportunities in North Melbourne. Gardiner Reserve is one of those spaces that will increase in size and have improved recreational amenities.

The new design will increase the existing park by 47%. The layout will provide additional play spaces, refurbished equipment and seating, as well as another picnic area.

The long term ecological sustainability of the neighbourhood will also be enhanced through

  • planting of 89 new trees
  • a diverse mix of native shrubs
  • the introduction of water-sensitive garden beds

Construction has been underway since August 2019, with the new playground open to enjoy since February. By the start of April, new lawns will have established and the full park will be open to visitors.

With the cooler autumn weather contractors will be busy planting the remaining shrubs, ground covers and trees.

Plan drawing of expansion works

Co-designing the park's launch event

You don’t need event planning or leadership experience to get involved, this is about working collaboratively to celebrate our green space.

Want to encourage a more connected neighbourhood, and help launch Gardiner Reserve?

The park is an important space for locals to relax, play and meet. While the construction phase has limited access to the park for the past few months, the warmer months present an exciting opportunity for you to get involved in the launch of the enhanced Gardener Reserve.

We're supporting a group of motivated resident volunteers to plan and host an event or series of activities that reflect the interests of our diverse community. Being a Launch Leaders volunteer is a fun way to meet new neighbours and strengthen existing relationships.

The Launch Leader volunteer team will be given resources, and will meet with project staff several times between January and February to organise initiatives for the launch of Gardiner Reserve for the wider neighbourhood. A personal commitment of between six to 12 hours will be required.

Register to volunteer

Would you like to be a Launch Leader volunteer and/or share an idea for the event? Complete the registration form and we will be in touch.
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Gardiner Reserve upgrade concept

Before and after of the Gardiner Reserve park upgrade.

Gardiner Reserve was identified for an upgrade through the Open Space Strategy (2012). This strategy outlines the development of new and existing open spaces now and into the future. It is design to meet the needs of the existing community and the increased population expected in coming years.

North Melbourne was also the focus of a 2002 feasibility study, which highlighted the benefits of expanding Gardiner Reserve into Dryburgh Street. A principle of the 2012 Arden-Macaulay Structure Plan was to “Increase the provision of public open space to support population growth and ensure it is equitably distributed for the community to enjoy”.

This project seeks to deliver on the community feedback that supported these important strategic documents. To date, a number of open space sites have been expanded in North Melbourne as a result of this past work, which include:

  • Errol Street Park
  • Howard Street Reserve
  • Clayton Reserve

Tree planting and design is guided by, and reflects, the Urban Forest Strategy (2012).

This project is fully funded and is being delivered as part of the City of Melbourne’s 2017-19 Capital Works Programs.

Playground under construction

In September 2017 we spoke to children and parents about what you loved most about the existing playground, and what would make it better. We found the spider sculpture had a powerful young fan club, so this element will be retained. The two existing play areas will be integrated into one space in the north-east corner of the park. Equipment designed for children aged 2-5 will be separated from that of middle and older aged children. The new play items will look fantastic and facilitate exciting play, with natural materials, adventure ropes and a basket swing.

A re-used park bench

Have you ever wondered what happens to the old park benches, bins, tables and BBQs when we undertake open space upgrades? In the past, they were likely to be disposed of as hard rubbish and all new furniture purchased. In keeping with City of Melbourne’s commitment to sustainable infrastructure, we’re reducing waste by giving our old furnishings a new lease on life.

We’ll be sanding back and powder-coating metal elements slate grey, replacing all timber elements with new polished natural slats, and cleaning and servicing electrical elements. Our maintenance team is very excited to have the opportunity to revive these high quality amenities for many more years of community enjoyment.

The new colouring of the furniture will look up-to-date and sit sympathetically among the freshly landscaped environment.