I love Footscray Park. When my son was first born, it was the place I went once a day to walk. He slept peacefully, all rugged up in his pram, and I received some much-needed respite. I love the winding paths, the industrial river vista, the elegant plantings and huge trees. Now he is a little bigger, and I still go there to walk. He loves looking at the leaves swaying, and the ducks, or swinging in the giant bucket swing with me.
I feel so privileged to have such a facility on my doorstep. We have watched fireworks there, sneakily spied on the Melbourne Cup, had beautiful picnics, watched rugby, hosted a ‘mums and dads’ gathering, and, more recently, played bocce on the field. With playing fields, swings, climbing equipment, a pond, the river, a promenade and large rotundas, it has something for everyone.
The walk along the river is stunning, so if you do visit the park, why not combine this with a visit to Happy River Cafe?
Some interesting facts about Footscray Park:
The 15-hectare heritage-listed park is the largest intact Edwardian Park in Australia. It was established by the Footscray Park Beautification Committee, a group of local businesses and townspeople, following lobbying by local citizens to establish parkland on the site. Designed by architect Rodney Alslop, who won a design competition in 1911, it was built mainly by volunteers, local boy scouts and community members laid off in the depression.
The park has always been the centre of local events. In 1928, 40 000 people gathered on the park slopes to see Bert Hinkler land his plane at Flemington Racecourse as part of an Australian tour following his successful completion of the first solo flight. In addition, the newspaper Footscray Life recently discovered that Princess Diana and Prince Charles visited the park in 1988.