We have had some glorious Autumn weather in Melbourne the last couple of days. I decided my walk would be also be an exploration.Two or three times a week, perhaps even more, I travel down Epsom Road, through Kensington. For a long time I have seen a sign pointing to the Women’s Peace Garden, but have never seen any real indication of where it is. Now a larger sign has been erected on the road. This was the day to find out more.
This is the view that I now see from the car.
So I went through the entrance, under the Morten Bay figs and down the steps,
past the mosaic,
to see the garden spread out below you. It has been designed with the peace symbol and the woman symbol in mind. You can see the peace symbol easily on the grass. The other is more difficult. The bluestone colonnades at the bottom form the cross. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a photo of that.
The garden was built in 1986 to commemorate the International Year of Peace. It was designed by a team of women and is now maintained by the community and local schools. The plants were chosen to fit with the colours of the Women’s Movement — green, purple and white — and to symbolise remembrance — the peace rose, rosemary and olive trees.
I sat for a while and did a very poor sketch of the garden. As well I thought about war and peace, soldiers and civilians. Australia has recently celebrated ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), our day of remembrance. I have a very ambivalent attitude to ANZAC Day, as so I was grateful to find a place where peace was celebrated and the innocents of war cherished.
This garden has been built on the old Newmarket Saleyards. They were built in the 1850’s and by the twentieth century they were amongst the biggest saleyards and abattoirs in the world. They closed in the 1980’s. When I first lived in the local area I remember hearing the bellowing of the cattle, and if the wind was blowing from the south the smell was not pleasant either.
After they were sold the yards were developed into medium density housing, the first in the area. As I wandered through the other day I was impressed with how the development had been done. There is a lovely tangle of streets, lanes and mews. The houses seem to open to walking lanes and many of the old peppercorns have been kept. The heritage of the area has been remembered with the bluestone paths and post and rail fences. I wandered along the old stock route to the Maribyrnong River. These photos might give you a little feel for the place.
And finally, some images of the Maribyrnong River from the bridge the cattle used to cross on.
Thank you for joining me on my meander on a beautiful Melbourne day.