- Albert Park and Lake
Albert Park and Albert Park Lake are situated in the
City of Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia, 3 km south of the MelbourneCBD.
The park encompasses 2.25 km² (555 acres) of parkland including Albert Park Lake and provides numerous ovals, sporting facilities, the Albert Park Public Golf Course, a 5 km walking track around the lake, and the
Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. It is bordered by Albert Road, Queens Road, Fitzroy Street and Canterbury Road. Surrounding suburbs include Albert Park, Middle Park, St Kilda, Melbourne and South Melbourne.
Albert Park was originally extensive
swamplands occupied by Indigenous Australians, the Wurundjeripeople, for around 40,000 years prior to European settlement, and was one of many sites around Melbourne where regular "corroborees" (meetings).
In 1864 the area was proclaimed a public park and named Albert Park in honour of
Queen Victoria's devoted consort, Prince Albert. Over the ensuing years Albert Park was used as a tip, as a camp for the armed services, for scenic drives and for many forms of recreation.
Today the magnificent Albert Park is enjoyed by approximately five million visitors annually. Vestiges of Albert Park's Aboriginal history still remain, the most noticeable being the large ancient River Red Gum Tree, reputed to be the site of many corroborees. It is thought to be over 300 years old, the oldest remnant tree in the Port Phillip area, located next to Junction Oval on the corner of Fitzroy Street and Queens Road, St Kilda.
The Clarendon Street gates are the best manifestations of European history. Originally built of wooden pickets in 1910, they were cast in wrought iron in 1939 and can still be seen today.
Habitat and Fauna
The parkland, Albert Park lake, and Gunn Island, provides a grassy wetlands habitat for over one hundred bird species. A 1990 study recorded 31 bird species as breeding in the park with a total of 21 these indigenous species. [http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/resources/09_1444.pdf]
Migratory species include the
Cattle Egret, Common Tern, Eastern Curlew, Great Egretand Pomarine Jaeger, White-throated Needletailand Sacred Ibis.
Other native bird species sometimes present in the park include the
Long-billed Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Crimson Rosella, while Australian Ravens, Australian Magpies and Australian Magpie Larks are common. Laughing Kookaburras can sometimes be seen but are generally locally rare. Common lake birds include Australian Pelicans, Black Swans and Pacific Black Ducks, Coots and Cormorants. Feral white swans were removed from the park between the 1980s and 1990s. Feral Indian Mynas, European Starlings and House Sparrows are also numerous in the park.
Native mammals include
Common Brushtail Possums and Common Ringtail Possums and Water Rat. Common Bent-wing Bats, White-striped Mastiff bats and Gould's Wattled Bathave also been recorded in the park. Feral Black Rats are also common in the park.
Several reptiles and amphibians, such as the
Marbled Geckomake their home in the park.
The lake is home to some freshwater fish species. The department of Primary Industries releases native
Golden perchfor recreational fishing purposes. European Carp, a noxious pest are the most commonly found fish in the lake and is subject to control programs.
A vegetation survey in 1992 found 117 species of plants, a mixture of native and exotic species.
A native revegetation area in the south east corner of the park features a large ancient river red gum tree known as the "Corroboree Tree", a heritage registered
eucalyptof cultural significance as a pre-European gathering place.
In the lake near Gunn Island (a man made island) is a large fountain known as the "Aquatower", which is typically turned off due to water restrictions.
Also within the park is the
Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centreand the Bob Jane Stadium, home of South Melbourne FC.
The park is home to the Albert Park Public Golf Course, and a golf driving range directly opposite side of the lake.Several smaller pavilions are home to local sporting clubs, more notable of which include the
Junction Oval, Harry Trott Oval and Holdsworth Pavilion, the Ross Gregory Oval and Stuart King Pavilion (home of the Powerhouse Amateur Football Club), the Ian Johnson Oval as well as several smaller bowls clubs, tennis courts, cricket ovals, soccer and rugby fields located in the south western side of the park. Several boating and sailing clubs are located on the north and eastern sides of the lake. A large indoor sports centre is located in the Pit lane pavilion.
There are several large function centres and restaurants overlooking the lake, the most notable of which are the Powerhouse, the Point and Carousel.
Offroad and onroad bicycle paths circumnavigate the lake.
Australian Grand Prixis held around the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuitaround the lake in March each year; usually on the Labour Day weekend. Every May the RSPCAholds the Million Paws Walkto raise needed income for their work with animals.
The Albert Sailing Club holds regular regattas on Saturdays. The Albert Park Yacht club, established in 1871 and the oldest continuing yacht club in Victoria, runs sailing classes over winter months on Albert Park lake and also has competitive sailing on Saturdays.
* [http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/1park_display.cfm?park=38 Albert Park - Parks Victoria]
* [http://www.albertsc.org.au/ Albert Sailing Club]
* [http://www.apyc.org.au/ Albert Park Yacht Club]
* [http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/ncas/multimedia/gazetteer/list/albertpk.html Albert Park History]
* [http://www.save-albert-park.org.au/ Save Albert Park group]
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