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Melba Park, Lilydale

Home > Melbourne > Outdoor | Parks | Places of Interest
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published January 16th 2019
Melba does it again
Sign
The Melba Park sign on Market Street.

This 2.17 hectare park, bounded by Market, Castella and Chapel Streets is a green oasis almost in the centre of Lilydale. As well as a fun place to picnic and play, the park has history.

The area was reserved as open space in 1867 and named Melba Park around 1927 in honour of Dame Nellie Melba. Most of the park is unfenced, but on the corner of Castella and Market Streets are two large wrought iron gates, erected by Dame Nellie in 1927 as a memorial to her father David Mitchell. A plaque on the gate reads, "To the memory of David Mitchell. This tribute to my beloved father by his daughter Nellie."

Gateway to park
The wrought iron gates at the Castella Street entrance. The Melba Park sign was originally a clock.


If you enter through these gates the first thing that confronts you is a large oak tree.

An iron fence is erected around the tree, with a brass plate affixed, bearing the following inscription: "Relief of Mafeking. This tree was planted by the people of Lilydale on 13th June 1900 to celebrate the gallant and successful defence of Mafeking, South Africa by Colonel Baden Powell and his brave garrison during the siege by the Boers extending over a period of 209 days…"

Oak Tree
The 118 year old oak tree. Locally known as the "Mafeking Tree."


If your hunger is not for history the several picnic tables and BBQs should satisfy your appetite. Some of the tables are in shade, so year-round comfort is assured.

A newly refurbished playground provides entertainment and fun for our younger folk.

playground
The newly refurbished playground equipment,


Two species of birds are frequently observed within the park. Ducks and Ibis.

Ibis
On nearly every visit to Melba Park you will see Ibis strutting around feeding.


Ducks
Grops of ducks are often seen, just waddling around.


When the Yarra Ranges Council wetlands project within the park is completed more species may be observed.

The area is very flat and easily accessible for wheelchairs and nearby toilet facilities are available. It is very popular with parents with young children. There is off-street parking from Market Street.

Melba Park plaque
The Melba Park plaque which replaced the original clock.


At the western end of the park is the Lilydale outdoor swimming pool and at the eastern end, on Castella Street, is the Harvest Café, the Lilydale Museum and the Athenaeum Theatre.

On the third weekend of every November, most of Melba Park is fenced off to become part of the Lilydale Show with a weekend of entertainment for the young and old and those in-between.

As you sit enjoying your picnic or BBQ, looking across Market Street, you will see a large portrait of Melba adorning the Jean Eales building in the showgrounds, reminding you where you are.

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