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."
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…"
The 118 year old oak tree. Locally known as the "Mafeking Tree."
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.
The Melba Park plaque which replaced the original clock.