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Published December 31st 2012
A tiny oasis of incredible peace, beauty, and a fountain
Green grass with a fountain in the middle is possibly the closest you can get to an oasis in any city centre. Melbourne has many of these beautiful creations, but the Parliament Reserve will make anyone pause and take a second look, if not actually take a detour through the open gates and cool off a bit.
The major attraction here is the Coles Fountain, a series of cascading fountains that resemble water balloons in full blast. What sets this water feature apart is that you can walk into the middle of the cascading fountains and cool off in the spray.
You can imagine how this must feel on a really warm day in the middle of summer. You can stand there amid the glorious bursts of water like you're surrounded by magnificent showerheads and not get soaked, not unless you want to anyway.
The sound of falling water creates a soothing atmosphere in which you feel relaxed and playful, making all stress seem distant and even unnecessary in the larger scheme of things. Okay, not everybody gets philosophical around splashing water, but suffice to say it's an experience that does wonders to the body and soul.
When you're done splashing around, lie back on the emerald green grass or find a shady park bench to simply sit and stare or read a book. Surrounded by majestic palm trees and lush foliage, it's very easy to forget that you're literally in the city centre on Spring St. The wrought iron fence encloses a peaceful haven where you can just chill and recuperate.
Parliament Reserve also has some artwork to admire. Life-like bronze statues of Pastor Sir Douglas and Lady Gladys, two remarkable indigenous leaders, serve to remind visitors of their contribution to aboriginal welfare. These stunning sculptors were created by Louis Laumen whose work can also be found in other venues such as the MCG and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Pastor Sir Douglas was the first aboriginal person to be knighted.
The reserve is quite tiny compared to most others that Melbourne has to offer, however, its attractions do not end at the fancy fencing but continue on with stunning views of St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Old Synagogue, and other historic buildings in the vicinity. It is more like a safe, serene spot from where to take in the best views of the city and feel good to be alive.