Cremorne Gardens

Cremorne Gardens

Cremorne Gardens was a pleasure garden (amusement park) established in 1853 on the banks of the Yarra River in Richmond and closed in 1863.

Cremorne Gardens was created by James Ellis who had earlier established similar gardens of the same name on the banks of the River Thames at Chelsea in London.

The gardens were later acquired by George Coppin who expanded the gardens include a Cyclorama, bowling alley, menagerie, dancers and nightly fireworks.

Patrons arrived by riverboat or by train at the purpose built railway station. The gardens were notable as being the location of the first balloon flight in Australia when in 1858 Englishman William Dean floated seven miles north to Brunswick.

George Coppin went bankrupt in 1863 and the gardens were closed. The land was sold and became an asylum which itself closed in the 1880's. The land was then subdivided for housing much of which remains today.

A small park is at the southern end of the area previously occupied by the gardens and a small plaque marks their location. It no longer fronts the river due to the construction of the Monash Freeway in the 1961.

The area around Cremorne Gardens was later renamed Cremorne in 1999.

Cremorne Gardens Plan

ID: 8357
Copyright: library owns image (image on public access)

See map icon below of an image held by Richmond Library.

Map showing features of the Cremorne Gardens amusement park. The notes on the backing sheet housed with the image read: 'Cremorne Gardens was formerly Wright's Swamp and was turned into a privately owned amusement park and pleasure gardens in the 1850s.

There were ten acres of beautiful country with a lake which had originally been a billabong. The first white swans in the colony swam there. There was a dance floor, a theatre, zoo, gondolas on the river. Regattas were held on the river, flower shows and public banquets were held, and all sorts of public entertainments. Coppin and his partner poured money into Cremorne Gardens. They ran special boats from Princes Bridge and there was a special railway station. Cremorne Gardens was the terminus of the line which now runs over the river to South Yarra and to Dandenong. There was a high trapeze and the first balloon ascent in the colony was held there. In 1856 when building workers won the eight hour day they marched to Cremorne Gardens and celebrated at a victory dinner.

However, Melbourne's weather wasn't suitable for outdoor amusements and Coppin and Brooke went broke. The site with all its buildings was finally sold for 4,500 pounds although Coppin and Brooke had spent more than 100,000 pounds on it. After Coppin sold out the area was used for a private mental hospital.

The workers from the hospital were supposed to have lived in a group of cottages in Cubitt St.

Caption in a box beside the map reads: 'Drawn in May 1933, by a staff artist of 'The Argus' from a plan prepared by Mr. W. Jamieson, of the Lands department, based on information supplied by Mr. George Buller, of Miller street, Richmond - possibly the only survivor of Mr. George Coppin's staff at Cremorne. Key to numbers:- 1, Higgin's Pantechnicon; 2, Kirk's house; 3, trestles and tight-rope; 4, Coppin's house; 5, side-shows; 6, Pantheon Theatre; 7, refreshment booth; 8, Crystal Bar; 9, gasometer; 10, landing-stage for gondolas, etc.; 11, Peachman's Hotel; 12, Cherry Tree Hotel.'

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