Herring Island | Environmental Sculpture Park is 3.2 hectares in size, located in the Yarra River.
This informal parkland has provided the inspiration for curator Maudie Palmer to develop a concept in which artists are commissioned to create site-specific sculptures. Created from natural materials such as stone, earth and wood, the sculptures appear as part of the landscape to reflect the Island's unique and tranquil setting. In particular, different types of stone have been brought from various locations to the island.
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The European tradition of placing beautiful artworks into recreational spaces has been adapted to meet the public's contemporary needs. The artists have focused upon the history and landscape of this isolated park.
The Sculpture Park
Internationally renowned British environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy has created two works - a slate Cairn and a Stone House constructed from Dunkeld sandstone. Four Australian artists have also installed works on Herring Island. These are: John Davis - A Hill, a River, Two Rocks and a Presence, Jill Peck - Steerage, Julie Collins - Audience, Robert James - The Ramp and Torres Strait Islander, Ellen Jose - Tanderrum (coming together).
Herring Island has a grassed picnic area with two shelters, free electric barbecues, picnic tables, seats, toilets, unsealed walking trails and water fountains and taps located at various points.
The Gallery is suitable for exhibitions and cultural events. Other areas on the island can be booked for functions; a charge will apply.
Interpretive signage has been placed at strategic locations on the island.
Discover the island's past, how the island was used and how it has today become one of Melbourne's most unique parks.
Originally a basalt quarry in the last century, this artificial island was filled with silt dredged from the river and a shortcut created for the river on the Richmond bank to lessen the likelihood of flooding.
In 1932/33, the levee banks of Como Island were built up to protect the island from flooding and trees and shrubs were planted around the edge but inn November 1934, nearly all the levee banks and trees were swept away by the biggest flood ever recorded on the Yarra River. The entire island was submerged. The levee banks around the island were rebuilt in 1935, trees were replanted and the island continued to be built up using silt dredged from the Yarra. Much is now known about the impact of river silts and salinity on tree growth from these early efforts.
During the 1950s and 1960s the Scouts leased the island, first known as Como Island, but renamed after the then President of the Australian Scout Association, Sir Edmund Herring. From 1970 until 1994 the Friends of Herring Island, Government and local Council representatives formed a committee which administered the island.
Management responsibility transferred to Melbourne Parks and Waterways in 1994. After substantial public consultation, Melbourne Parks and Waterways, subsequently Parks Victoria, proceeded with the enhancement of Herring Island Park to establish an island suitable for Melburnians to use as a destination providing recreational and conservation values on the Yarra River.
Aboriginal Traditional Owners
Parks Victoria acknowledges the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Victoria - including its parks and reserves. Through their cultural traditions, Aboriginal people maintain their connection to their ancestral lands and waters.
Birds are abundant and varied and occupy a broad range of vegetation types. Those commonly seen include honeyeaters, Willie Wagtails, cormorants, kookaburras, magpies, wattlebirds and White-faced Herons. Waterbirds that shelter and forage within the reeds include Pacific Black Ducks, Dusky Moorhens and Maned Ducks.
Vegetation on the island consists of a few remnants of indigenous riparian forest and grassland communities, as well as native and exotic species that have been planted over the past 60 years. The earlier plantings are mainly around the perimeter of the island, while more recently, the central flat areas and silt mounds have been planted, since the dumping of silt stopped. Other dominant vegetation on the island includes Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata), Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) and Southern Mahogany (botryoides).
Wallaby and Spear Grass, Chocolate and Bulbine Lilies, Everlastings, Billy Buttons and Hoary Sunray create the colour and texture of the garden. Many of these plants hold significance to the indigenous Wurundjeri people and have been incorporated in the symbolic planting of Ellen Jose's Tanderrum.
Looking After the Park
In the interests of keeping the island clean, please take away all rubbish with you after a visit.
Camping is not permitted on the Island.
Dogs and other pets are not allowed on the Island.
All native plants and animals are protected.
Bikes are not permitted on the Island.
Also see Friends of Herring Island
This park has been assessed to have a low level of bushfire risk and will remain open on days of Code Red Fire Danger Rating.
How to Get There
The only access to Herring Island is by boat (punt). A punt service only operates Saturdays, Sundays and certain public holidays between January and Easter each year. There is no set timetable between 11am and 5pm
The punt leaves from Como Landing (Melways ref Map 58, G2).
Car parking is available in Alexandra Ave.
Private boats also have access to the island (Melway ref: 2M C2).
❊ What's On ❊
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ Como Landing , Alexandra Ave South Yarra | Map
❊ Web Links ❊
→ Herring Island
→ Friends of Herring Island | herringisland.org
❊ Also See... ❊
→ Islands in Victoria
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