Last month I headed down to Melbourne for a long overdue holiday, keen to go on the self guided heritage walk called ‘Elegant Enclave’ produced by the City of Melbourne. I quickly found that it was entirely possible to spend at least two hours on this walk wandering around the Fitzroy Gardens and East Melbourne, admiring the beautiful old houses of Melbourne long ago. The cool thing is, that while they are old they are still lived in and well looked after; new families adding to the many layers of history already encapsulated in the buildings. Some houses are also for rent….if only! In this post, I have included some of the highlights of my exploration of East Melbourne on the ‘Elegant Enclave’ heritage walk.
Highlights from the Elegant Enclave Heritage Walk
Start: Fitzroy Gardens
First things first, wear a good pair of walking shoes! I didn’t unfortunately. I still had a wonderful time, but good shoes would certainly have been a bonus. The walk begins at Flinders Street Station and continues through the Fitzroy Gardens. On the way through you’ll pass Cook’s Cottage. I find it very curious and really quite strange that a cottage was brought all the way out from England, especially when there is apparently no concrete evidence that Captain Cook ever lived in it! However, if the alternative was that the cottage would have been destroyed, I’m happy it did travel all that way. It is certainly a picturesque feature of the gardens after all; a little piece of England in Melbourne. If you’d like to know more about it, check out this article from the Captain Cook Society.
On the other side of the Fitzroy Gardens is East Melbourne; a beautiful suburb with wide road ways lined with trees and some gorgeous homes. I was seriously in my element. Here are some of my building highlights.
It was so hard to choose which photos to put in this post, there were so many that caught my eye! But that just gives you an idea of the historic atmosphere of this suburb. Some of the famous people who came and went from these buildings according to the PDF guide include Norman Lindsay, writer of The Magic Pudding, Joan Lindsay, the author of Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Constance Stone who is apparently “Australia’s first woman doctor”.
Finish: Fitzroy Gardens
To finish the walk you head back through the Fitzroy Gardens. For me, it was just about to rain and the clouds were looking brooding. On the way you will come across the miniature Tudor Village looking a little out of place. In its favour, it is rather cute and it has a wholesome backstory. The village is actually a gift from the City of Lambeth to Melbourne in gratitude for the food Melbourne provided them during World War Two. You’ll also walk by beautiful lined avenues of English Elms on your way back to Flinders Station.
Comment below if you’ve been on this walk or are keen to do it! If you’d like to see more of Melbourne, there are quite a few different walks that you can access by City of Melbourne in PDF format or just online, including walks of Melbourne lane ways, the Yarra and Southbank. And if self guided heritage walks are your thing but you can’t get to Melbourne, check out one in Sydney that takes you from the Hermitage Foreshore to Vaucluse.