Landscape Studio 3-02: Speculations

Albert Park’s Fitzroy Street Precinct: displacement and emplacement

Coordinator: Associate Professor Andrew Saniga

We wish to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which this design studio took place, the Boon Wurrung, and we pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.

We would like to thank Aunty Fay Muir, Boon Wurrung Senior Elder, for her cultural advice and for her generosity in providing feedback on our preliminary design ideas.

This studio seeks design ideas for the parklands of the Fitzroy Street Precinct which constitutes just 5 hectares of the massive 226 hectare Albert Park. Albert Park, inner Melbourne’s largest park, was established in the mid-nineteenth century on swamplands (now Albert Park Lake) roughly 2 kilometres south of Melbourne’s CBD. Its shape and form consist of decades of transformation, heavily influenced by public and private development pressures, leading to a highly varied and at times incoherent and depleted landscape character. A comprehensive masterplan by Hansen Partnership in 2019 established three key foci: nature and environment; community engagement; and, recreation (Albert Park Master Plan, 2019, p. 11). These are to guide Albert Park’s reclamation, along with developing the park’s vegetation framework in line with Melbourne City Council’s Urban Forest Strategy.

For the Fitzroy Street Precinct the masterplan proposes parklands in which the community can meet beneath a leafy canopy and biodiverse surrounds (Albert Park Master Plan, 2019, p. 26). However, details of how this is to be achieved is yet to be resolved and the way forward is complex. Along with vested interests and competing demands, residual traces of Indigenous, colonial and post-WWII histories defy complete erasure, their detritus speaking much about survival and change. This presents as many opportunities as challenges if landscape design is to be seen as an agent for interpreting the past. From the deeply significant Ngargee Tree and Red Gum Triangle to the iconic Junction Oval and the subliminal yet enduring underbelly of St Kilda, the site speaks to different notions of displacement as much as it does congregation.

Landscape Architecture 2021_winter