Residents can enjoy free access to spectacular, stately gardens from today under an innovative trial between Port Phillip Council and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).
Under the funding agreement, Port Phillip residents simply have to show current proof of residency with photo identification to the National Trust. They will then be issued an access pass to the historic Rippon Lea Estate gardens in Elsternwick – just over the border from Port Phillip.
“This is especially good news for our residents in nearby St Kilda East and Ripponlea who have access to the least amount of public open space in our City,” Councillor Dick Gross, who raised the idea, said.
“Free entry to these beautiful heritage-listed gardens take the concept of a ‘pop-up park’ to a whole new level.”
The lush 5.6 hectare gardens feature a lake, extensive shrubberies and flower gardens, an orchard featuring historically significant fruit varieties, rose gardens and a fernery with streams.
Cr Louise Crawford, whose Canal Ward includes St Kilda East and Ripponlea, said nature is known to enhance health and well-being.
“Whether it’s enjoying a picnic or pondering under a tree, we’re delighted that Port Phillip residents of all ages can regularly enjoy this special open space free of charge,” she said.
General admission normally costs $15 for adults and $9 for children (4-15 years). This includes a tour of the historic mansion which is not part of the free entrance for Port Phillip residents under the trial.
The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) CEO Simon Ambrose said, “We look forward to City of Port Phillip residents making themselves at home in Melbourne’s best backyard. The gardens at Rippon Lea Estate will be thriving all summer, with outdoor cinema nights, picnics on the lawns, and the popular new Gruffalo Trail augmented reality experience for kids.”
Council’s funding agreement with the National Trust involves an initial $20,000 payment, with additional incentive-based bonuses of up to $30,000 available.
The agreement, for a maximum of $50,000, will remain in place until 30 June 2020.