H.V. McKay Memorial Garden

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H.V. McKay Memorial Gardens was established in 1909 by Hugh Victor McKay. He commissioned the laying-out of the gardens as a place of rest and recreation for his employees and the general public.

Key dates

1909 - H.V. McKay commissioned Mr. S.G. Thompson to set about preparing the gardens as per the plans designed by Mr. Horshall, a well known landscape gardener. Mr S.G. Thompson would be the garden's curator for the next 18 years. The first tennis court was laid down and and H.V. McKay donated a parcel of adjacent land for the Presbyterian Church.

1912 - The bowling and club house was built.

1918 - The second tennis court was laid down. The gardens were used by the church to hold services in the open air due to the Flu Epidemic.

1926 - The Sunshine Ladies Bowling Club was established on the bowling green.

1938 - The football oval on the south side of the gardens was established.

1949 - Electric flood lights were installed at the bowling green.

1953 - The private funded gardens were taking over by the City of Sunshine and renamed to the H.V. McKay Memorial Gardens.

1958 - The legal title of the land was transferred to the City of Sunshine.

1959 - The significant simplification of the garden's path layout occurred. The original tennis court was removed and converted to garden and a new tennis court was laid down.

1960 - The blowing green was extended.

1970's - The garden beds were altered to reduce maintenance costs. The original curator's house and nursery were removed and a new works office built. Concrete paths were installed.

1980's - Native plants were introduced to the gardens and rose garden installed.

1992 - the gardens were classified by the National Trust of Australia.

The significance of the Gardens include;

  • The link with H.V. McKay and his vision of a garden suburb;

  • The link with the industrial complex of national importance in the history of Australian manufacturing;

  • The local significance of the gardens as the setting for the McKay Memorial Presbyterian Church.

 

1993 - The gardens were included on the Register of the National Estate.

Today, the bowling green, the tennis courts, the rotunda, the green house and curators cottage are gone but the gardens still provide an important pedestrian link between Albion and Sunshine.

The Friends of McKays Gardens and the Brimbank Council have ensured that the residents of the district can still enjoy the beauty of this oasis that is located in an industrial suburb and that one can savoir the historic and peaceful atmosphere of the gardens.

Ref: Friends of McKays Gardens

Ref: Forging Ahead

Photos: Sunshine Advocate

Photos: S&DHS

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