Goulburn has for a long time been seen as little more than a highway stop and a place to see the Big Merino (see separate review on this oversized ram) en-route between Canberra/Melbourne and Sydney. In 1992 the Hume Highway bypassed the city by a few kilometres and to make matters worse, eateries and fuel stations set up at one of the highway turnoffs and soon the Big Merino was moved there as well. Many saw the bypass as a death knell for the main part of the city.
Sensing a reduction in passing visitors and tourism, in 1993 a Rose Committee was formed, the title City of Roses was registered in 1994 and plans were put in place for the City of Cafes to become the City of Roses.
Well to cut a long story short, while there are lots of beautiful roses to admire, in season, calling it a City of Roses is stretching things a little. That said, there are about nine public areas displaying around 8,000 roses. Worthy a look, and easily accessed by the visitor, are the gardens in front of the courthouse, a small area in front of the Argyle Emporium (former courthouse and police station), the current police station, the railway station, and, of course, the Victoria Park Rose Gardens which is home to largest concentration of roses in the city (around 1,500 comprising about 100 varieties). In addition to the public areas many residents have taken to growing roses as well so keep an eye out for these as you explore the city.
Thankfully things did not turn out as bad as doomsayers prophesied and the city’s many other attractions, along with the roses, manage to attract a reasonable flow of visitors. Hopefully, if you have read more of my Goulburn reviews, you will agree that the city is well worth a visit, a destination in itself and not just a coffee or pee stop en route to or from Sydney.
Back to the roses, and Victoria Park, as they certainly are an attraction worthy a little of your time if visiting between October and April. Though I have not been to it, Goulburn hosts a highly regarded Rose Festival, in March each year.
Victoria Park Rose Garden was established by the Goulburn Quota Club to celebrate Australia’s Bicentennial in 1988 – the First Fleet having arrived into Sydney from Britain in 1788. The inner section of the garden was donated by the Goulburn Quota Club and the Goulburn community who were invited to purchase a memorial rose.
The Goulburn Rose Committee extended the garden with the Ben Swane Rose Walk in recognition of his work, which included a significant donation of roses, including those featured along the walk.
In 1994 Goulburn introduced its own rose (well, a rebadged American import) – The City of Goulburn Rose, a hardy floribunda type bush rose well suited to the local climate. It is apricot and pink in colour and has scalloped edges to its petals.
While mentioning Victoria Park it would be remiss of me not to mention that it contains picnic tables and barbecue facilities together with an oval, a small duck pond, bicycle tracks and a recently installed state of the art adventure playground with an eight metre high tower, climbing nets, slides, a double flying fox and more, catering for infants through to teens. It is also located with easy access to the city’s Aquatic Centre and Skate Park.
I understand there are advanced plans afoot to establish a Japanese Garden with the park, in the near future. I look forward to that.
My next Goulburn review– HERE
Return to the beginning of my Goulburn reviews –HERE