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Melbourne Is Getting a New 3500-Square-Metre Riverside Park with an Urban Forest

Plans for Seafarers Rest in Docklands also include grassy lawns and flexible event spaces.
By Libby Curran
April 22, 2021
By Libby Curran
April 22, 2021

Come 2024, Melbourne will have a brand new spot for al fresco adventures, with the announcement of a brand new public park set to open on the banks of the Yarra River. Dubbed Seafarers Rest, the 3500-square-metre space is in the works for Northbank — that oft-forgotten wedge of land between Flinders Street and the river, located opposite Southbank and accessed via the Seafarers Bridge.

After a period of community consultation and a few tweaks to the original plans, the park's final design scored its approval from the City of Melbourne this week. Developer Riverlee is set to kick off construction shortly, though it's no small project —which is why Seafarers Rest isn't slated to be completed for three years.

Final plans for the new park promise an injection of open space along the riverfront stretch, encompassing grassy lawns, play areas, pedestrian paths, seating and flexible event spaces, as well as something the developers are calling an 'urban forest'. The design, by local landscape architects Oculus, pays homage to both the site's First Nations history and the site's long maritime connection. Plus, in alignment with the City of Melbourne's 40 percent Urban Forest Canopy target, it's set to be a leafy haven, with the land's existing collection of eucalypts to be retained and enhanced.

Indeed, if seeing greenery in this part of the city sounds familiar, that's because Northbank hosted a field of tulips back in 2019. That one-day pop-up lined the wharf in front of the Riverlee display suite — but, obviously, the new park will be sticking around permanently

Tulips at Northbank in 2019

Seafarers Restwill form part of the $500 million Seafarers development project, which will also see the adjacent heritage-protected Goods Shed 5 transformed into a luxury residential site and accommodation precinct for Australia's first 1 Hotel.

"Seafarers Rest has been part of Riverlee's plan to transform this somewhat forgotten part of the city for many years, so we are excited to officially be progressing with our plans in creating a green, open space by the river for everyone to enjoy," said David Lee, Development Director for Riverlee. "Through a highly collaborative process, we are proud to make possible the
largest programmed park outside of Birrarrung Marr that allows for connection with the river."

Seafarers Rest is due to open at Northbank in 2024. For more details, jump over to the City of Melbourne website.

Published on April 22, 2021 by Libby Curran

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