Parliament Reserve suffers from neglect, residents call for action

Parliament Reserve Melbourne
Brendan Rees

Parliament Reserve, a popular park next to Parliament House, is being subjected to vandalism, bins overflowing, and banned bike riders, according to a concerned life-long resident.

The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said in his 25 years of regularly visiting the park, the garden, and the general upkeep of it was “not what it used to be”, with its maintenance being the responsibility of the City of Melbourne.

The small triangular park, along Spring and Albert streets, is located within the area of the Coles fountain and the bronze statue of Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls and Lady Gladys Nicholls, two of Australia’s most prominent Indigenous leaders and traditional owners.  

But according to the resident, the park had been degraded into a state of “neglect” including two gold-plated brass signs of “Parliament Reserve” being vandalised with scratch marks.

He said the plates weren’t even “polished proudly as it should be when you walk in form Spring St” despite being “only 10 steps from Parliament House”.

Furthermore, he said the bins next to the entrance on Spring St were regularly overflowing and signs banning cycling in the park had been graffitied.

Painted markings on the ground banning cyclists had also faded and barely legible, with the resident saying he had nearly been bowled over twice by riders.

There are also no signs banning e-scooter riders who also used the park, which the resident said was causing a hazard to visitors.


A resident is concerned about the state of Parliament Reserve. Photos: Brendan Rees


“If it keeps progressing as it is, not being maintained to the high level, it will become trashy,” the resident said.

In a statement, the City of Melbourne said, “Council staff are on-site on weekdays to maintain the Coles Fountain, garden and floral beds, trees and lawns, empty bins and remove graffiti”.

“Council regularly receives positive community feedback regarding the management of the area.”

But when CBD News visited the park in February, graffiti was scrawled on the pathway and on a meter box, while sections of the garden had been trampled on with some plants in desperate need of watering including parts of the lawn.

The fountain was also not in operation despite it being a hot day with the fountain’s pool also appearing murky.

Additionally, a pile of rubbish was also seen near a tree at the front entrance of Spring St.

The resident, who is passionate about the city’s green spaces and is a member of the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, said the council must action soon before the park loses its charm and value.

“It’s very disappointing because I see it as a therapeutic area; it’s so close to the city and adjacent to Parliament House,” he said.

“It’s a little gem ... we want it to be safe and secure, and well looked after and manicured.”

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