Batman Park

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A Visit by the Voyeur Gardener (1996)

Batman Park is one of those odd pieces of green on the city map. Although it may once have been a disregarded corner of land bounded by bridges and the brown Yarra River, it is now part of a revitalised section of Melbourne.

Batman Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Photograph by Ali Kayn, 1996; 550x361

Batman Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Photograph (c) Ali Kayn, 1996 (note yellow Vault sculpture in the background, right).

Surrounding the park are the World Trade Centre (one of the few places in Melbourne capable of handling meetings of 1,000 or more), the new Exhibition Centre, and the Crown Casino.

I was one of those who argued for the removal of Ron Robertson-Swann's Vault from the Melbourne City Square.


It now stands in a hard-edged commercial corner of Melbourne where tourists and convention-goers and exhibition-visitors are drawn. The force of Vault's yellow planes and strong edges makes the right statement in this spot. Tough, brash, simple, and unashamed.

Well, it should. And it could. But not in the terribly neglected condition in which I found it. The edges where softened by nicks and bumps, and the yellow was polluted by over-washing and abuse.

While it may not have been welcome amongst the grand old stones of Swanston Street, Vault is a acquisition of which Melbourne should be proud. It has strength and character, and its controversial history commands a place in the story of Melbourne.

Rialto Towers seen behind Vault, Batman Park, Melbourne. Photograph by Ali Kayn, 1996

Rialto Towers seen behind Vault, Batman Park, Melbourne. Photograph by Ali Kayn, 1996

For the boulvardiers who sit and sip coffee from the opposite banks, Batman Park is part of a complicated landscape. The muddy river with its traffic of pleasure craft separates Batman Park from the Casino complex. Behind Batman Park is the elevated railway track, and behind that, the Melbourne buildings.

This isn't a park to take the kiddies for a carefree picnic, however, as it has a high wind warning. They built a helipad floating on the river, and the helicopter traffic, though interesting, is noisy and could blow your picnic plates away.


submitted by Ali Kayn 1996
See also: Guidebook entry, Batman Park
Revisited by Ali Kayn in March, 2005

Items of Interest: Yarra River, nearby Enterprize Park, Old Customs House (Immigration Museum), Sealife Aquarium, Southbank Precinct

Just the facts:

Batman Park, Melbourne inner city

Small riverside park opposite the Southbank Precinct and Crown Casino. Near to Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre. Helipad. Next to Enterprize Park. Visit March, 2005
Visit 1996

Getting there:

Corner Spencer and Flinders Streets, Melbourne. City Circle tram or any tram along Flinders Street going towards Spencer Street - then walk under railway bridge or walk from Southern Cross Station or Flinders Street Station.


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