Canterbury Road forest is about twenty years old, and was born from an idea from some enthusiastic members of the South Melbourne City Council who favoured the planting of indigenous trees. They saw the area, now called the ‘Urban Forest’, as a way of giving people the pleasure of seeing a wide variety of native trees and shrubs while helping them recognise the shapes, the scents, the bark and the leaf colours.
During the 1990s native vegetation was planted to reflect the diversity of trees and shrubs found in some of Victoria’s climate zones. Many of the trees in that initial planting were drawn from several places in Australia, including West Australian Eucalypts, Tasmanian Blue Gums and a select group of trees found in one place near the Victorian town of Buxton.
Since the beginning of the year 2000, spaces within the urban forest have been filled with local indigenous plants.
While taking an easy walk along the lake side of Canterbury Road from either Kerferd Road (walking south) or South Melbourne Swamp (walking north from Fraser Street), examples of Victoria’s forest and wetland species can be found. The plantings from Kerferd Road through to Wright Street Light Rail Station are from the Grampians in Central Western Victoria.
Wright Street to Harold Street represents the West Gippsland river valley country of Cann River through to Mallacoota on the eastern coast, and the plantings between Harold Street and Middle Park station are from the Mallee, that semi arid zone of North Western Victoria.
South of Middle Park station to Langridge Street you will find the Otways section of the forest country West of Apollo Bay.
Strollers along the pathway will find themselves in the final section which extends to South Melbourne Swamp. This is planted with Box Iron Bark and associated species. South Melbourne Swamp itself, at the end of the Urban Forest, has trees and plants found in this area before settlement.
See the leaflet Take a Walk in the Canterbury Road Urban Forest for details of the flora that you can see.
The Canterbury Road Urban Forest follows the East Side of Canterbury Road from Kerferd Road in Albert Park to Fraser Street in Middle Park, next to the light rail line.