Commonwealth Reserve, Hobsons Bay Heritage Study 2006
Statement of Significance
What is Significant?
The Commonwealth Reserve, which includes the Band Rotunda, Time Gauge House, Nelson Anchor and Swivel, Wilkinson Memorial Drinking Fountain, path layout, landscaping and significant trees at 132-142 Nelson Place, Williamstown.
How is it Significant?
The Commonwealth Reserve is of local historic, social, aesthetic and scientific (horticultural) significance to the City of Hobsons Bay.
Why is it Significant?
Historically and socially, the Commonwealth Reserve was the original landing place for the Town of Williamstown and, later, an important recreation space associated with the development of the port and Nelson Place as the main commercial centre of Williamstown during the nineteenth century. The early development of the Reserve is demonstrated by the Wilkinson Memorial Drinking fountain, the Band Rotunda and the now mature Elms, which were among the first plantings to be carried out at the reserve. (AHC criteria A4 and D2)
Aesthetically, the Commonwealth Reserve provides an important visual and functional link between the original commercial and public heart of Williamstown with its maritime industry. From it there is the justly celebrated view of Hobsons Bay and the city skyline. The Victorian and Edwardian character of the reserve enhances the historic nineteenth century character of Nelson Place. (AHC criteria E1)
Scientifically, the Tasmanian Blue Gum is of horticultural interest as a rare example of a native species in terms of its size and maturity in a metropolitan context and for the landmark qualities associated with the combination of its evident native origins, size and age within a historic domain, as contrasted with the almost wholly exotic planting nearby. (AHC criterion B2)