Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) — The Rippon Lea gardens estate is nearly as old as Victoria itself and has a history as rich as Parliament House, in which we stand. The Rippon Lea estate is a hidden gem, nestled within 14 acres of breathtaking garden not far from the busy modern world of Glen Huntly Road. This piece of Melbourne history, far from being a relic of times past, is a living, breathing part of our past whose former owners include Victorian premiers and state ministers.
Today Rippon Lea estate is a major tourist attraction in my electorate, having had some 70 000 visitors in the last 12 months. Remarkably, in the last seven weeks an additional 30 000 visitors have come to see the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition. Award-winning restaurant Attica uses herbs from the estate gardens in its kitchen.
The National Trust regularly makes the home available for educational tours and functions. The economic impact of the home spreads well beyond the suburb of Ripponlea itself.
The City of Glen Eira recently released its open space strategy, supported by the coalition government, to help make use of the small amount of open space within the council area, the lowest of any in metropolitan Melbourne. Given the National Trust spends $l million on maintaining Rippon Lea, one-third of which is spent on the gardens alone, I believe there is a real opportunity for City of Glen Eira residents, including my constituents, to gain further access to the grounds of Rippon Lea and for this beautiful gem to be used for the benefit of our community. Over coming weeks I am keen to facilitate consultation with local residents and the City of Glen Eira to see whether a partnership can be developed to finally open the gates of this great facility.
In the past lots of campaigns have been run by local residents, and I am keen to open up this facility for them.