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Cecil Street, Williamstown
The Elms at the Robertson Reserve are of local historic and aesthetic significance to the City of Hobson’s Bay. They demonstrate the early development of the Market Reserve, which was one of the first public reserves set aside in Williamstown and assist in illustrating prevailing attitudes to landscape design of public places during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
History: The exact planting date of the trees within the Robertson Reserve is unclear. The 1907 detail plan of the area shows street trees in Cecil and Hanmer Streets, as well as trees all around what remained of the old Market Reserve. The Cecil Street and Market Reserve trees were presumably elms. Elms were known to have been used by Council in other locations in Williamstown at this time and they were also popular street trees in urban areas during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
A 1924 aerial view shows the complex with thick tree planting around the school reserve perimeter inside and out, particularly next to St Mary’s, but the market reserve trees appear to have just been planted and are immature or intermittent. This indicates possible replanting at some stage early in the twentieth century (after WW1) or stunted growth from the earlier plan date of 1907.