History of Rotary Melbourne Peace Park

Peace Park

About the Park Peace Bells Rotary & Peace Commemorations Self-Guided Walking Tour


The Park was inaugurated in March 1935 when Paul Harris, founder of Rotary, planted a Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus) that is today a fine specimen of this species. His wife, Mrs Jean Harris, also planted a tree on that occasion as did Angus Mitchell, the then District Governor and later first Australian President of Rotary International, and his wife, Mrs Teena Mitchell. Professor William Osborne, the Foundation President of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, and Alfred Holtz, a past President of the Club and past District Governor were other notables who planted trees on that occasion. Not all the trees survived the ravages of time and vandals, but replacements have been made, and the Park has become a much loved and used venue for walking, jogging, reading and sylvan contemplation.

Paul Harris and Angus Mitchell Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammer Rotary Park

Over the 70 years since Paul Harris and other notables planted those first six trees, a red granite seat has been erected as a memorial to the work of Paul Harris and Angus Mitchell, and a further 34 trees gave been planted or dedicated by:

  • Sir Dallas Brooks, Governor of Victoria, marking the 50th year of Rotary,
  • 22 Presidents of Rotary International,
  • 8 District Governors who had previously served as Presidents of the Club,
  • Tom Lothian, the last surviving charter member of the Club,
  • Alfred Gifford, Chair of Rotary Park Committee 1971-8
  • Royce Abbey, one as Vice-President and a second as President of Rotary International.

Click below for more information about those commemorated at the Park.

The City of Melbourne Council continues to manage and protect the Park, providing another example of the enduring and supportive relationship between the Rotary Club of Melbourne and the City of Melbourne. The Rotary Park Committee hopes that Melburnians will long continue to enjoy and respect this living piece of Rotary history.

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