Almost halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide, Horsham is the perfect rest stop for those enduring the long trips up and down the highway. An oasis in the centre of town, May Park, has seen many a local and traveler enjoying a bite to eat and some shade on a hot summer’s day.
May Park is conveniently located on the Western Highway and offers plenty of parking, takeaway food options, BBQ area, picnic tables, playground, shade areas, grassed sports area, accessible toilets and a service station close by, making it the ideal location to recharge the batteries. Plus, if dining in is more your style, the Horsham Sports and Community Club and Victoria Hotel on the Park are just a stone throw away.
May Park hosts the Annual Car and Bike Show in March, and over the years has been home to many sports events, Carols by Candlelight and Art Is festival.
A brief history of May Park…
The land that was to become known as May Park was owned by John Gillies when he sold it in 1864 to the Wimmera Shire Council for £77/15/0. It was originally a dam for drainage (including from the May and Millar foundry on the northern side of Victoria Parade - now Dimboola Road), then became a grazing ground for the cows belonging to the residents in the town, followed by a clay pit (used in the 1890s by a local potter George Abbott) before becoming the recreation and garden area we know today.
May Park was transferred to the Borough from the Shire in 1932 and the land was gifted from the Shire to become council property in 1938. The Borough had paid for a bandstand (constructed in 1921 then repaired in 1923) which was sadly removed after World War II - its roofing was used on the city oval booth but that structure was demolished during the 1980s. During the years 1947 and 1948 May Park received renewed interest from both the Borough and the local progress association and so the Millar fountain, which had stood at the intersection of Firebrace and Wilson Streets since 19 February 1902, was moved to its current Park location to be re-roofed in later years.
After being open to the public for some years in 1920 an ‘Official Opening Ceremony’ took place, and May Park was officially declared open by the Mayor of Horsham Cr J Bennett.
In 1921 The Horsham Times reported on May Park Improvements - “A quarterly general meeting of the above association was held in the Town Hall on Thursday evening. Mr J A Morcom presiding over a fair attendance. The President reported that the gross receipts of the collections for the four band recitals held in May Park amounted to £45/14/6, and the expenses, includingadvertising, printing, posters, erection of band stand, etc would amount approximately to £10.
A May and Millar wagon was restored and housed in May Park in February 2017.