Structures destroyed by fire
Three structures have been damaged at Melbourne Gardens this morning with extensive damage occurring to the William Tell Rest House, the historic Lake View Rest House and a toilet block.
The William Tell Rest House originally built in 1897 was destroyed in an accidental fire in 1994 and rebuilt in 1997. The replica was a much loved attraction for visitors and the site of the Gardens’ popular harp concerts.
The Lake View Rest House, c1920 was partially damage with fire affecting the ceiling area and wooden seating areas.
There was some minor damage to plants.
Professor Tim Entwisle said the news today will be distressing to those many people who love the Gardens. "After the vandalism last year we have increased security patrols, installed strategic surveillance cameras and taken the unprecedented step of fencing a tree (the Separation Tree, the subject of an attempted ring-barking last year).
"In the end though we rely of the respect almost everyone has for our Royal Botanic Gardens. To have this happen is a shock and difficult to comprehend. We will rebuild and replant. We will also give the Police every assistance we can to catch the perpetrators."
The Gardens has been reopened to the public but the affected areas have been barricaded for public safety.
The incident is being investigated by Victoria Police who will investigate the matter further. Police are urging any witnesses or anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppers.com.au