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William Tell Rest House restoration

Visitors to the Melbourne Gardens will be pleased to see the restoration of the William Tell Rest House just over twelve months since it was destroyed by fire. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the rest house will soon be restored to its rightful place on the edge of Ornamental Lake.

Construction of the Rest House began in early May with site preparation and concrete footings being poured ready for the brickwork plinth. Due to the restricted nature of the site, the Rest House has been built off-site, then dismantled, trucked to the Melbourne Gardens, craned into position and then re-erected. 

Garden’s Director and Chief Executive Professor Tim Entwisle welcomed the progress that has been made in the past twelve months since the fire.

“It’s not the first time that the William Tell Rest House has been destroyed by fire. In 1994 the original rest house was lost to an accidental fire and was replaced with a replica in 1997.

“It’s heartening to see the progress that has been made to rebuilding the rest house a second time around and restoring it to its familiar place in Melbourne Gardens.”

The new rest house is a replica of the original structure built in 1897 and which was based on the design of the William Tell Chapel, located on the edge of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, which William Guilfoyle, the Gardens’ second director, visited when on a trip to Europe in 1890.

Professor Entwisle said work is expected to be completed in July, when it will be re-opened it to the public.

Work still to be completed includes roofing, mounting the fletch, internal lining, asphalting, seat installation and some surrounding landscaping.

Repair work is also progressing on the Lake View Pavilion which was damaged by fire at the same time as the William Tell Rest House. It is anticipated that this Pavilion will also be re-opened during July. 

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