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Cremorne is perhaps one of the lesser-known areas of Yarra. Part of the reason for this is the limited access to into Cremorne, created by the raised railway embankment to its north and east, the Yarra River to the south, and Punt Road to the west.
The area now known as Cremorne (bounded by Hoddle, Church and Swan Streets, and the Yarra River) was divided into six allotments which were purchased between 1846 and 1849. These were long narrow allotments which fronted Swan Street and ran down to the Yarra River.
The flat area beside the Yarra River was first developed into large villas and gardens. Over time these were sold and used for industrial purposes, or subdivided for workers' cottages.
Cremorne Gardens Amusement Park
Henry Ginn purchased crown allotments three and four in June 1846 and built a large villa. This land was sold to James Ellis in 1853, and the site became the Cremorne Gardens Amusement Park.
The gardens were based on contemporary English amusement parks set in landscaped grounds, and included a band stand, dance floors, a lake, a menagerie, maze, theatre, gondolas on the river, and firework displays. People came to the gardens by steamboat or train from Melbourne. The gardens were bounded by Balmain, Cubitt and Cremorne Streets.
Private lunatic asylum
The Cremorne Gardens were sold in 1863 and adapted for use as a private lunatic asylum. In 1884 the asylum was purchased and subdivided for residential purposes.
Unemployment was a large problem for Richmond in the 1860s, which resulted in the Yarra Pollution Act of 1855 (which forbade industry from discharging waste into the river) being repealed, enabling Cremorne and Burnley to be seen as attractive places to establish manufacturing. This resulted in these primarily residential / farming areas being transformed into industrial areas in the 1870s.
Notable industrial complexes
Notable industrial complexes include the former Richmond Power Station, the Bryant and May and Rosella factory complexes, and the Richmond Maltings site (with Nylex sign atop).
As the area became more industrial, the standard of housing declined, with the area being declared a slum. The area is currently being revived as industry moves out and is replaced with office and residential uses.