Cremorne Gardens under George Coppin
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About Cremorne Gardens under George Coppin
From 1856 to 1863 local speculator and actor George Coppin presided over Richmond's Cremorne Gardens and transformed them into Melbourne's premier entertainment destination. Its fantastic assets included an artificial lake (where the first white swans imported into Australia lived) surrounded by flower-laden gardens, a maze, an exotic menagerie, a 70-foot-high representation of Mt Vesuvius which erupted in a spectacular fireworks display each night, hot-air-balloon ascents, a bowling saloon, grottoes, refreshment bars, sideshows and a theatre.
Historic newspapers rhapsodically reported on its extravagant invitation-only opening in December 1856, during which well-heeled guests arrived by steamboat, gondola and carriage; and published notices of forthcoming performances and fancy dress balls, as well as letters to the editor lamenting the cost of admission.
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