Alfred Square is a park in St. Kilda, Melbourne abutting The Esplanade, it is bounded by low stone walls on the south and west, and crossed by paths. It contains memorials to the South Africa (2nd Boer) War and Victoria Cross recipients as well as a commemorative plaque for the first recorded building in St Kilda.
In the early 1800s, the area was known as Custom House Reserve or “Custom Reserve”.
In 1861, a bowling green was in use within the reserve, and a tall flagstaff where the council flew the British flag on “every high day, and holiday”.
The forthcoming visit to Australia in 1868 of Prince Alfred, second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha motivated the renaming of many sites including this square park in his honour. In 1867, St. Kilda Council accepted the offer from two local residents to erect “a flagstaff 100 feet high with gaff stays etc.” in the Custom House Reserve, to be called the Prince Alfred Flagstaff. Council also agreed to their request to rename the area as the “Alfred Reserve”.
The Prince’s first set foot on Victorian soil at St. Kilda and the flagpole was dressed with St. George’s Cross at the main, and ensign at gaff.
In July 1868, the Victorian Lands and Survey authorities proclaimed a Crown Grant of “1 acre, 3 roods, 18 perches” “reserved for public purposes”. The park was thereafter called Prince Albert Square and often shortened to “Alfred Square”.
In 1873, the Planting Committee of the St. Kilda Council recommended “that Alfred Square, occupying as it does such a commanding position on the Esplanade, be enclosed by a dwarf wall, surrounded by handsome iron palings, furnished with suitable gates, and that it be levelled, laid out, and planted.” The estimated cost of £1,000 was too much for the council, and the work was not done.