Barkly Park is situated adjacent to the Taradale Viaduct. Originally comprising 108.5 acres annexed from the survey paddock, it was reserved for public purposes in January of 1858 and gazetted as a park to be managed by the Taradale Council in October of 1861.
The size of the park was reduced in 1872 when land to the north of the park was opened for leasehold and a road to Hollywells Bridge was put through the grounds leaving the area closest to town as a designated garden.
In 1888 the park area was further reduced when after much local opposition, large areas were alienated for sale and the remaining 38 were gazetted as a permanent park reservation.
Although District Surveyor Urquhart originally proposed the Barkly Park area be used as a home farm, it was reserved for recreation but continued to be used for public events, as a general common and for mining until around 1875 when efforts were made to purchase trees and shrubs and appoint both a gardener and labourer to manage the grounds. Plantings remaining which may date from this time include a Dutch elm (ulmus x hollanidca) and two rare Scots pines (pinus sylvestris).
Around 1935 the grounds were developed as a 9 hole golf course. The Taradale Golf Club hosted regular matches and an annual championship, the last of which was held in 1958. Turnstiles and two privy sheds remain on the grounds from this time.
A portion of the park was until recently the site of two heritage listed oaks (the Royal Oaks) which were planted at Taradale in 1863 to commemorate the marriage of the then Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward VII) to Princess Alexandra. In 2011 one oak fell over and the remaining oak was removed by the Mount Alexander Shire due to concerns about its safety in 2012. Replacement trees have been planted adjacent to the original markers and there are seats and a bin provided for visitors.
The park is a classified as a streamside reserve and is recognized as part of a network of threatened box ironbark woodland corridors providing habitat for local and threatened flora and fauna.
From the Royal Oaks rest area, there is a public footpath across the park to a gate opening onto the Taradale-Metcalfe road, near the bridge over the Coliban River.
The park is managed by a Department of Environment (DELWP) Trust. Enquiries about the park should be directed to the secretary of the Barkly Park Trust Committee, Chris Burgess on 0413083567.