The area occupied by Johnstone Park was originally known as Western Gully, a watercourse that drained towards Corio Bay. In 1849 a dam was built at the downstream end of the gully, near the present Gheringhap Street roundabout. The dam was fenced off in 1851 after at least one person and several horses drowned. The area was made into a park in March 1872, named after former Geelong mayor Robert De Bruce Johnstone. The park stretched from Gheringhap Street to Latrobe Terrace. In December that year the first band concert was held by the Geelong Artillery Corps band. A octagonal wooden bandstand was erected in the park during November 1873. The Belcher Fountain was installed near the park in 1874, in the middle of the Gheringhap Street roundabout. The fountain was a gift to the City of Geelong from former Mayor George Frederick Belcher.