Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Ballarat Botanical Gardens

BALLARAT BOTANICAL GARDENS – Assessment Against Criteria The Ballarat Botanical Gardens, gazetted in 1857 and developed from 1858 on the old Police paddock site, is an outstanding example of a botanical garden. The large 40 hectare site is bounded by Lake Wendouree (originally Yuille’s Swamp) to the east, the northern extension of St Aiden’s Drive, The Boulevarde, Gregory Street, Gillies Street and Carlton Street along the south. Although the area between Wendouree Parade and the lake is considered to be part of the lake surrounds, this section is integral to the gardens and was included in the original 1885 reservation. This site is part of the traditional land of the Wathaurung people. The core of the gardens is contained in the area between the nursery/works area and Adam Lindsay Gordon cottage in the north, and the fish hatchery in the south. North of the central gardens is an open area with space for sporting activities surrounded by park-like plantings of predominantly conifers. This is also the site of the former zoological section, which retains some remnant cages and a wetlands area near The Boulevarde. Closer to the works area, a road leads off Wendouree Parade to connect with Gillies Street and this passes a large and impressive picnic shelter with an elegant concave iron roof supported on slender columns. To the south of the Trout Hatchery is another open area of parkland used for sporting activities with the Australian Ex-prisoner of War memorial located adjacent to Carlton Street. The park land north and south of the main gardens forms a critical buffer both in spatial and visual terms. The layout of the main garden is governed by four main north-south axes; Wendouree Parade, the Giant Redwood Avenue, the Prime Minister’s Avenue and a path running along the western boundary parallel to Gillies Street. The two central avenues provide strong visual elements with the massive redwoods forming one of the most prominent features of the gardens. The Prime Ministers’ Avenue although far lower in scale, has a strong focus with its regularly spaced busts and avenue of chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum and A. x carnea). East-west links are made via the fernery, a path to the conservatory, a path at the head of the Giant Redwood Avenue, a path linking two circular features and a path with arbours near the fish hatchery. All these paths have different characteristics – the ferney is a winding path through the lathed buildings; the path to the conservatory runs through the open lawns area where bedding displays are prominent; the path at the end of the Giant Redwood Avenue is curved and marks the start of a more densely treed area; a further path joins two large circular beds, one for floral display and the other a Sensory Garden ; and the southern path runs below arbours clad with creepers. The garden has lawn set with trees, flower beds, statuary, structures and several dedicated display gardens such as the camellia garden, the azalea gardens and the conifer garden. Significant trees include the largest Exeter Elm (Ulmus glabra ‘Exoniensis’), and rarely cultivated in Victoria, two rare Ulmus x hollandica ‘Wredei’, a large Horizontal Elm (Ulmus glabra ‘Pendula’), and English Elm (Ulmus procera), Dutch Elm (Ulmus x hollandica), Weeping Elm (Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’), Golden Elm (Ulmus glabra ‘Lutescens’), Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) and a young American Elm (Ulmus Americana). Other significant trees are the Sierra or Giant Redwoods, (Sequoia giganteum) planted soon after the species was introduced into Victoria, Horse Chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum), English or Field Maple (Acer campestre) Bunya Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii), Tasmanian Blue Gum, (Eucalyptus globulus subsp. globulus), Weeping Ash (Fraxinus excelsior ‘Pendula’), Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis), Norway Spruce (Picea abies), Western Yellow Pine, (Pinus ponderosa), Turkey Oak, (Quercus cerris), English Oak (Quercus robur), Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and Swamp or Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum). The northern end of the central garden is dominated by the elegant octagonal Statuary Pavilion, the Robert Clark Conservatory, a striking glazed building with faceted panels set at an angle forming a long space of triangular cross sections and the large timber Fernery. Adjacent is the relocated small timber cottage, once home of the poet Adam Lindsay Gordon. To the east of Wendouree Park is a strip of land which serves both lake and gardens. Adjacent to the main point of entry to the gardens is the Lake House Pavillion, a decorative brick refreshment room of cruciform plan still serving its original purpose. Slightly south is the Almeida Pavilion, originally for amusement machines but now an open shelter with four cannons located nearby. To the north is an area known as Fairyland, part of the lake margin with overhanging willows, narrow paths and an enclosed, intimate character (compared with the bold floral displays and wide expanses of lawn in the gardens). South of the Lake Lodge is a park-like area with a bandstand and other shelters and playground equipment and car parking areas. Wendouree Parade itself is entered at north and south through large stone pillars with a nearby single cannon and a tram runs along the roadway for the length of the gardens. Draft – Not yet confirmed by Heritage Council ASSESSMENT AGAINST CRITERIA a. Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria’s cultural history Developed from 1858, the Ballarat Botanical Gardens are one of the best examples of a botanic garden in Victoria. Retaining typical gardenesque and botanical gardens characteristics, they include open lawn areas planted with mature specimen trees, areas of intensive horticultural interest, formal avenues, horticultural buildings such as a fernery and conservatory, fountains, statuary and close proximity to a township developed during the mid nineteenth century. b. Possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Victoria’s cultural history. The Ballarat Botanical Gardens are important for the collection of plants characteristic of nineteenth and early twentieth century Victorian gardens, as well as representative of more specialised plant groups befitting the scientific role of a botanic garden. The planting includes many uncommon trees specimens now often only found in botanic gardens or historic landscapes. c. Potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Victoria’s cultural history. The Ballarat Botanical Gardens are one of Victoria’s best known and most visited regional botanic gardens, enhanced by events such as the Begonia Festival (since 1953). The civic pride and prosperity of Ballarat, originally derived from the gold rush, continues to be reflected in the gardens which have been enhanced through bequests and donations enabling the addition of statues and significant buildings, such as the Robert Clark Conservatory. Also the location of the gardens adjacent to Lake Wendouree provides a strong recreational link with the surrounding foreshore areas and, since the 1870s, has been a popular place of leisure and recreation for locals and visitors. d. Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural places or environments. e. Importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics. The retention of the north-south linear layout provides a strong visual aesthetic which is accentuated by mature avenue plantings of Giant Redwood, Horse Chestnuts and English Oaks. The setting of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens adjacent to Lake Wendouree to the east and the open areas to the north and the south provides significant views into and out of the gardens and a contrast to the more formal central section. The gardens provide a fine setting for the collection of nineteenth century statues including a dedicated Statuary Pavilion and an avenue of sculptures of Australian Prime Ministers. f. Importance in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period. g. Strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons. This includes the significance of a place to Indigenous peoples as part of their continuing and developing cultural traditions. h. Special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in Victoria’s history.
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Ballarat Botanical Gardens

The Ballarat Botanical Gardens covers 40 hectares divided into three distinct zones – the central Botanical Gardens which preserves the ‘gardenesque’ style of the Victorian pleasure garden, and open parkland buffers on either side are known as the North and South Gardens. The Ballarat Botanical Gardens is one of Australias most significant cool climate gardens, containing a remarkable collection of mature trees and marble statues set among colourful bedding displays. Located on the western shore of Lake Wendouree, approximately 4km from Ballarat CBD, the Gardens is an invaluable heritage and recreational resource. Garden’s History In 1858, two years after the municipality was formed, a decision was made to convert the Ballarat Police Horse Paddock into a botanical gardenRobert Clark Conservatory Located in the heart of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, the Robert Clark Conservatory is open daily from 9.00am to 4:30pmFeatures Featuring the Prime Ministers Avenue, statues and thematic collections of ferns, grasses and indigenous plants complement the display beds of bedding plants, roses, rockery and woodland plants. Facilities ParkingParking is available along Wendouree Parade or Gillies Street. Ample parking is available for buses in Wendouree Parade near the North Gardens toilets and Pipers on the Parade restaurant.ToiletsPublic toilets are located at either end of the Botanical Gardens.

Ballarat Botanical Gardens