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Castlemaine Botanical Gardens history

Castlemaine Botanical Gardens 2

Castlemaine Botanical Gardens are one of Victoria’s oldest regional botanic gardens. The gardens were gazetted on 21 February 1860. Their scale reflects Castlemaine’s prosperity during the gold rush and community desire to highlight the success of the town. The gardens are believed to be designed by the first curator, Phillip Doran who held this position for 47 years until his death in 1913.

Development of the gardens was ongoing and continued until their peak in the 1890s. The impressive cast iron gates were constructed in 1877-78 by local engineering firm Thompson & Co and local monumental mason George Redfearn. Also in 1877-78, a decorative fountain was erected nearby. Lake Joanna was completed in 1879 and Lake Augusta was constructed in 1884. In the 1890s, a rustic bridge, conservatory, fernery, shelter shed, rotunda and grotto were added. The tearooms were constructed in 1919 and in 1920 a glasshouse was built.

Many of the gardens heritage features including Lake Augusta, the summerhouse, bridges and grotto have since been removed. The gardens have decreased in size, with land annexed for a caravan park, swimming pool and Alexander Hospital, but remain of historical, scientific, social and aesthetic significance.

Many of the original plants were provided by Government Botanist Ferdinand Mueller and Daniel Bunce the curator of Geelong Botanic Gardens. An English Oak planted in 1863 is one of the oldest commemorative plantings in Victoria. Many of the plants within the gardens are characteristic of late nineteenth century gardens. They also represent the scientific role of a botanical garden. The gardens feature an outstanding collection of mature trees, including many conifers, Elms and Oaks as well as stunning individual specimens of Indian Bean Tree, Peppercorn and Eucalypts.

Castlemaine Botanical Gardens is registered on the Victorian Heritage Register.

For more information, search the Victorian Heritage Database or contact us.

Look out for the many points of interest highlighted on the Walking Maps on the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens.

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