Historic botanical gardens undergo major refurbishment

The completion of the $2.5 million refurbishment of the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens has been well worth the wait, with the funding and planning process beginning way back in 2009.

The Castlemaine Botanical Gardens were initially established in 1860 with Philip Doran as their first curator, an associate of the highly regarded botanist Baron von Mueller. As a result of their age, the Gardens boast many significant plantings, including an English Oak that is one of the oldest known cultivated trees in Victoria.

Identified as a site of great significance for Castlemaine and the greater Victorian community, given its historical value, Mount Alexander Shire Council successfully applied for grants to refurbish the Gardens under the Australian Government’s Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program and from Heritage Victoria.

The major work on the garden was undertaken over a period of two years, with the refurbished Gardens officially opened in November 2011 by the Hon. Steve Gibbons MP, Federal Member for Bendigo, and celebrated with a community Garden Party.

Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire, Councillor Janet Cropley said of the upgraded Gardens: “The new play space is a major highlight that will be sure to engage children of all ages for many years to come.

“Other improvements include the restoration of the former Tea Rooms, the rehabilitation of Lake Joanna, upgraded toilet facilities, safer carparks, improved lighting, a new picnic shelter, improved pathways and additional plantings throughout.

“Council was fortunate to have a passionate and skilled team working on this project, including a Project Reference Group, landscape architects, architects, contractors, project managers and Council staff,” said Cr Cropley.