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Ballarat Botanic 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 Australia's 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.

Prime Ministers Avenue - The Prime Ministers Avenue is a feature of national significance. It is a collection of busts Australian Prime Ministers set in the magnificent Horse Chestnut Avenue of the Gardens. The collection includes a portrait of one of the founding fathers of Federation, Alfred Deakin, who was the first Federal Member for Ballarat and the second Prime Minister. The Prime Ministers are displayed as bronze portraits mounted on polished granite pedestals.

Statues in the Gardens - Wealthy Ballarat citizen, Thomas Stoddart, bought 12 marble statues during a visit to Carrara in Italy and gave them, together with Sicilian marble pedestals, to the citizens of Ballarat. The statues were unveiled by the Governor of Victoria in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens on Empire Day 1884, with thousands of spectators travelling from Melbourne.

In 1888, a second collection of statuary was bought for the Gardens following a bequest from another Ballarat citizen, James Russell Thompson. This consists of five large marble statues which are housed in the Statuary Pavilion, and a large statue of the Scottish hero, William Wallace, which greets visitors at the entrance to the Gardens.

Significant Trees - The Ballarat Botanical Gardens has 52 mature trees listed on the National Trust Significant Trees Register and has many fine specimens of mature conifers, deciduous and native trees.

Habitats - The islands and channels of Lake Wendouree and the North Gardens Wetland provide a range of habitats for native and introduced fish, birds and mammals.

The thematic collections of ferns, grasses and indigenous plants complement the display beds of bedding plants, roses, rockery and woodland plants. The Sensory Garden provides interactive experiences. The Conservatory displays floral crops that have been bred by plant collectors and hybridists to a stage that many will not survive in an open environment.

Other items of interest

The Maze - The first maze, recorded in 1862, was in the vicinity of The Conservatory. A second maze, built in 1888 in the North Gardens was rejuvenated in 1922.

The Claxton Memorial Fountain - The Foundation was erected at the main entrance to the fernery in 1890 by public subscription. It was a tribute to Frederick Moses Claxton, Councillor and Mayor of Ballarat (1872-1877), who was devoted to beautifying the Lake and Gardens.

Morey Gates and Marble Lions - The ornate iron gates at the main entrance to the Gardens were a gift of the Hon. Edward Morey MLC in 1894 and the pair of marble lions situated just inside the gates were presented by the Hon. David Ham MLC in 1893.

The Sundial - The sundial was presented in 1912 by Cr T.T. Hollway after his Mayoral year in office. It was constructed under advice of the Government Astronomer of the time.

The Ballarat Zoo - There are two roads in the North Gardens, Nursery Drive and Zoo Drive, which is a legacy of the zoo which was there for 43 years from 1917 to 1959. Some historic concrete structures from the 1940s are the remnants of the animal enclosures. In 1912 a former Ballarat citizen, Henry Ben Jahn, died in his native Germany. In his will, much to everyone's astonishment, he left his entire estate, about 10,000 pounds, to the City Council for the purpose of establishing a 'menagerie' in the Botanical Gardens.

McDonald Gates - The southern entrance gates with their ionic pillars were erected in 1921 with funds from the McDonald bequest.

The Reflection Pool - The Pool dates from 1938 when it was presented by the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the City of Ballarat in 1868. The chrome sphere was placed on the granite obelisk in 1969, replacing the original bowl.

The Floral Clock - was presented to the citizens of Ballarat in 1954 by the Ballarat Begonia Festival Committee and was moved to its present site from the Sturt Street Gardens in 1980.

The Adam Lindsay Gordon Cottage - This Cottage was relocated to its present position from Bath Lane near Craig's Hotel in 1934. It was occupied by this great Australian poet and horseman in 1868-69. Ballarat Y's Men's Club, which undertook its restoration in 1989, has a continuing interest. In 1992 the Cottage was opened by the Ballarat Crafts Council as an outlet for locally produced crafts.

The Sensory Garden and Fountain - The Garden and Fountain were installed in 1987 as part of the Rock Garden project with funding from Victoria's Sesquicentnary celebrations. The area was further developed in 1993 by the City of Ballaarat with assistance provided by the Frank Pinkerton Estate and the Zonta Club of Ballarat.

The Robert Clark Centre - The Centre was the result of a $2 million bequest from Bob Clark, grandson of Robert Clark, co-founder and proprietor of The Courier. The Conservatory and the Community Resource Centre opened in 1995 and are a permanent memorial to his grandfather.


Ballarat Botanic Gardens is one of the most interesting Botanic Gardens in Victoria and has a range of interesting exhibits. Some of the best features and areas we found were:
  • Plants are labelled with scientific and common names plus place of origin and size.
  • The western bed is arranged in sections such as White Garden, Grey & Purple Garden and Hot Colour Garden
  • The Koorie art poles are interesting to find and examine
  • The Mammonth Tree (Sequoiadendron Giganteum) stretches the entire length of the Gardens. The sweep of the lower branches resemble that of a mammoth's tusks.
  • There are plenty of outdoor statues, sensory gardens, sundial, Fernery, Adam Lindsay House and plenty of seats to sit on and reflect.
  • A row of busts of Australian Prime Ministers which are superb quality which captures their characteristics beautifully.
  • An enclosed rotunda with wonderful marble statues including "The Flight from Pompeii"
  • The huge Statuary Pavilion has wonderful colourful displays and quality art work is generally displayed and available for sale. This building has some sofa couches to flop in as well as some little tables with colouring pencils for the kids. A nice spot to have a quiet rest.
  • Very good adventure playground and Lake Wendouree is next to the Gardens


Address | Contact

Cnr Gillies Street North and Lake Gardens Ave,  Lake Wendouree 3350, Victoria, Australia. View Map Map opens in new browser window
Map: X909 Ref: A11

Web Links

Link Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Link Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Link Prime Ministers Avenue

Link Ballarat Begonia Festival

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