The works on the new Sustainable Visitor Facility and the Pacific Rim Garden Project at Geelong Botanic Gardens have now been completed.
Covering just over two hectares in size, these works represent the largest development in the gardens for over 20 years.
The newly completed Pacific Rim Garden displays rare plants from the pacific region including Pines, Conifers, Sequoias, Cedars and more, all of which have been collected from areas that are threatened by deforestation and climate change.
For 30 years, plant collector Alistair Watt travelled to the most remote corners of the pacific region to find these species.
The Geelong Botanic Gardens began their propagation in 2005.
These plants are members of the Gymnosperm species and have been sourced from New Caledonia, Fiji, New Zealand, South East Asia, Vietnam, China, North America, Chile, Central and South America and Australia.
The north-facing aspect of the landscape provides optimal growing conditions, particularly for many of the rare trees that will one day redefine the garden’s canopy.
The Friends of the Geelong Botanic Gardens provided the funds for the propagation of the plants as well as the restored Furphy water tank that is now on display.
The Friends donated over $3,000 to transport the tank and have it re-barrelled in stainless steel, sandblasted, painted, and connected to potable water supply.
This tank was originally used in the gardens 100 years ago and was likely used for surrounding gardens throughout the City.
The tank is stamped with the casting date of 1920 and is a fine example of the water cart created by John Furphy which is well known for its use in farming and for delivering water to Australian troops during the first World War.
Featured on the tank is a small poem; and Furphy company motto, which is said to encourage continual improvement. Good Better Best, Never Let it Rest, Until your Good is Better, and your Better Best.
This restored piece of Australian history is a treat for visitors to the Geelong Botanic Gardens.
Friends of the Geelong Botanic Gardens President Allison Martland said the Friends of the Geelong Botanic Gardens have been delighted to fund the restoration of the historic Furphy water tank.
“It is wonderful to see it sit so well in the newest area of the Gardens.
With the casting date of 1920 stamped on the tank it is fitting that this beautifully restored icon of Australia is revived exactly 100 years later, as we celebrate the opening of an amazing facility and a garden that will mature over the next 100 years.
The Friends were proud to pledge support for the development of the project and congratulate the Gardens management and staff on achieving such a magnificent space for all to enjoy.” Martland said.
Also located within the Pacific Rim Garden, the new open-air Sustainable Visitor Facility will be used for education programs, events, and entertainment and will become available for private bookings.
The facility, which includes new toilet facilities for visitors, is surrounded by the sustainable, drought-tolerant garden that uses low levels of energy and water.
The project has been delivered over 18-months, with the construction of the Sustainable Visitor Facility beginning in February 2019, and the civil and landscaping works commencing in January 2020.
Cr Anthony Aitken, Chair, City Works, Parks and Gardens congratulates everyone involved in the project.
“These are great new assets to the gardens. To deliver this during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a commendable achievement.
The visitor centre creates a unique space and adds a new and unique venue for live entertainment and performances.” Cr Aitken said.
The $2.2 million project was fully funded and delivered by the City.
Cr Belinda Moloney, Deputy Chair, City Works, Parks and Gardens encourages visitors to use the new additions as spaces to learn and socialise.
"These works to create the new Pacific Rim Garden and the Sustainable Visitor Facility are a wonderful addition to Geelong’s much-loved Botanic Gardens.
From its establishment in the 1850s through to the current day, the Geelong Botanic Gardens have provided visitors with a beautiful place to walk, picnic, meet friends and socialise.
These new additions will provide further opportunities for visitors, including many school groups which visit, to learn about plants, including rare and endangered species.” Cr Moloney said.
The facilities are now open for all visitors to the Geelong Botanic Gardens from 8:00am to 7:00pm daily.