Adelaide Botanic Garden, Australia | CruiseBe
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Adelaide Botanic Garden

Natural sights
parks, walking, nature beauty

Adelaide Botanic Garden is a 51 hectare (125 acres) public garden at the north-east corner of the Adelaide city centre, in the Adelaide Park Lands. It encompasses a fenced garden on North Terrace (between the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the National Wine Centre) and behind it the Botanic Park (adjacent to the Adelaide Zoo). Adelaide Botanic Garden, together with Wittunga and Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens, comprise the Botanic Gardens of South Australia .


From the first official survey carried out for the map of Adelaide - Colonel William Light intended for the planned city to have a 'botanical garden'. To this end : he designated a naturally occurring Ait of land that had formed in the course of the River Torrens. However, it wasn't until 1854, after a public appeal to Governor Sir Henry Young that gardens were established at the current location. They were founded the following year and officially opened in 1857. The garden's design was influenced by the Royal Gardens at Kew, England and Versailles, France.

One of the garden's nineteenth-century directors was the botanist Dr Richard Moritz Schomburgk, brother to the German naturalist Robert Hermann Schomburgk. He was a major advocate for the establishment of forest reserves in the increasingly denuded South Australian countryside. Dr Schomburgk's successor, Dr M. W. Holtze I.S.O., did much to make the gardens more attractive to the general public.

Amongst other scientific and educational displays of native and international horticulture, the gardens hold one of the earliest propagated specimens of the Wollemi Pine tree, which was discovered as recently as 1994.

Palm house

The Palm, or tropical, house is a Victorian glasshouse located to the west of the main lake. It was imported from Bremen, Germany in 1875, opened in 1877 and restored in 1995. As of 2007 it held a collection of Malagasy arid flora.

Rose garden

Begun in 1996, the National Rose Trial Garden is the first garden of its kind in Australia where roses are tested for their suitability for Australian climates. The Garden is a joint venture between the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, the National Rose Trial Society of Australia and the rose industry. It has been built on part of the former Municipal Tramways Trust Hackney Depot. Roses are planted in groups such as, Noisette Roses, Bourbon Roses, Tea Roses, Ramblers, and Perpetual Roses. A trial is conducted over two growing seasons and all plants are treated equally with regard to horticultural practices. The roses are judged by a panel of 10 experienced rosarians who view them and allocate points over the two growing seasons. The results are announced publicly at the end of the trial and the best performing roses receive an award.

While in Adelaide in 2004, Sir Cliff Richard planted a rose named ‘Sir Cliff Richard’ in the Rose Garden surrounded by a small group of fans and rose enthusiasts. Sales of the rose support the Bone Growth Foundation.

Bicentennial conservatory

As part of Adelaide's celebration of the Australian Bicentenary the conservatory was constructed in 1987 and opened in late 1989. The building was designed by local architect Guy Maron and has won awards for its design, engineering and landscaping. It is 100 metres (328 ft) long, 47 metres (154 ft) wide and 27 metres (89 ft) high making it the largest single span conservatory in the southern hemisphere. The conservatory houses at risk or endangered tropical rainforest plants from northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and south Pacific Islands. However, in early 2012 a controversial decision was announced, to remove tropical plants from the Conservatory due to rising power costs.

In April 2012 the entry fee to the conservatory was abolished and visitor numbers are expected to increase, despite rising energy costs and budget cuts resulting in the building no longer being heated.

Historic buildings

Santos Museum of Economic Botany

The Museum of Economic Botany is dedicated to the collection and interpretation of ‘useful’ plants. It was established by Schomburgk in 1879 and described as "the last purpose-built colonial museum in the world" is located within the Gardens a short distance to the west. Built in Greek revival style and opened in May 1881, the building and its interior were extensively restored during 2008-09. The restoration works were assisted by a grant from the Government of Australia for $1.125 million and sponsorship by South Australian oil and gas company, Santos Ltd. The sponsorship arrangement also included naming rights and a commitment to ongoing support of the museum's exhibition program. Much of the collection originally on display in 1881 has been reinstated including a collection of papier mache and stucco replicas of various fruit and fungi. A unique contemporary space for temporary exhibitions within the museum was created by Khai Liew Design. Displays of aboriginal artifacts, a subject neglected by the original museum, were prepared in collaboration with the South Australian Museum. The museum is notable for the completeness of its preservation. The building, its interior decoration, showcases, collections and even many labels have survived since as early as 1865. The Museum of Economic Botany is on the Register of the National Estate, Register of State Heritage Items, Register of the City of Adelaide Heritage Items and has been classified by the National Trust of Australia.

Goodman Building

The administrative headquarters of the Botanic Gardens are located in the historic Goodman building, at the Hackney Road entrance on the eastern side of the Gardens. This was originally built in 1909 as the headquarters of the former Municipal Tramways Trust, and the adjacent Tram Barn A has been converted to hold the State Herbarium.

First Creek Wetlands

In order to reduce the Gardens' reliance on potable water from the River Murray, a new wetlands system was constructed south of the Bicentennial Conservatory to hold stormwater diverted from First Creek. The wetlands form part of an aquifer storage and recovery system which is expected to have a usable capacity of 100 megalitres per year. The project was launched in March 2011 and was opened in November 2013. The 2.6 hectare site also features a trail of interpretive signage, tiered garden beds showcasing aquatic plants and three large ponds with reed-beds which support a diverse range of native wildlife.

Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation

The gardens receives funding from the Government of South Australia, supplemented by sponsorship and community donations administered by the Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation. Funds are raised for the purposes of "scientific research, education, acquisition and maintenance of living collections and for the long-term financial security of the Gardens." The Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation is the trustee of the not-for-profit Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation Fund and has deductible gift recipient status for taxation purposes.

The chairman of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation is David Knox, Chief Executive Officer of oil and gas company, Santos which is headquartered in Adelaide.


As of 2012, the gardens receives support from major sponsors News Limited, Santos , SA Water, BHP Billiton and WorkCoverSA. Other sponsors include ATCO, Orlando Wines, Urban Renewal Authority, Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board, Neutrog Fertilisers, Bank SA and Haigh’s Chocolates.

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