Welcome to the Victorian Branch. With over 500 members, the Branch is active in organising events throughout the year including lecture series, garden visits, working bees in historic gardens and occasional seminars.

Branch Events

Working Bees

Our work in private historic gardens continues on a monthly basis. Working bees are just one way we support custodians of these gardens and demonstrate that we value their contribution and the assets they maintain. These are Members Only events.

Forthcoming working bee:

  • 17 September – Beaufort

Contact Fran Faul on 9853 1369 or franfaul@gmail.com for more details.

Advocacy and Heritage Issues

Cruden Farm

A decision to push ahead with a residential subdivision in part of Langwarrin’s Cruden Farm has been delayed until later in the year. The planning application due to be discussed by Frankston councillors at August’s public council meeting on Monday 14 August was withdrawn by the trustees of the former homestead of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch.

The planning application seeking to subdivide 15.8 hectares of the 54-hectare site of Cruden Farm, the former home of the late Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, foundation member, and long-term patron and supporter of the AGHS. If successful, up to 116 houses could be built along the eastern and southern boundaries. The application was lodged by the Keith and Elisabeth Murdoch Trust as the first step in rezoning the land from Rural Conservation Zone, which prohibits residential development, and would ultimately require State Planning Minister and Government approval as it would change Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundaries.

The Murdoch Trust claims that the proceeds will allow Cruden Farm to be maintained and opened to the public in perpetuity.  It is understood that the Frankston City Council will consider the matter in late July and that a possible outcome is public exhibition of the proposed amendments to the planning scheme. It is also possible opportunities for public comment will not occur and the matter will go straight to government.  Vic Branch has requested to be informed of any changes and is keeping a watching brief.


Old Gate Keeper’s Cottage Ballarat Botanic Gardens

In February Vic Branch wrote a letter to support the Friends of the Ballarat Botanic Gardens in their efforts to have the 1863 Gatekeeper’s cottage, returned to the Gardens. As the oldest surviving building relating to the Gardens It is pleasing to report that the cottage has been bought back on a truck and, after refurbishment, will become the home of the FBBG Botanikids as well as an educational and interpretation centre.


System Garden -University of Melbourne

Unfortunately, despite the rigorous efforts of member Trevor Pitkin, the destruction of the north-western corner of the System Garden has taken place.  An approach to the University’s Planning Department seeking to open discussions on managing likely future developments has finally resulted in an invitation to attend a meeting with Glas Landscape Architects who have been engaged to co-ordinate and design a ten-year masterplan to “enhance and protect the beloved qualities of the System Garden.” It is disappointing that this did not occur much earlier as it may have assisted in ensuring the unique cultural heritage significance of this garden was protected.


HV McKay Gardens Sunshine

The Friends of the HV McKay Gardens made a submission at the recent Planning Panel for the C148 amendment to rezone the adjacent Chaplin Reserve. It will not be known until the Panel’s decision is published if the possible excision of a small parcel of land from the Gardens will proceed. Some alternative options more favourable to the Gardens are being considered.


Melbourne Metro Rail Project – Loss of trees and landscape amenity along St Kilda Road/Domain

The Branch continues to support the National Trust’s campaign to minimise the adverse visual and amenity impact to this significant Melbourne boulevard which will result from the removal of 103 trees, kerb and guttering removal, and tram and road realignment.


Do you know of a garden with history in Victoria? The Victorian Branch is keen to hear of any garden with a history which may be under threat, need recording or help with restoration work. Contact any member of the Committee with your nomination.

Victorian Branch Committee

The Committee usually meets at 4.00 pm every Tuesday, fourth week of the month. Members are welcome to join committee meetings at any time.
The Victorian Branch is looking for a Treasurer. If you are interested in this position or joining the committee, please contact Lorraine Powell: lorraineepowell@gmail.com.

Chair: Lorraine Powell
Vice Chair: Vacant
Immediate Past Chair: Lisa Tuck
Treasurer: Anna Long
Minutes Secretary: Robyn Robins
Working Bee Coordinator:  Fran Faul
Catering Coordinator: Annie Woodside
Newsletters/Publicity: Lindy Neylan, Anna Long
Advocacy and NMC Representative: Wendy Dwyer
Committee Members: Sarah Wood, Anthony Menhennit