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.

Contact Fran Faul on 9853 1369 or franfaul@gmail.com for detail of forthcoming working bees.

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application due to be discussed by Frankston councillors at August’s public council meeting on Monday 14 August was withdrawn by the trustees of the former homestead of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch.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.


System Garden -University of Melbourne

Recently AHGS member Trevor Pitkin attended a planning session at the invitation of the University of Melbourne who have appointed consultants to co-ordinate and design a ten year master Plan for the System Garden. However it is considered that the issue of intrusions on to this site is not able to be resolved by Master Plan of design. Rather it requires a compelling case to management and campus planning to both preserve and develop the garden accepting that future accommodation needs for interfacing facilities be examined carefully before adversely impacting on the site


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.


Camperdown Botanic Gardens and Arboretum

A draft Conservation Management Plan, prepared by Context heritage consultants, was put to Corangamite Shire Council on 26 September 2017. This plan was ‘received’ rather than ‘adopted’ in the mistaken belief that its contents would restrict the operations and development of the caravan park.

The  CBGA site was listed on the Victorian Heritage Register in 2011 and it was not until 2013 that Corangamite Shire entered into a 21-year lease, encouraging the lessee to believe that he could develop a sub-standard caravan park that existed on the site. Both the Council and the lessee were well aware of the VHR listing and the fact that permit conditions apply. Neither appears to appreciate their obligations as managers of a heritage-listed place and are seeking to further pursue development objectives that have already been dealt with by the decision of the Heritage Council following the Panel hearing in Camperdown in June 2016.

The Camperdown Botanic Gardens and Arboretum Trust Inc. is maintaining its efforts to protect the site from inappropriate development and is still concerned at the Council’s stated intention to commercialise and privatise all of the heritage-listed site apart from the small 1.2-hectare Botanic Gardens enclosure. It is believed that the Council is now trying to meet with Heritage Victoria and caravan park lessees “to find a way around the HV Permit conditions which make the caravan park financially unviable.”

The AGHS continues to support the efforts of the CBGA Trust Inc to conserve this important heritage landscape.



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.

Chair: Sarah Wood
Vice Chair: Robyn Robins
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
Advocacy and NMC Representative: Wendy Dwyer
Committee Members: Lorraine Powell, Anthony Menhennit