Promoting awareness and conservation of significant gardens and cultural

landscapes through engagement, research, advocacy and activities

Southern Highlands

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Welcome to the Southern Highlands Branch

If you live in the Southern Highlands, Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Camden or Goulburn/Crookwell areas of New South Wales you are automatically a member of the Southern Highlands Branch when you join the AGHS. The Branch has over 100 members. Our area boasts many historical and beautiful gardens and landscapes. We arguably have the richest collection to be found in any comparable area in the country.


During the year the Branch has a number of outside activities including garden visits in the warmer months, and it holds events indoors in winter. You are welcome to any event and will find us a friendly group. There are no monthly meetings, but we keep in touch with our members through our newsletter Inflorescence, updates to this website, and email. We invite you to read the latest editions of Inflorescence (see below) for articles on past and future events, and updates on our Branch projects and advocacy.


Forthcoming Events




1–9 May 2017

Victorian Gardens and Historic Homes Tour


The nine-day tour of Victorian Gardens and Historic  Homes will visit north-east Victoria, centred at Beechworth, before travelling to Melbourne to visit several venues, including Rippon Lea, Bickleigh Vale, the Melba Estate, Cruden Farm, the McLelland Gallery and the Australian Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne. On the way home to the Southern Highlands, the tour will visit the Gippsland area (Warragul area) to see Broughton Hall and the Jindivick Country Gardener, a Rare Plant Nursery.


Download the full itinerary and booking form.


The tour will be limited to 40 passengers.



General Event Information
We welcome AGHS members from other Branches to our events, and you do not need to be an AGHS member to come along to any event of interest to you.

Bookings & enquiries for all events above:  (E) 

Payments for all events must be made prior to the Event by cheque or EFT (details on the Event Booking Form). An Individual Membership entitles only that member to the Members Rate. Members with Household Membership are entitled to Members Rate for anyone living within that household. Generally, no tickets will be issued for an event, you will be notified if the event is sold out. Refunds will be given only if cancellation is received prior to the event closing date.


Projects and Advocacy

The Southern Highlands Branch area has many significant gardens and important cultural landscapes. Sharing knowledge about these and, where appropriate, taking action to conserve them is one of the aims of the current Committee.


In this regard the site of the old Berrima Bridge Nurseries, owned and operated for over 50 years by Claude and Isobel Crowe, has been investigated, and a request for it to be heritage listed was submitted to Wingecarribee Shire Council last year. Rare heritage camellias growing on the site were propagated and distributed to camellia collections in NSW, increasing their chance of survival into the future. Camellias were recently planted in two National Trust gardens – Harper’s Mansion, Berrima and Riversdale, Goulburn. Work has now commenced to enable us to understand the extent to which the present landscape in our towns and villages reflects the plantings of the Crowes and their Nurseries. A list of trees and shrubs used by Claude Crowe in his garden designs (and therefore ‘guaranteed’ to grow in cool climate gardens) is available on request.


The Branch is keen to hear about gardens with history in the Branch Area, particularly those you believe are under threat and should be recorded, require restoration, and/or protection by statutory means. The Branch recently recorded the garden at Summerlees, Sutton Forest, which dates back to the 1880s, and reflects ownership by a number of garden enthusiasts.

The Committee also has a place on the Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Heritage Advisory Committee.



The Committee is proud that the ‘Berrima Bridge Nurseries Conservation Management Plan’ has recently been recognised with two Heritage awards, the first was from Wingecarribee Shire Council for ‘Best Contribution to an Understanding of Heritage in the Wingecarribee Shire’, and we were also very pleased to win the ‘Research and Investigation – Community and Individuals’ category in the National Trust (NSW) Heritage Awards. Members recently came together to celebrate winning these two awards. The achievement of the awards has been noted in the local press and by the Highlands Garden Society.



September 2016
July 2016
May 2016
March 2016
December 2015
September 2015

Southern Highlands Branch Committee

Chair: Jennifer Carroll (
Treasurer: John Biffin
Secretary:  Narelle Bowern
Vice Chair and Newsletter Editor: Meg Probyn
NMC representative: Meg Probyn
Tours: Ray Bradley
Events Secretary: Jo de Beaujeu
Events: Pamela Bennett, Jane Clifford