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 for details of forthcoming working bees.

Oral History Update

In 2002-3 the Victorian Branch completed a series or oral histories with individuals involved in the formation of the AGHS. These included Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, Tommy Garnett, Sophie Ducker, Phyllis Simons, Jocelyn Mitchell and David Yencken, with all interviews currently held by the State Library of Victoria.

The Victorian Branch has recently commissioned professional historians ‘Way Back Then’ to undertake an additional oral history project to capture and document the lived experiences and recollections of specific individuals who have been critical to the Society and to the history of gardens in Victoria. With the 40th Anniversary of the AGHS being celebrated in 2020, this project is particularly timely.

Historic gardens in Victoria

Victoria contains many significant historic gardens. The histories of many of these gardens have been published in Australian Garden History.

A selection of these histories are available online:

Advocacy Update: October 2018

Domain Parklands Draft Master Plan

Vic Branch has sent in detailed comments on this document which has been prepared by the City of Melbourne (COM) to guide the management of the parklands for the next twenty years. COM states that the draft plan seeks to prepare the parklands to meet the current and future generations and respond to the challenges of climate change and population growth.

Given the important heritage significance of this place as one of Victoria’s oldest and most important parklands dating from the mid nineteenth century, associated with prominent historical figures such as Ferdinand von Mueller, William Guilfoyle, Joseph Sayce, Carlo Catani and Hugh Linaker, the AGHS is extremely interested in this complex site. It is recognised that the Domain Parklands contains many important historical places and listings such as the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Observatory, Government House, the Shrine, La Trobe’s Cottage and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, managed by different Land Managers, together with the COM’s responsibilities for the Reserves. This creates many challenges to ensure a coordinated approach to a site with so many layers of history and different uses. AGHS has recommended that the draft plan must have relevance to the heritage values of the place, and be agreed between the Land Managers, if it is to be successful in pointing the way forward.

System Garden – University of Melbourne

Vic Branch recently congratulated Vice Chancellor Glyn Davis on the public release of the Master Plan and progress on implementation of the first stage. Despite not been successfully listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, the AGHS considers the site to be of at least State Significance as it was one of the first major teaching gardens established in Australia, the first in Victoria and was unmatched in scale and scope anywhere in the western world. AGHS has urged the Vice Chancellor to give full support and commitment to implement all stages of the works set out in the complete Master Plan. This will ensure the System Garden is recognised as an important place in our garden history. The committee thanks AGHS member Trevor Pitkin for his close watch on this important place. (See Snippets. Australian Garden History v.30 no.1 July 2018 p.1 for more information).

Camperdown Botanic Gardens and Arboretum (CBGA)

The CBGA Trust was disappointed to hear that Heritage Victoria has extended a permit for the erection of two three-bedroom cabins in the caravan park, as well as issuing a permit for two amenity blocks and associated sewerage works, which will discharge into the northern section of the Arboretum. Corangamite Shire Council has allocated $200,000 towards the cost of these works.

More pleasing news is that the Shire Council has decided to put one of the Parks and
Gardens staff into the gardens on a half-time basis. This is a real acknowledgement that the site needs someone to look after it other than just relying on volunteers.

The first meeting of the Corangamite Shire Council’s CBGA Reference Group was held in July. On the agenda was the 150th anniversary of the Camperdown Public Park next year. When set aside in 1869, the 250 acres was one of the largest public parks in Victoria. The 25 hectares to the east now make up the CBGA as a large treed park featuring an ornamental garden as its centrepiece. Unfortunately, most of this land is leased to private interests for grazing and the caravan park, leaving only 1.2 hectares of botanic gardens for the public to enjoy. The CBGA Trust would certainly have something to celebrate next year if the public could again access this parkland.

The Victorian Branch has agreed to fund the restoration of the shrubbery and ornamental border, a key aspect of Guuilfoyle’s design. Further funding is being sought from the National Management Committee for rejuvenation of the rose garden and tree planting.

Follow the CGGA on its two Instagram accounts: camperdownbotanicgardens or corangamite_trees. AGHS members are welcome at working bees anytime.

Management Plan for H V McKay Memorial Gardens, Sunshine

A Vic Branch representative is a member of the management group overseeing the Management Plan for the HV McKay Memorial Gardens in Sunshine.

National Trust Landscape Reference Group

A Vic Branch representative is a member of this group which has been resurrected by the National Trust to identify and record important natural and cultural landscapes.

Wendy Dwyer

Branch Committee

The Committee meets on the 4th Monday of the month, 4 pm - 6 pm at Burnley Gardens, except for April and October where the meeting will be held on 3rd Monday of the month. Our AGM is on Wednesday 14 August. You are welcome to join committee meetings at any time. If you wish to discuss opportunities to get involved please email Robyn Robins or contact one of the Committee members.

Chair: Robyn Robins
Vice Chair: Sarah Wood
Minutes Secretary: Robyn Robins
Treasurer: Anna Long
Working Bee Coordinator: Fran Faul
Catering Coordinator: Annie Woodside
Newsletters/Publicity: Lindy Neylan
Advocacy and NMC Representative: Wendy Dwyer
Rep. Landscape Reference Group/Deputy Secretary: Anthony Menhennitt