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 bees:

  • Sunday 19 August – Scotsburn, near Ballarat
  • Sunday 16 September – Birregurra

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

Advocacy and Heritage Issues

Ballarat Botanic Gardens

The construction of a replica of the ornate 1887 fernery is planned for the Ballarat Botanic Gardens. This was one of the highlights of the original gardens which are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as of state significance.  The plans are currently before Heritage Victoria.


Camperdown Botanic Gardens and Arboretum (CBGA)

Despite many letters of protest, the Corangamite Shire Council has decided to allocate $200,000 from its 2018-19 budget for an amenity block in the Caravan Park.  As the previous permits have expired, new ones are required from Heritage Victoria and the Council. The concern is that his is a failing private business which, according to the Conservation Management Plan, is a threat to the conservation heritage values of the CBGA.

The first meeting of the CBGA Reference Group is scheduled for early July.  There is concern that the group is heavily weighted towards those with a pecuniary interest in using sections of the site for alternative purposes.

Despite these issues, the Trust continues its excellent work and has hosted many interested groups.  Two Instagram accounts have also been set up to spread the word: ‘Camperdown Botanic Gardens ‘and ‘Corangamite Trees’.  AGHS members are welcome at the working bees any time.


Management Plan for H V McKay Memorial Gardens, Sunshine

The Branch has accepted an invitation from the Brimbank Council to be part of a management group to oversee the recently adopted Management Plan for the HV McKay Memorial Gardens in Sunshine.


Treasury Gardens – Proposed new memorial

The Branch was invited by the City of Melbourne to comment on a proposed landscaped memorial for the Victorian Emergency Service Workers, which covers six agencies, and involves the redesign of the area around the ornamental lake in the Treasury Gardens. It is considered that the proposed development is well designed and will not have a detrimental impact on the heritage fabric or significance of the Treasury Gardens. The permit has been advertised by the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria as part of the approval process. As of July, the permit has still not been issued.


Former Smiths Nursery

A permit application was advertised seeking to subdivide the site which is one of Victoria’s earliest plant nurseries established in 1863 near Riddells Creek. It is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as of state significance for historical, archaeological and scientific reasons.  A letter supporting the National Trust’s position to protect this important site was submitted to Heritage Victoria. As of July, the permit has still not been issued.


Cruden Farm

The rezoning application has been on hold since mid 2017.  The local press reported in September last year that the State Government signalled it had no intention to move Melbourne’s growth boundary which would be required if this development proposal was to proceed.


System Garden – University of Melbourne

The first stage of the Master Plan appears to have been accepted by the University but commitment to the full plan remains uncertain. Work has been undertaken to  re-establish some of the hedging which will assist with student traffic.  The AGHS continues its watching brief.


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.


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.

Victorian Branch Committee

The Committee usually meets at 4.00pm every Tuesday, fourth week of the month. You are welcome to join committee meetings at any time. If you wish to discuss opportunities to get involved please call Robyn Robins robynrobins2@gmail.com 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