Welcome to the Victorian Branch. With over 500 members, the Branch is active in organising events throughout the year including lectures, informative walks and working bees in historic gardens for our members. We are vigilant in watching landscapes at risk and actively show our concern where appropriate. Recording the stories of people who have contributed much to the Society is an ongoing oral history project.

Branch Events

Our program of events is currently in abeyance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With great regret we have had to cancel or defer events. Other branch events planned for 2020 are on hold.

  • Webinar: Out of the Woods

    25 November @ 6:00 pm AEDT

    An online talk – Out of the Woods – Trees on Trial and the Evolution of Arboreta –...

  • Vic Branch: Picnic with the Patron

    8 December @ 5:30 pm AEDT

    We are delighted to invite you to join Professor Tim Entwisle and your fellow members for a picnic i...

  • 2021 Annual National Conference

    10 September 2021 - 12 September 2021 at Luna Park, Sydney

    You are invited to register for the AGHS 41st Annual National Conference in Sydney, New South Wales....

  • 2022 Annual National Conference

    1 November 2022 at Wrest Point Casino

    Wrest Point Casino, Hobart is the venue for 2022 Annual National Conference To be rescheduled for Sp...

Working Bees

Working bees are one way we support custodians of private historic gardens and demonstrate that we value their contribution and the assets they maintain. These are Members Only events.

Contact Diana Ellerton on 9397 2756 or email at for details of forthcoming working bees.

Oral History Update

The Branch has completed five recent oral histories which are in the process of being uploaded to the website and lodged with the State Library of Victoria for historical records.   We thank the people who gave their time and recollections so graciously and for the wealth of knowledge this provides to garden histories and all interested parties.  Plans for four more oral histories are underway when Branch funds allow.

Historic Gardens in Victoria

Victoria contains many significant historic gardens and recording them is an important part of our commitment.

Three garden histories were written as part of our 40th Anniversary Grant celebrations.

Two have recently been published:

  • Umina in Toorak
  • Longacres which is the Arthur Streeton's property in Olinda.

The third, the western district property of Titanga, is scheduled for completion in 2020.

Previous garden histories are available:

Advocacy Update: October 2020

Camperdown Botanic Gardens and Arboretum
The VCAT hearing in February confirmed the decision of the Corangamite Shire Council to issue a planning permit for two amenity buildings and associated sewerage works, as well as two cabins and a games room. The permits for the games room and cabins have lapsed with no works undertaken, while preparations for the amenity blocks are currently underway.


The overall situation remains disappointing for the CBGA Trust, which has been working for five years to try to prevent the development of the caravan park in Camperdown's Botanic Gardens and Arboretum.  The ultimate goal is for the cattle and caravan park to be relocated to a more suitable site and the Arboretum opened and managed as the public park it is supposed to be. The VCAT decision indicated that many of the issues raised were beyond the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. This means that matters such as the lack of compliance with State Government policy on the operation of caravan parks on Crown land, failure to properly manage and protect trees, lack of compliance with sewerage dispersal requirements, privatisation of land reserved for public recreation, and the destruction of a tourism asset through the development of an incompatible enterprise on a significant landscape, will all have to be taken up with other authorities.


Fawkner Park Permit Determination by Heritage Victoria
At a Council meeting in late 2019, the City of Melbourne resolved to request a review by the Heritage Council of the heritage permit refusal for works in Fawkner Park.  The Branch made a submission to Heritage Victoria objecting to the proposal which sought to remove the existing basketball court near Pasley Street and construct a new sports court further west of the existing facility, landscaping works, drainage improvement works, selected tree removal and new tree planting works and pathways.  These works, on the eastern side of Fawkner Park, would result in an unacceptable detrimental impact on the cultural heritage significance of this site.  In mid September 2020 Vic Branch made a follow up submission to the Heritage Council hearing which, after many delays, occurred on 2nd and 5th of October 2020.


The determination is awaited.


Wombat Park
In September 2019, the Branch submitted a comprehensive nomination to Heritage Victoria for Wombat Park to be included on the Victorian Heritage Register. This iconic property near Daylesford with its unusual tapestry hedge, large collection of significant trees and beautiful Arts and Crafts style house set in the homestead garden, is well known to members as working bees were often held there with the late owner, Isabel Mackenzie.  The property was put on the market in early 2020 but with Covid 19 restrictions no sales activity has ensued to date (late September 2020). Heritage Victoria to has similarly been unable to conduct site visits as part of the process of nomination evaluation for the same reasons.


Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour
Regional Roads Victoria is again investigating options for a bypass aimed at reducing congestion in Bacchus Marsh. Three of the four options presented go through the Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour which is listed on the Victoria Heritage Register as of state significance. Vic Branch is supporting the National Trust in its opposition to any route that compromises the integrity of the avenue.



St Kilda Road  - 25 LED installation screens and lighting upgrades

This application by the City of Melbourne is a collaborative push with National Gallery Victoria to install electronic artworks on the centre verge opposite the NGV site. A letter, expressing strong objection to the concept and the implementation proposals, was submitted by Vic Branch to Heritage Victoria, to all CoM councillors and their CEO, on 26th August 2020. The objection centred on the loss of the sense of cultural place created at the confluence of three heritage elements (Domain parklands, St Kilda Boulevard and Arts Precinct) by introduction of clutter and distractions incompatible with appreciation of the grand boulevard.


On October 5th Heritage Victoria released a determination allowing the proposal to proceed with conditions. While conceding the incompatibility of the proposal, HV approved it anyway but curtailed the life of the project to 5 years (from 25 proposed) with a further five years extension, restricted the LED displays to the artwork currently proposed (or by permit if changes are made) and required complete removal at the end of the project. The Branch is considering what response it might make to this determination.


Conservation Management Plans for Emerald Lake Park and Nobelius Heritage Park

These draft plans are feed-in documents for a master planning stage to follow for the overall site in the Cardinia Shire. Observations were complied for the two plans, with focus on Nobelius as the passive recreation space most compatible with heritage appreciation. Principal suggestions related to including digital interpretation of the sites in addition to the physical signage, and the need to ensure management of forested areas was clearly identified as critical to maintenance of the botanical fabric. The submission was lodged with the Shire 4th September 2020, and copied to National Trust.


City of Maribyrnong tree register

The Maribyrnong Planning Scheme is being amended to apply permanent protection controls for trees on their Significant Tree Register. The amendment proposes to introduce a control called the Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO), and would apply to trees on the register and neighbouring properties in the tree protection zone (canopy and root area). An interim ESO is in place, requiring permits to remove, destroy or lop a significant tree, while the formal amendment process is completed. Vic Branch wrote to all councillors in support of the initiative.


City of Glen Eira tree register

Council has passed a Classified Tree Local Law that defines protections for trees on its Classified Tree Register, as well as a permit system to manage the Tree Protection Zones of such trees. Vic Branch wrote to all councillors in support of the initiative.


Conservation update

The Victorian Branch received a bequest from the Friends of the Elms to spend on the conservation of elms in the state. The committee decided that these monies would be best spent in regional Victoria where funding for such activities may not be readily available.   Applications were invited and funds have been allocated to  the Horsham Botanic Gardens and Koroit Botanic Gardens.  Tree work on their elms has now commenced and reports on their progress will be presented in Branch newsletters.

Branch Committee

We meet on the 4th Tuesday of the month, 3.30 pm - 6 pm at Burnley Gardens, except for October where the meeting will be held on 3rd Tuesday of the month. You are welcome to join committee meetings at any time. If you wish to discuss opportunities for greater involvement please contact Wendy Dwyer, or contact one of the Committee members.

  • Chair: Wendy Dwyer
  • Vice Chair: Lynda Entwisle
  • Secretary: Wendy Dwyer
  • Treasurer: Anne Aston
  • Lecture/Tour ideas: Robyn Robins
  • Working Bee Coordinator: Diana Ellerton
  • Newsletters/Publicity: Lynda Entwisle
  • Advocacy: Trevor Pitkin
  • Garden Histories: Tim Gatehouse
  • NMC Representative: Wendy Dwyer
  • Rep. Landscape Reference Group: Anthony Menhennitt
  • Catering Coordinator: Annie Woodside