Cranbourne Gardens: worthy of a royal title

Cranbourne Gardens: worthy of a royal title

The Royal Botanic Gardens and spectacular Australian Garden within, is a national treasure. This jewelled sceptre of Cranbourne beckons garden enthusiasts and flora conservationists globally. Established recently in history for gardens worthy of a royal title, we were curious to learn how Cranbourne Gardens came to be.

Cranbourne musings of a Botanic Gardens setting early 20th Century

The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria site at Cranbourne (‘Cranbourne Gardens’) was established in 1970 and opened almost two decades later in 1989. Yet ironically, on searching for the garden’s history, a quote from a 1901 journal entry about general happenings locally, suggested that Cranbourne as host of botanical gardens was perhaps always meant to be.

The local Botanical Gardens, as the land is called between the township and the Railway Station is now in full bloom...
— South Bourke and Mornington Journal, Wed 25 Sep 1901 as found on trove.nla.gov.au.

A quick history of Cranbourne environs

The indigenous Australian Boonerwurung people were early residents and would have thrived on the rich biodiversity. An area abundant in heath lands, woodlands, wetlands, and home to the Southern Brown Bandicoot, frogs, wallabies and bats – the location would have provided well for its people. Now hosting hundreds of types of flora indigenous across the diverse landscapes of Australia, the site has attracted thriving bird and insect life too.

Cranbourne Gardens is located on an old 1820s sand mine, supplying Melbourne with sand for decades. This ‘Cranbourne Sand’ deposit was the result of erosion of granite hills running off into river systems, and dates back to the Ice Ages according to the Victorian Royal Botanic Gardens’ website.

Sand offered an opportune setting to recreate some of Australia’s arid desert landscapes.

Part of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria family

Cranbourne Gardens is formally known as Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria which also includes Melbourne Gardens, the National Herbarium of Victoria and the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology.

Unlike its longer established sibling in South Yarra, parking around Cranbourne Gardens is easy, making for a great day trip complete with a packed picnic lunch.

Cranbourne Gardens was made possible through funding gifted by the Maud Gibson Trust. The vision of the Trust was to support the work of the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) Melbourne. Avid gardener Miss Maud Gibson passed away in 1970 and part of her legacy was enabling the purchase of the land in Cranbourne by RBG. The site was developed as a division of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, with a focus on Australian plant research and conservation.

As key benefactor Maud Gibson has been honoured posthumously with the naming of Gibson Hill and an inscription on a monument located at Gibson Hill in the Gardens.

We’ll leave you to read the full inscription for yourself when you plan your visit!

Today, over 360 hectares of Cranbourne Gardens is custodian of, and nurturer of, an exquisite collection of indigenous flora intentionally planned, planted and curated to capture and conserve the breadth and beauty of Australia’s diverse landscapes.

Australian Garden

A magnificent expanse of landscaped delight that condenses Australia’s distinctly varied landscapes into 21 hectares; the first stage of the Australian Garden was opened in 2006, followed by stage 2 in 2012. Two years later, Australian Garden’s landscape designer Paul Thompson was nominated as one of the ten best planting designers in the world by online global magazine, Landscape Architects Network.

The Australian Garden and surrounding Cranbourne Gardens have taken out several national and international awards for excellence in design and flora conservation.

Landscaped water ways meander through the ever changing landscapes of the Australian Garden, completing the story of Australia’s geographical and unique beauty. Aesthetically breathtaking, the water features also offer cool, interactive play for visitors on Cranbourne’s warmer days.

We cannot do justice to the magnificence of what lies in south east Melbourne’s midst in Cranbourne Gardens you must plan a visit and experience it yourself!

For more information

You’ll find the Cranbourne Gardens located at 1000 Ballarto Road, Cranbourne.

Visit the official website to find out more - Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria > Visit Cranbourne

References

Biodiversity Assessment Report Contract Area 42: Casey Central – PSP 105, August 2012

Ian Potter Organisation > Our Stories > Case Studies > Australian Garden Stage 2

Garden History Society > Events-conference > TAS branch winter lecture series

Monument Australia > Themes > People > Community > 101032-Maud-Gibson

RBG > Documents > Natural History Cranbourne

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