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200 years of history laid bare about Australia’s oldest botanic garden

December 14, 2015 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

A new book launched today reveals the fascinating history of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney – from its pre-European times through to its world-class status today. This biography of Australia’s most important botanic garden is no ordinary tale and will leave the reader entranced at the many facets of the Garden and how it has thrived to become one of the world’s best botanic gardens today.

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“The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney: The First 200 Years” is a limited edition authoritative and engaging story about the origins and evolution of the site.

From the moment that crew from the First Fleet came ashore, the site was of central importance to the hopes, aspirations and survival of the colony. As the site of the first European farm, early settlers sought a sustainable future through experimental plantings. This ended in failure for the farm, and near ruin for the colony.

Governor Lachlan Macquarie, however, saw the potential for the site as a place of horticulture, botany and research and set aside the land – against a somewhat doubting public opinion – to create what we know and love today – the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.,

Today the Garden delivers world-class scientific research, features a magnificent Herbarium and Australia’s most important botanic library collection. The Garden represents the triumph of foresight and determination over the elements, and today stands as Australia’s oldest continuously operating scientific institution.

Kim Ellis, Executive Director of the Botanic gardens & Centennial Parklands, said: “The book will surprise many. Stories within its pages have simply been forgotten or lost in the mists of time. We have delved deep into the archives and records to bring an amazing collection of tales to life.”

“For instance, as the birthplace for forensic horticultural science in Australia, the Garden’s Plant Pathology Lab was central in helping NSW Police crack the Graeme Thorne kidnapping-murder case of the 1960’s, and has solved numerous other crimes over the years.”

Project Editor, Jennie Churchill said: “The book itself was a labour of love – eight years in the making and featuring contributions by 19 authors. The team spent the first six initial years methodically researching every aspect of the Garden and the Domain and the result is an outstanding collection of stories and imagery, both historical and contemporary.”

“Like many people living and working in the city, I’ve grown to love the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. It has been my backyard, green refuge and playground and I was thrilled to be involved with the Bicentenary Book project. I see the book as the perfect way to share and record the Garden’s remarkable 200 year journey.”

Only 3,000 copies of the book are now available to purchase from the Royal Botanic Garden Shop and selected bookstores around Australia. Author contributions have been by Royal Botanic Garden staff, volunteers and key invited authors including Jennie Churchill, Colleen Morris and Peter Valder (who wrote the Foreword).

Purchasing details

The book is available for the recommended retail price of $65.

Copies of the book can be purchased from the Garden Shop at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, or ordered online

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