City Botanic Gardens

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This article is about the gardens at Gardens Point, Brisbane. For the gardens in Mount Coot-tha, Queensland, see Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mount Coot-tha.
City Botanic Gardens
Brisbane City Botanic Gardens lawn.jpg
City Botanic Gardens with buildings in the CBD visible in the background
Type Botanical
Location Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Coordinates 27°28′29″S 153°01′48″E / 27.4747°S 153.0301°E / -27.4747; 153.0301Coordinates: 27°28′29″S 153°01′48″E / 27.4747°S 153.0301°E / -27.4747; 153.0301
Area 200,000m² (49 acres)
Opened 1855
Owned by Brisbane City Council
Designation State Heritage Place (Queensland Heritage Register)[1]

The City Botanic Gardens (formerly the Brisbane Botanic Gardens) is a botanical garden in Brisbane, Australia. It is located on Gardens Point in the Brisbane CBD and is bordered by the Brisbane River, Alice Street, George Street, Parliament House and QUT's Gardens Point campus.

The Gardens include Brisbane's most mature gardens, with many rare and unusual botanic species. In particular the Gardens feature a special collection of cycads, palms, figs and bamboo. The Queensland Heritage Register describes the Gardens as "the most significant, non-Aboriginal cultural landscape in Queensland, having a continuous horticultural history since 1828, without any significant loss of land area or change in use over that time. It remains the premier public park and recreational facility for the capital of Queensland, which role it has performed since the early 1840s."[1]


Queen's Park in the 1880s

The site was selected as a public garden in 1828 by the NSW Colonial Botanist Charles Fraser,[2] three years after the establishment of the European settlement at nearby North Quay, Brisbane. Originally the gardens were planted by convicts in 1825 with food crops to feed the prison colony.[3] In 1855, a portion of the land was declared a 'Botanic Reserve' and Walter Hill was appointed as curator, a position he held until 1881.[1][4] Some of the older trees planted in the Gardens were the first of their species to be planted in Australia, due to Hill's experiments to acclimatise plants.[2] The experiments served practical outcomes. Plants with potential commercial value were tested in the gardens, first to see if they were viable, to determine what they needed for growth and if a profit could be made.[5] Hill introduced mango, pawpaw, ginger, tamarind, mahogany, poinciana and jacaranda trees as well as tobacco, sugar, grape vines, wheat, tropical fruits, tea, coffee, spices and textile plants.[6]

In April 1862, Queensland's first granulated sugar was produced at the gardens.[6] A cairn at the site where the sugar cane was grown was erected. A row of figs were planted in the 1870s.[6] Hill also planted avenues of Bunya pines and Cook pines. Underground electricity supply was installed in 1907.[6]

The extant City Botanic Gardens was formed by the amalgamation of the original Botanic Gardens with the Domain (the southern side of Gardens Point) and Queen's Park in 1916, bringing its total area to around 20 hectares[4] (Queen's Park comprised a 10-acre (4 ha) strip along Alice Street, which originally served as a park and a sporting field, where regular cricket and football matches were held). The former curator's cottage built for J.F. Bailey, curator from 1905-1917, is now the City Gardens Cafe.[1]

Due to the proximity to the river, the Botanic Gardens have been flooded nine times between 1870-2011. With many plants being washed away, the Brisbane City Council established a new botanic gardens at Mount Coot-tha.

The Gardens were also the home for over 100 years for 'Harriet', a tortoise reportedly collected by Charles Darwin during his visit to the Galápagos Islands in 1835 and donated to the Gardens in 1860 by John Clements Wickham, former commander of the HMS Beagle and later 'Government Resident' for Moreton Bay. Harriet was named in honour of Harry Oakman, curator of the Gardens from 1945 to 1962 and the creator of the (now disbanded) zoo at the Gardens. The zoo closed in 1952. Harriet lived out her final years at Australia Zoo until dying in June 2006.[6]


Features of the Gardens include:

  • Riverstage
  • City Gardens Cafe (in the former curator's house)
  • Gardens Cycle Hire station at Albert Street entrance
  • Walter Hill Fountain (designed by Charles Tiffin)[6]
  • Morning Star II by Jon Barlow Hudson (from World Expo 88)
  • Plant form by Robert Juniper
Features of the City Botanic Gardens
City Gardens Cafe 
Walter Hill Fountain 
Morning Star II by Jon Barlow Hudson 
Plant form by Robert Juniper 


The Gardens are accessible by Alice Street, the Goodwill Bridge and Brisbane City Council's ferries and CityCats at the Gardens Point and Eagle St wharves. The gardens are open 24 hours, with pathways lit at night.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Brisbane Botanic Gardens (entry 600067)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Gregory, Helen (2007). Brisbane Then and Now. Wingfield, South Australia: Salamander Books. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-74173-011-1. 
  3. ^ "City Botanical Gardens - Brisbane Visitors Guide". Brisbane Australia. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Fagg, Murray (26 May 2009). "City Botanic Gardens (Brisbane)". Australian National Botanic Gardens. Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Jolly, Paul (1997), "The planning and design of Old Government House", in Shaw, Barry, Brisbane:Corridors of Power, Papers, 15, Brisbane: Brisbane History Group Inc, p. 72, ISBN 0-9586469-1-0 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Gregory, Helen; Dianne Mclay (2010). Building Brisbane's History: Structure, Sculptures, Stories and Secrets. Warriewood, New South Wales: Woodslane Press. pp. 54–58. ISBN 9781921606199. 

External links[edit]