Feedback wanted on plan for arboretum

Published on 03 December 2021

Botanic Gardens.JPG

A concept plan to repair the landscape and restore public access to the north-east corner of Camperdown’s Arboretum has been released for community feedback.

The plan’s first stage involves planting more trees, providing paths that link to the Botanic Gardens, and creating lawned picnic/ barbeque areas, seating and a new car park off Park Road.

The plan also highlights the future potential for a café and visitor centre on the site.

Mayor Ruth Gstrein said allowing public access to wider areas of the 200 acres originally known as Camperdown Public Park was in line with the original vision for the entire site.

“The whole area has a rich and layered history and was a long-established campsite for the Djargurd wurrung people before white settlement,” Cr Gstrein said.

In 1869, government surveyor Robert Scott proposed the land be preserved for the enjoyment of the public. The following year, Daniel Bunce of Geelong Botanic Gardens provided advice on layout and plantings.

“The park became a prized local attraction, the pride and glory of Camperdown,” Cr Gstrein said.

In 1888, the Public Park Committee sought advice from renowned landscape designer William Guilfoyle. Guilfoyle’s plan focused on the fenced botanic garden or ‘floral enclosure’ at its heart and suggested plantings to beautify the wider public park.

The 25-hectare Botanic Gardens and Arboretum site was placed on the Victorian Heritage Register in 2011 and a Conservation Management Plan was presented to Council in 2017.

Cr Gstrein said restoring the Botanic Gardens and Arboretum had been identified as a high priority by the community in recent years.

“The north-east corner of the Arboretum still has many of Guilfoyle’s original trees and boundary shrubs, which need some love and attention,” Cr Gstrein said.

Landscape architect Dr Jen Dearnaley of Balyang Consulting was appointed earlier this year to work with Council and the Camperdown Botanic Gardens and Arboretum Trust to develop a vision and plan for the Arboretum.

Cr Gstrein said the overall vision was to open up, preserve and enhance the Arboretum as a valued community asset and visitor destination. She encouraged residents to view the concept plan and provide feedback.

“We would like to know what people think of the plan and if they have any suggestions.

“Like all Council facilities, any type of development is likely to come at an extra cost to maintain.

“However, this is a fantastic opportunity to rejuvenate and increase pride in a piece of public land that also has the potential to generate tourism and economic development,” she said.

Camperdown Botanic Gardens and Arboretum Trust president Emma Bell also encouraged members of the public to express their views.

“We are very pleased to be working with Council towards our long-term vision to make the whole Camperdown Botanic Gardens and Arboretum site available for the enjoyment of locals and visitors,” Ms Bell said.

To view plans and have your say visit

Submissions close Wednesday 22 December and concepts will be finalised in early 2022.