The beginning

In the 1850s every Victorian town wanted a botanic garden. It was THE civilised status symbol, and a useful place to demonstrate what plants/trees suited the district. As they grew, botanic gardens became a cool retreat in cities and in rural towns.

In 1860 the new Borough of Daylesford wanted to create its Botanic Garden and asked the Government for a piece of the paddock at the goldfields Government Camp on the top of Wombat Hill.

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Click on the above image to enlarge.

Taylor and Sangster's original plan for Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens.
Thanks to Gael Shannon

Huge white-trunked trees were felled. The hilltop was ploughed, and paths and beds laid out, many plants being donated by the community. Trees planted included oaks, ash and elm, poplars, cypresses, with blue gums round the boundary.

Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller, the early Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, gave conifers. As Government Botanist he was interested in collecting plants from around the world, growing them on and giving them away to see how they acclimatised to a new land.

Then in 1883 Council asked Taylor & Sangster to develop a professional landscape plan for the gardens (they ran nurseries in Toorak and at Macedon). Sangster is our best early landscape gardener creating public gardens, botanic gardens, private gardens and estates.
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