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New vision for gardens

06 Feb 2019

New vision for gardens Image

The Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) has been provided with a $5 million kickstart from the State Government for its proposed new nature and science precinct.

Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio announced funding on January 25 for a feasibility study for a new nature and science precinct that includes the redevelopment of the National Herbarium of Victoria and the creation of a new nature gallery and learning and participation centre.

It’s the first injection of funding for the RBG’s 20-year master plan, which was first reported in the Southbank Local News in August 2016.

Under the plan, the original 1934 Herbarium building will be fully restored and expanded to include a plant identification service. The much beloved children’s garden will also be expanded and the Great Melbourne Telescope will be returned to its home at the Melbourne Observatory.

The proposed project would see an estimated increase in visitors to our local gardens from 1.9 million to 2.4 million by 2023 and increase school student participation by 50 per cent.

RBG Victoria CEO Professor Tim Entwisle praised the government’s commitment into one of the state’s great natural assets.

“The commitment from the Victorian Government to our nature and science precinct recognises the powerful connection between culture, nature and science and importance of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria to Melbourne and to the health of this planet,” he said.

The redevelopment will also allow for the treasures of the State Botanical Collection to be shared with the public for the first time and help preserve the collection for future generations.

The collection is currently home to more than 1.5 million specimens collected over the past 500 years, including the recent discovery of a plant, hand-collected by Charles Darwin in 1832 during his famous voyage on H.M.S Beagle.

The feasibility study will establish the scope and design for the new precinct and conclude in November 2019, before the expected start of early works on the Herbarium in early 2020.

“This precinct will bring Victoria’s natural wonders to life in the heart of Melbourne and thousands more visitors to our beautiful botanic gardens,” Minister D’Ambrosio said.

“It will unlock our State Botanical Collection, creating wonderful new experiences for local familes and schools.”

Rbg.vic.gov.au

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