RBG Words

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Fri 8 Jan 2016 23:27
Royal Botanic Gardens History – Words







It was not only wonderful to be able to visit the gardens but to learn of their long and colourful history that has been so well documented. Me being me wanted a blog showing the Timeline of the ‘most visited place in Sydney’.

A blog with a list of dates causes trouble, the index of all the blogs appears at the bottom or the message appears twelve inches down – reason - blog site set to look for dates in case they are Lat and Long to put on a position. Tried about eighteen different ways, refusing to give up, went to sleep, woke up to try again........... Focussed not stubborn I suppose. Indeed sir, indeed. Now for cunning ways to hide dates and :

A dozen more tries and still failing, words on their own and pictures on their own ?????? Here goes



Woccanmagully (later knows as Farm Cove) is used as an initiation ground by the traditional owners the Gadigal People.

A small grain farm was established in 1788 and the first grain is harvested in July.

Private leases were allowed around Farm Cove from 1794-1807, despite Phillip reserving the land for the Crown. One lessee was Joseph Gerrald, a ‘Scottish Martyr’ transported for sedition.

The old Government House (now the site of the Museum of Sydney) had ‘fine’ garden in 1802, with a mix of exotic and native species.

Governor William Bligh removed the houses and farm animals in an attempt to reclaim the 'Demesne' (Domain) in 1807, leading up to the Rum Rebellion.

Lachlan Macquarie becomes Governor in 1810 and establishes the ‘Demesne’. According to him, Hyde Park was for recreational walking while the Demesne was not. He built many walls and he and his wife, Elizabeth had a vision for an English parkland setting with a grand house’. Macquarie liked regulations including, no grazing, no removal of rocks, no boat landings in the 'Demesne' (Domain). He removed the remaining buildings, including a bakehouse and windmill.

The Macquarie Culvert is a double brick culvert under the original Mrs Macquarie's Road. The culvert was probably built at the same time as the original road, started by Bligh, between 1813 and 1816, making it almost certainly the oldest bridge in Australia. The original Mrs Macquarie's Road ran from the original Government House (now the Museum of Sydney) to Yurong or Anson Point, now known as Mrs Macquarie's Point. It was built on the instruction of Governor Lachlan Macquarie for the benefit of his wife Elizabeth. The culvert was restored in 2002.

13th of June 1816 Macquarie was informed by a gang overseer that the road was finished (the overseer and his gang of ten men were provided with five gallons of spirits with which to celebrate the occasion) and this is traditionally observed as Foundation Day for the Botanic Garden, one of the oldest botanic gardens in the Southern Hemisphere (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew opened to public in 1841).

1816 Three weeks after opening the road, Macquarie reminded people to keep out, with punishments ‘inflicted on some idle and profligate persons’ but the orders were not meant to extend to prohibiting the respectable class of inhabitants from using the area.

December 1816 Allan Cunningham arrives in the colony and appointed King’s Botanist.

1817 Francis Greenway’s Government Stables, now Conservatorium of Music, was started. Charles Fraser described as Colonial Botanist.

1817 – 1831 Charles Fraser, Colonial Botanist and Superintendent

1819 Fraser asks for botanical books to be sent from England, including Brown’s Prodromus. By 1820, Fraser had created a ‘botanic garden’, quite separate to the Governor’s kitchen garden nearby. A catalogue of the plants growing in the Garden was requested by John Bigge as part of an enquiry into the administration of the Colony.

January 1821 Fraser formally appointed Government Colonial Botanist, part of his duties includes being Superintendent of the Botanic Garden. Hooker publishes some of Fraser’s notes and remarks on botany.

1825 Baron Hyacinthe Bougainville visits Botanic Gardens

c. 1830 James Busby brings nearly 600 varieties of grape vine on ‘The Camden’ from England (vines collected from around Europe, with many from the botanical garden in Montpellier, France).  Seventeen varieties planted in the Botanic Garden, while the rest were distributed around the colony, from Camden to (mostly) Hunter Valley.

13th of September 1831 Domain is opened for ‘carriages’, and effectively ‘open to the general public’.

December 1831 Fraser dies, aged 43.

Jan 1832 - Dec 1832 John McLean acting Superintendent of Botanic Gardens.

1833  Richard Cunningham appointed Colonial Botanist and Superintendent. Allan Cunningham, a couple of years older than his brother, offered advice and oversaw Richard’s work.

April 1835 Richard Cunningham clubbed to death on the Bogan River in western NSW on Major Thomas Mitchell's expedition.

1836 Committee to oversee the Museum and Gardens established.

Apr 1835 - Feb 1837 John McLean again acting Superintendent of Botanic Garden. Allan Cunningham accepts Superintendent job from England.

Feb 1837 Allan Cunningham, Colonial Botanist and Superintendent. In December he resigns, unable to deal with administrative and horticultural aspects (‘resigned the Government’s cabbage-garden in disgust’).  

Cunningham in poor health, [misses boarding the Beagle], died soon after returning from a collecting trip to New Zealand of consumption, his remains were interred in an obelisk within the gardens in 1901.

1838 – 1842 James Anderson, Superintendent, described as more of a horticulturist and collector than a botanist. He died in April 1842.

1842 – 1844 Nasmith Robertson, Superintendent.

May 1842 Robertson appointed. He died mid 1844.

Between 1844 – 1847 James Kidd was acting Superintendent.

1847 – 1848 John Bidwill was Director.

1847 Fig Tree Avenue planted.

February 1848 John Bidwell replaced due to duplicate appointment of Moore from England and dies soon after, aged 38, in the Wide Bay area after getting lost on a surveying trip.

In 1860 the first aviary opens. Other caged animals are introduced from 1862 to create Sydney's first zoo.

1848 – 1896 Charles Moore was appointed as Director when he was twenty seven years old, by Committee of Management, and held this position for forty eight years. He introduced more regulations to keep out ‘all persons of reputed bad character …persons who are not cleanly and decently dressed … and all young persons not accompanied by some respectable adult’.

1848 Directed the 11th Regiment Band to play in the Domain rather than the Gardens, as being more appropriate.

1848 – 1878 Moore drained and claimed the Farm Cove land. Seeds from Kew and also Glasnevin in Dublin where his brother was Director.

1849 Moore stressed the need for an adequate water supply - some ‘rare and beautiful’ plants already lost to drought.

1851 Started to deliver lectures on plants (No faculty of science at University of Sydney until 1882, no School of Botany until 1913.). J.H. Maiden in the audience for some of these talks.

1852 Library established as ‘Public Botanical Library’.

Jan 1855 Moore survives a harsh review by committee established by Governor William Dennison. Moore brings in soil from Rose Bay to improve the garden for Azalea and Rhododendron - a group of plants he described as ‘of considerable interest and beauty’. In 1856, Azaleas and Rhododendrons were planted out on the southern side of the Macquarie Wall and became the basis of the Spring Walk.

1856 First aviary opened in the Botanic Gardens, and this lasted until 1940. Other caged animals began to be introduced from 1862, to create Sydney's first zoo. The zoo remained open until 1883.

1857 Catalogue of plants in the Botanic Gardens produced in response to a recommendation in the management review of 1855; 3000 species of flowering plants and ferns (740 from New South Wales, 110 from Australia elsewhere, 1860 from overseas and 230 horticultural hybrids)

29 - 31 January 1857 Inaugural First-class game of cricket in New South Wales held in the Domain. New South Wales beat Victoria, for the second time.

1861 Fencing off of Domain for cricket match caused upset, and another Government enquiry. Conflict between use of space for cricket and use for military manoeuvres. Domain at that time grazed by cattle (to reduce cost of grass cutting) and native trees were dying off and had to be replaced. Moore has a good reputation for landscape development - for Lower Gardens and the Domain. He essentially kept Fraser's and the Cunninghams' designs for the Middle Gardens. He travelled extensively to collect plants and established many of the old rainforest trees in the Botanic Gardens.

1870’s Moore replenishes trees in the Domain, especially his signature tree, figs. Moore builds and starts living in the new Director's residence (now the ‘Cunningham Building’). Old residence demolished in 1875. 

1876 The Palm House is built at a cost of one thousand three hundred and seventy one pounds. This is believed to be the oldest surviving glasshouse in New South Wales.

1879 Garden Palace built to house International Exhibition. Burnt down in September 1882, with many valuable field records, books, paintings lost in the fire. Moore associated with the landscaping and care of other gardens in Sydney, such as Hyde Park, University of Sydney, Centennial Park, Moore Park and Callan Park.

1883 Nearly 400 grape varieties from Europe are planted.

1896 – 1924 Joseph H. Maiden, Director for 28 years.

1897 Fountain monument to Governor Phillip erected. Domain lit in evenings by electric lights.

8th of March 1901 Herbarium officially opened.

1990's Tropical Centre, Fernery, Herb Garden, Oriental Garden and Cadi Jam Ora open.

1901 Artist Margaret Flockton appointed (on staff until 1927).

1903 Herbarium narrowly missed being burnt in fire that came from a nearby boiler house.

In 1905  a total of 586 species from Banks and Solander’s collections at the British Museum returned to Sydney. Charles Moore dies.

1910   Insectarium constructed near aviary so that Government Entomologist Froggatt could study the life-history of plant pests.

1910’s Three tortoises were 'kept near the offices by the flowerbeds' between the Anderson and Cunningham buildings. The last tortoise survived until about 1967, after which she was stuffed and put on display.

1912 Maiden decided that the centenary of foundation day would be celebrated on 13 June 1916.

May 1916 Flying foxes heaviest invasion since 1900, then lighter invasion in June 1916 follow by the next major invasion in 1920. Maiden called in the rifle club to dispatch flying foxes.

11th of June 1916 Plantings of 15 ‘geographically appropriate trees’ in the Parade Ground area to represent various dominions and nations.

1916 The plan, and some trees, still exist. Foundation stone for new Museum of botany and agriculture laid (near the herbarium building).

1924 – 1933 George Percy Darnell-Smith, first ‘graduate’ director, interested in ecology and physiology. He retires in October 1933.

1938 Memorial Garden to Pioneers.

1933 – 1945  Administration split - Gardens administered by Ward, followed by Hawkey, Herbarium administered by Cheel, followed by Anderson.

1945 – 1964  Robert Henry Anderson, Chief Botanist and Curator, appointed at age 46 as first Australian-born Director. Director for nineteen years.

‘I wish’ sculpture replaces the Wishing Tree (next to current Wollemi Pine planting).

1952  Anderson erects monument to first farm.

December 1958  Excavations for Cahill Expressway begin. ‘Fig Tree Avenue’ partially destroyed.

1959  Royal epithet granted. In view of long history of the botanic garden, its association with the first visit of a reigning monarch to the country (first touching Australian soil in the Domain) and its leadership in botany and horticulture, the Royal epithet was recommended by the Trustees in October 1958. Although the bestowal of Royal Patronage was gazetted on 4 February 1959, there is communication from the then Minister of Agriculture showing that the new designation took effect from the 13th of January 1959, and the Minister announced it publicly on the 21st of January 1959. The official date for the bestowal is considered to be the 13th of January 1959. Barbara Briggs joins staff, later to become Senior Assistant Director of Plant Sciences.

1st of March 1962 Cahill Expressway opened.

1963  ‘A pleasant grassed bank adjacent to the appallingly ugly oil tanks was alienated for electricity sub-station’.

12th of March 1964 Anderson dies aged 65.

1964 – 1970  Herbert Knowles Charles Mair, Director

1970 – 1971 Pyramid glasshouse built.

June 1970 Mair retires after seven years as Director. Johnson acting Director until October 1970

1970 – 1972 John Stanley Beard appointed as Director.

1972 –1985 Lawrie Johnson appointed as Director for 13 years, on staff for 37 years. He established a strong scientific reputation for the Gardens and established the Flora of New South Wales project.

1972 Land presented by the Brunets to the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.

1982 Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens established. Robert Brown Building opened to house the Herbarium. Barbara Briggs appointed as Acting Director after the retirement of Lawrie Johnson in 1985.

1984  NSW Government allocates 400 hectares for a native botanic garden to be administered by Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.

1986 – 1996  Carrick Chambers appointed as Director.

1988  Rose Garden opens in Royal Botanic Gardens.

1990  Tropical Centre opens in Royal Botanic Gardens.

1993  Fernery opens in Royal Botanic Gardens.

1994  Herb Garden opens in Royal Botanic Gardens. Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation established. Frank Howarth Acting Director from August 1996.

1996  Frank Howarth appointed as Director.

1997  HSBC Oriental Garden opens in Royal Botanic Gardens.

1998  Rare and Threatened Plants Garden opens in Royal Botanic Gardens.

1999  Cadi Jam Ora: First Encounters Garden opens.

2000  Sydney Olympics

2004 Tim Entwisle appointed as Executive Director and Government Botanist, as he is a specialist in freshwater algae and has a background of scientific journalism and media relations. Hospital Road avenue replaced. Leading role in the national funding campaign and implementation of the $10 million Australia’s Virtual Herbarium, a five-year project to database and make available all the information held in the major herbarium collections in Australia.

2005  Auction of the first Wollemi pines available to the public. Domain Garden Wall beside the Cahill Expressway erected.

2006 Palace Rose Garden opens in Royal Botanic Gardens.

2007 Appointed Government Botanist, long-term vision for 2016 bicentenary celebrations. Award-winning Bowden (Education) Centre at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan.

2009  Capital funding of $20 million for new entrance and PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan.

2011  $7 million Central Depot works. $4.5 million bequest-funded artwork in the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney by leading New Zealand sculptor, Chris Booth. Professor David Mabberley appointed as Executive Director. He is a specialist in plant taxonomy and nomenclature, especially in economic plants, botanical art and history and author of The Plant Book International Peer Review.

2012 Merging of the Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation and Friends of the Gardens to become the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens. Awarding of the first Lachlan Macquarie Medal to Professor Hong De-Yuan, presented by NSW Governor Marie Bashir.

2014  Operational integration with Centennial Parklands. Kim Ellis appointed Director and Chief Executive of Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands.

2016  Bicentenary of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.






                     VERY INTERESTING