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A planning history : Darwin Botanic Garden, past present future, and planning : a new approach



A planning history : Darwin Botanic Garden, past present future, and planning : a new approach


Brown, George, 1929-2002


Northern Territory Library Occasional Papers; E-Books; PublicationNT; Occasional papers (State Library of the Northern Territory) ; no. 39




George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens


Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




City planning -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Darwin Botanic Gardens (N.T.) --- History

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State Library of the Northern Territory

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Occasional papers (State Library of the Northern Territory) ; no. 39

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A PLANNING HISTORY: DARWIN BOTANIC GARDEN, PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE. The Surveyor General of South Australia, G. W. Goyder, arrived in Port Darwin on February 5th 1869 to found Palmerston, destined to become the first permanent township in the Northern Territory. Within one week of his arrival the first Official Garden was planted. The Official Naturalist, Frederic Schultze, had carried with him seeds of tomato, cucumber, peas, beans, pumpkin and onions among others. William Hayes was given the task of establishing the first Garden, which he located on the foreshore of Francis Bay where Kitchener Street starts up from the wharf. Hayes was officially appointed the Territory's Official and first Gardener in May of 1869. In June of 1870 sugar cane was planted in Doctors' Gully and the "Paper Bark Swamp" (Mindil), "The Garden", as it was originally referred to, prospered; it was later and variously called the Experimental Garden, the Government Garden, the Experimental Nursery, and the Botanical Gardens until the 1890s when the term Botanic Garden was used exclusively. Planning was, until now, by necessity. In 1871 money was made available by the South Australian Government for the establishment of an Experimental Garden which was begun in August on six acres of land about a mile from the Telegraph Station; the exact location is today uncertain. Hayes was appointed Government Gardener of the new Garden and was allowed to employ two Chinese labourers. Little experimenting was done and the main purpose of the Garden continued to be the production of fruit and vegetables for public servants and sick people. This practice led to the growing private sector resenting the fact of Government Officials only benefiting from Hayes' efforts. In March of 1875 a move was made by the Town Council to take control of the Garden for experimental growing and the provision of produce to the public. The Garden was also to be planned as a recreation area. Argument continued until a year later when Hayes was supplying the public with both plants and produce and it was no longer necessary to import vegetables from China. The Garden was now recognised by the Minister and the Town Council as being of some importance. Hayes died on June 8th 1878 and Maurice Holtze, a trained horticulturist, was appointed to succeed him on July 16th 1878. In March of 1879 Holtze, the Government Resident (Price), McMinn and William Owsten, who planned to grow sugar cane in the Territory, selected a new site for the Garden at Fannie Bay comprising thirty acres of mainly dense jungle directly north of the Gaol. Three hundred and fifty Chinese were employed at one shilling each per day to clear the jungle and to sink seven wells. We might suspect that Mr. Owsten was planning his own future activities by encouraging experiments with sugar cane and indeed he was to be the first recipient of canes from the Garden! The Garden now had Ministerial recognition. Despite continued threats to abolish his position and lack of funds, Holtze persisted to