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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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such an extent that, writing of the Garden in 1884, the Government Resident, Parsons, said ... "To it, over the rough and, in the dry season, desolate road, every visitor to Palmerston is taken and is then marched along its Banana and Pineapple lined walks to see Sugar Cane, Rice, Tapioca, Arrowroot, Groundnut and other tropical and sub- tropical plants growing and flourishing". Produce from the Garden had also won medals in Sydney and Calcutta. The Garden was already becoming a tourist attraction. In 1885 Parsons, the Government Resident, admitted to the Minister that a mistake had been made when the Gardens site had been chosen in 1879. In hindsight, we know that, with planning, that problem might have been averted. On 2 January 1886 the local newspaper announced that the Fannie Bay site would be surveyed and sub-divided into suburban blocks and auctioned. The Garden would be re-located to the "Paper Bark Swamp" (the present site). Holtze acted swiftly, and on 22 February 1886, only four days after the shift was agreed to, he was transplanting mature plants to the new site. Parsons' action in authorising the shift without his Minister's approval is an example of "shotgun" or "immediate need" planning brought about by the need to get things done, and frustration. A further, similar action was taken by Parsons when, following months of indecision by the Minister, he (Parsons) issued a Proclamation declaring the formal establishment of the Botanic Garden on 1 October 1886. To this day no proper Proclamation has been found; the situation being that, under Town Planning Zoning, the Botanic Garden is simply another piece of public land zoned "01, For the Recreation and Amusement of the Public". A planning decision is required to formalise the Garden. In 1887 Holtze listed 519 species and varieties of plants considered to have commercial potential growing in the Garden. Despite difficulties with labour, funding and the weather Holtze persisted and the Garden flourished. In 1891 Dr. Schornburgk, the Director of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, died. Holtze, who was by now very much respected in botanical and horticultural circles, was appointed to succeed him. At age 23, Holtze's son Nicholas was appointed to manage the Garden and given the title "Curator", an honour not afforded his father. Nicholas was a career Public Servant with many responsibilities ... Secretary and Accountant to the Resident Acting Deputy Registrar Public Trustee Inspector, Vines, Fruits and Vegetables Returning Officer Sheriff Curator Botanic Garden. His eventual salary was 2525.00. per annum, which made him the third highest salaried public servant in the Territory behind the Resident and the Chief Medical Officer.