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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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Despite being only a part-time Curator, Nicholas managed to achieve a great deal in the Garden. In accordance with his father's plan, an avenue of Coconut palms was planted at the bottom of the gardens and the mangrove swamp was drained and cleared and also planted with Coconuts. It is believed that some of those original plants still exist along the present Gilruth Avenue. The plantation was subject to the deprivations of the occupying military during the two World Wars. That line formed by the Coconuts was to be a handy boundary when, later, the Council annexed land from the Gardens to build the Gardens Ovals complex. Later on, and without consultation, the Mindil Beach and St. Johns' College land was also stolen from the Gardens and even in these modem days the City Council has stolen the land within the Amphitheatre fence. Nicholas Holtze was very successful in the growing of Rice, which crop he promoted vigorously but with little success. He also is said to have planted the local Milkwoods (Alstonia actinophylla) in Smith Street. At only 45 years of age Nicholas Holtze passed away in the Curator's Cottage in the Gardens. Top-end agriculturists had lost a man dedicated to their success. Like his father before him, Nicholas had lost out to the tyranny of distance. The Territory was now the responsibility of the Commonwealth (they promised a railway). The first Administrator, Dr. J. A. Gilruth, decided that "The Darwin Botanic Garden" (a new name since 1911 when the Commonwealth took control) would become a Scientific and Educational Institution with a portion of the Garden being retained for vegetable growing under a Mr. Yeadon - Planning from a position of power. Kew Gardens-trained C.E.F. Allen was appointed as the first full-time Curator but he soon left to join the Australian Expeditionary Force. G. F. Hill, an entomologist, was appointed as acting Curator but he soon left to take up a position in Townsville. After World War 1 Allen was appointed Superintendent of Agriculture and Curator of the Botanic Garden but he had little time for the Garden which was "cleaned up and kept tidy" and gradually, under the care of Acting Curator M. C. Good, became an ornamental Garden. Good was followed by W. L. Stanley (acting) who was the Chief Inspector of Pearling and "no experiments were undertaken". In 1937 a young botanist, H.K.C. Mair was appointed. Mair purchased a tractor and trailer (the horse had died of senescence), and a rotary hoe and built a tobacco curing barn. All the buildings which had been damaged by the cyclone in March of 1937 were re-built, including the nursery, shade-house, implement shed and the garage at the Curator's Cottage. The good times lasted only up to the occupation of the Garden by the troops of World War 2. The occupation lasted until 1945. The Garden was described as being a tangle of brush and barbed-wire and the local dairyman, Brooker, was pasturing his cows there and calves were penned in the Shade-House. The Administrator complained at the deplorable state of the Garden with the result that Brigadier Dollery undertook its restoration. Army Headquarters in each State were asked to send plants which were planted under the supervision of Mr. Jack Agostini, the Foreman Gardener.