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Frequently asked questions
How old is the Royal Botanic Garden?
Governor Macquarie founded the Gardens in 1816. Our long history of collection and study of plants began with the appointment of the first Colonial Botanist, Charles Fraser, in 1817. This makes the Royal Botanic Gardens the oldest scientific institution in Australia.
How large are the Royal Botanic Garden and the Domain?
The Royal Botanic Garden and the Domain, combined, cover some 65 hectares.
In addition, the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust administers the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah. The Australian Botanic Garden is the largest botanic garden in Australia, covering some 410 hectares in Sydney’s southwest between Camden and Campbelltown. The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is located on the Bells Line of Road in the Great Blue Mountains on 28 hectares.
What is different about each of the three Gardens?
While the Royal Botanic Garden showcases plants from right across the globe, Mount Annan Botanic Garden is devoted to Australian native plants. Mount Tomah Botanic Garden, at an altitude of approximately 1000 metres, features one of the world’s finest collections of cool climate plants.
The Domain is the chosen venue for Sydneysiders for large-scale events - such as Opera in the Park, Jazz in the Park and Symphony in the Park - right through to local sporting and cultural festivals.
How many plants are grown in the Garden?
More than 7000 different kind of plants are on display at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Some 17 000 species of living plants are on show across the three botanic garden sites.
What else can I see in the Gardens?
In 1862, Sydney’s first zoo was opened within the Royal Botanic Garden and remained there until 1883, when most of it was transferred to Moore Park.
Today the Royal Botanic Garden is home to a large colony of flying foxes, which reside in the Palm Grove area.
Many species of bird are also found in the Garden including: Superb Fairy Wren, Buff-banded Rail, Silvereye, White-faced Heron, Sacred Ibis, King Parrot, Rosellas, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Galah, Rainbow Lorikeet, Kookaburra, Tawny Frogmouth and Pacific Black Duck.
The Australian Botanic Garden and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden also boast significant numbers of birds.
How many specimens are housed in the Herbarium?
Some one million specimens, mainly from Australia, are housed in the National Herbarium of New South Wales, located within the Royal Botanic Garden.
The Herbarium is the principal centre for botanical research in New South Wales and its staff undertakes a major share of the recognition, classification and study of the vegetation of Australia. Specimens include some collected by Sir Joseph Banks in 1770.
Fast Facts for each site