The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s history is no ordinary tale, despite the name, it wasn’t until 1959 that it became ‘Royal’. There is much more to the Gardens than just flowers and stunning horticultural displays. This three-part blog series will travel through the 202 years of existence and delve into the exciting history of one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions
At 202 years of age, the Garden is the oldest botanic garden in Australia, and the second oldest in the southern hemisphere. While it may still be junior in years to some of the great botanic gardens in the northern hemisphere, the Garden has outgrown many and contributed more than most to our knowledge of plants.
From the moment the First Fleet came ashore in 1788, the site on which the Garden is now located was central to the hopes, aspirations and survival of the community. As the site of the first European farm in Australia, early attempts at food crops and other agriculture on the site failed, and resulted in near ruin for the colony.
Governor Lachlan Macquarie, however, saw the potential for the site as the ideal place for horticulture, botany and research and set aside the land - despite a lack of public support - for Sydney’s own botanic garden.
Today the Garden stands as a major participant in the worldwide network of botanic gardens, advancing science, conservation research and environmental education, and engaging people in the importance of plants in our daily life.
Read on to learn more about how the Garden’s earned its title as one of Australia’s most important living collections.