The Friends of the Garden Story

In 1985 the president of the Eurobodalla Coastwatchers Association suggested that a flora reserve should be established to preserve and protect the native plants of the region which were threatened by development.

In 1986 a community meeting was attended by State Forests and Council representatives to discuss the possibility of Council obtaining an Occupation Permit over land at Deep Creek and to seek State Forests help to pursue the establishment of the site as a botanic garden. In October another meeting resolved to establish the Friends of Eurobodalla Native Botanic Gardens and to recommend the formation of a Council Management Committee.

A Council Management Committee was proposed in December 1986 which met officially for the first time in early in 1987. An Occupation Permit under the State Forestry Act was issued to the Eurobodalla Shire Council in May 1987.

Development of the Garden

Assisted by the School of Environmental Design at the then Canberra College of Advanced Education, the Friends prepared a Development Plan which was approved by Eurobodalla Shire Council in 1988. The plan established the concept of the Garden and a 5-year development schedule. The first walking track was roughed out late in 1988 and serious landscaping began in 1989.

A bushfire swept through the site on 6 January 1994, causing massive dislocation – the site was totally burned out. The cottage, all of the on-site equipment and plant sheds were destroyed. The devastation did not deter the Friends and volunteers from rolling up their sleeves and getting on with the work of cleaning out the fire ravaged debris from the site, harvesting seeds, and commencing the replacement of plants and rebuilding infrastructure that had been destroyed. Friends, volunteers from our local community and Council rallied to clean up the devastated site and begin again.

After the bushfire, Council recommitted its support for the Garden and the partnership between Council and Friends continued. A new concept plan developed in 1996 by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology became the basis of all new display garden beds and other developments in the Garden, including an Herbarium and Visitors Centre site. Development has proceeded as funds and labour have become available.

Construction of the Visitor Centre/Herbarium Building began in 1999 and was completed in 2001. The Shire Council contributed $190,000 initially for the building. Much of the major building work was carried out by contractors. The Friends contributed over $50,000 plus many hours of voluntary work.