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Friends of the Garden

The Friends of the Eurobdoalla Regional Botanic Garden work with Eurobodalla Shire Council to achieve the Garden's conservation, recreational and educational goals.

Friends of the Garden is an incorporated non-profit community organisation with over 300 individual and family memberships. The organisation is run by a committee of 8 members who work closely with Council under arrangements set out in a Memorandum of Understanding.

In 1985 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. Friends of Eurobodalla Native Botanic Gardens started in October 1986 and State forests issued permission to Council to occupy a 42 ha site within Mogo State Forest to establish a Botanic Garden.

Development of the Garden

A Garden concept plan was developed with a 5-year schedule. Serious landscaping began in 1989.

Bushfire swept through the site on 6 January 1994, causing massive dislocation – the site was totally burned out including all infrastructure. Friends and community members worked together with Council staff to clean out the fire ravaged debris from the site, harvested seeds, commenced the replacement of plants, and rebuilt infrastructure that had been destroyed.

A new concept plan developed in 1996 became the basis of all new display garden beds and other developments in the Garden, including an Herbarium and Visitor Centre site. Availability of funds and labour determined the pace of development. Construction of the Visitor Centre/Herbarium Building was completed in 2001.

By 2015 it became clear that the Herbarium required upgrading to protect over 13 500 specimens. Friends funded an Architect, Engineer and other consultants to ensure the project was ready to apply for grants. Working with Garden Management Friends successfully applied for grants worth approximately $2.2m. The new climate-controlled and insect-proof Herbarium, and the newly redeveloped Visitor Centre both withstood the bushfire that ravaged the Garden in January 2020.

Partnership between Friends and Council

Funds are raised through the Visitor Centre retail shop Partnership Agreement with Council, by running a range of on-site and off-site events such as trivia nights, raffles, market stalls, theatre nights as well as submitting grant applications for Garden projects.

The Friends have raised substantial sums of money over many years to contribute to a wide range of projects including:

  • the Herbarium building, its current and ongoing equipment needs and library
  • the Arboretum
  • facilities in the picnic area
  • the Children’s Playspace and Children’s Walk
  • improvements in the propagation nursery
  • a regional native flora Seed Bank
  • relocation of the workshop
  • a range of themed Gardens
  • parking area
  • purchase of a wide range of equipment
  • the new wheelchair-accessible barbecue pavilion
  • redevelopment of the Visitor Centre
  • engaging the Thematic/Interpretation Design Consultant
  • paying for landscaper used for the Display Gardens

Friends have also developed educational materials and services, including;

  • guided walks for visitors and special groups
  • a colour brochure about birds of the ERBG
  • equipment for use by school children when visiting

Members also work as volunteers across many aspects of ERBG, including operating the heritage listed Wallace Herbarium; staffing ‘Meet and Greet’ providing visitor information; producing educational and interpretive material and offering guided walks; plant propagation; maintenance of the garden plantings; and maintaining a wide range of infrastructure. We also provide support to non-member volunteers and encourage social interaction between everyone working at ERBG.

In the early years, Friends members did most of the work on site, before The Gardens Supervisor was employed, in 1992.

Since all Friends and volunteers working at ERBG are under Council stewardship, the Friends’ organisational role has matured into one of consultation and assistance to Council via the Garden Manager.

The Public Fund managed by Friends enjoys DGR Item 1 status so that donors to Friends are eligible for a tax concession.

In among the Gum Trees

A one hundred page pictorial record of the Botanic Garden, this book will take you on a journey of discovery as to how a community created a dream!

The book demonstrates the extraordinary resilience of members of the Friends of the Garden and the local community who, with the generous support of the local Council and many other organisations, worked on despite the ravages of bushfire, flood and wind storms, to create a wonderful place with a growing number of annual visitors.

Photos from our archives and from more recent collections illustrate how this magnificent place among the gum trees has blossomed from very humble beginnings when a handful of people sought to realise a vision, to what has become a regional showplace.

This book acknowledges the achievement of so many, over more than 30 years. Great as a gift, or for placing on your coffee table!

Copies are available at our Visitor Centre for just $30.

Annual photographic competition and calendar

Friends hold an annual photographic competition in association with the Eurobodalla Photographic Club, in which all photos must be taken within ERBG. Entries are judged in several categories to encourage photos of plants, animals, features, people and environmental themes. Photos are also selected from the entries for inclusion in our Annual Calendar.

Botanic Explorer Self-guided tours

An iPad-based system developed by the Friends allows visitors to access information on our plants, birds, animals, walking tracks and other infrastructure. Released in December 2017, additional information is being added progressively so that over time, information will be available on most of our significant plants. Available for hire for $5.00 from the Visitor Centre.

Bird brochure

A full colour brochure features the 50 most commonly recorded birds here. It’s free, and extremely popular!

Newsletter

We produce a quarterly newsletter detailing issues and events related to the Garden and to the operation of the Friends organisation.

Joining the Friends will give you the opportunity to meet like-minded people, join in social activities, and share in raising funds and supporting significant projects in the future. In addition, your Friends membership offers:

  • quarterly meetings with a guest speaker
  • quarterly Newsletters
  • discounts on purchases from the plant shop and gift shop
  • social activities.

To join up:

Annual membership commences 1 July and extends to 30 June of the following year.

All information provided by members will be dealt with in accordance with the Australian Privacy Policy Principles contained in Schedule 1 of the Privacy Act (1988).

Donations to the Friends Trust gives us the opportunity to contribute to specific projects, such as the Jenny Liney Scholarship.

Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible through the Friends Trust Fund which holds Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status. All donations are acknowledged.

Governance and feedback

The management and activities of the Friends are carried out in accordance with a suite of governance documents and Federal Government requirements:

  • Friends of ERBG Constitution
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Friends of Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden and the Eurobodalla Shire Council
  • Strategic Plan for the Friends, which is closely linked to the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s ERBG Strategic Plan.
  • Partnership Agreement whereby 90% of retail profit is donated to the Garden.
  • Accounts are audited annually and submitted to the Australian Charities Commission

Friends welcome interaction with and feedback from visitors and the general public. Please provide comments in the visitor Book at Reception, or use our online contact form.

Jenny Liney Tertiary Scholarship

The scholarship recognises the contribution of Jenny Liney OAM to the development and maintenance of the Wallace Herbarium housed at the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden.

The annual scholarship of up to $5000 will support students from the Eurobodalla Shire who commence or are continuing tertiary studies in a field related to the natural sciences such as botany, horticulture, conservation or environmental studies.