Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published December 19th 2017
Seasonal Beauty Captures Blooms in Varying Colours
There are some places, written on a bucket list that we would like to visit and hope one day that they can be ticked off. Ballarat in the central highlands of Victoria was one of those places I had on my list.
With a population of over 101,000 people, Ballarat is the third largest inland city of Australia and is known to have transformed from a small sheep station to a major settlement when gold was discovered in August 1851. Unlike other small towns, Ballarat was fortunate in that the gold fields sustained high gold yields for many decades and this is seen in the rich architecture of the buildings still standing in Ballarat today. The city is also famous for the Eureka Rebellion where miners fought against the colonial forces of Australia objecting to the expense of a miner's licence, taxation and actions of the government, policy and military.
At one of the entries to Ballarat Botanical Gardens (Author's photo)
Researching Ballarat before my visit, I knew I wanted to visit the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, which cover forty hectares of open parklands, traditional gardens, the Prime Ministers Avenue, Robert Clark Observatory, the Adam Lindsay Gordon Cottage, The Stoddard Collection of Statues, the Reflection Pool, the Floral Clock and more. Located on the western shore of Lake Wendouree, the gardens are a must for every visitor and local alike giving an abundant amount of beauty, garden walks, tours by volunteers from Friends of the Botanical Gardens and the Ballarat Begonia Festival, which is held there each year.
Signs depicting the way (Author's Photo)
Twenty-Eight Australian Prime Ministers are displayed as bronze busts, each mounted on polished granite pedestals along The Prime Ministers Avenue. I could only remember as far back as Harold Holt, possibly because of the mystery surrounding his disappearance; however, names such as Menzies and Forde were embedded in my memory through school lessons. Once a Prime Minister's term has been served, a bronze portrait is produced and his or her time of duty is noted on the plaque. I was very impressed with the quality of the busts.
Harold Holt, the mystery still surrounds (Author's photo)
Although I visited in the beginning of Spring, the weather was extremely inclement with the trees just starting to grow new leaves and colour for the season ahead. Walking through the Robert Clark Conservatory boosted my spirits with amazing seasonal flowers in bloom. Many varieties of plants are grown in the conservatory all year round depicting that season's collection; from Hydrangeas, Fuchsias and Pelargoniums in Summer to Cyclamen, Cineraria and Primula in Winter, Tuberous Begonia in Autumn & Chrysanthemum in May through to Schizanthus and spring bulbs in Spring.
Inside Robert Clark Conservatory (Author's Photo)
Entry to the Conservatory is free and open each day between 9.00am and 4.30pm, excluding Christmas Day. Volunteers from Friends of Ballarat Botanical Gardens are available for guided walks and tours and will explain the story behind the gardens. These tours can be tailored to suit individual group interests. More information can be found on their website.
Adam Lindsay Gordon Cottage (Author's Photo)
Situated in the grounds of the gardens is the Adam Lindsay Gordon Cottage. This cottage was one of the previous homes of a well-known early Australian Poet. The cottage was originally situated in the town of Ballarat where Mr Gordon owned a livery stable business behind Craig's Hotel. The cottage was moved to the gardens at its present location in 1934, yet the cottage was not opened as a shop for local crafts until 1992.
Scarves, Beanies, Craft and much more (Author's Photo)
Adam Gordon was a reckless young man with plenty of debts and great anxiety to his father. In 1853 his father sent him to Australia to join the mounted police and to make a fresh start. He was also making a name for riding over hurdles and won several hurdle races and steeplechases. He wrote several poems through his life but was not recognised until after his death. His Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes, which was published in June 1870 is now regarded as one of the most important pieces of Australian literature. His bust is placed in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey and he remains the only Australian poet commemorated there. Today his cottage is filled with wonderful handmade craft from various crafters around the area and if you are looking for a woollen scarf, this is the place to visit.
Unfortunately, the day turned bitterly cold and stormy and sent me back to my accommodation in a hurry. However, I will return, perhaps next time in Autumn when the flowers are still in bloom and leaves are turning the fiery colour of orange.
Such beauty in colour (Author's Photo)
The gardens are located on Wendouree Parade, Lake Wendouree in Ballarat although entry is available along this parade or in Gillies Street. There is plenty of free street parking in both streets.