Nestled by the sea within a stone's throw away from Williamstown Beach and sitting on 10 acres (4 hectares) with a strong Edwardian character, Williamstown Botanic Garden is not only one of the oldest Botanic Gardens in Victoria; it is the first public gardens in the state as well as being listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
The Gardens are enhanced by its impressive central palm avenue and the framework of layouts, however, if it's being compared to the major gardens in Melbourne, Williamstown Botanic Garden lacks in design sophistication, yet gives off an impression of being quaint.
Williamstown Botanic Gardens was designed by eminent 19th century landscape designer Edward La Trobe Bateman and initially plants and planting advice were given by first director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Ferdinand von Mueller and today the northern half the Garden features open lawns and mature trees planted in a pattern with paths in between, giving off a magical feel as you potter your way through nature admiring the abundance mix of colourful palms, evergreen exotics and decorative shrubs.
In 1891 both sides of the main axial path, near the statue of Alfred Thomas Clarke, were planted with New Zealand Cabbage Trees and in 1915 replanted with Washington Palms and in 1988 it was again replanted.
The Botanic Garden is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as significant for their historical, aesthetic, scientific (horticultural) and social significance to the state of Victoria. It is also listed on the National Register and classified by The National Trust of Australia (Vic).
In 1856, the 10 acre site was formally set aside for a 'Public Park and Pleasure Ground'.
The Gardens are historically important as one of Victoria's most intact and original botanic gardens complete with authentic formal Victorian and Edwardian design features including shrubberies, a pinetum, marble statuary, an intricate path system, an ornamental lake, a palm walk and rare and significant trees.
The Gardens are home to bats, possums, a wide range of birds, and more than 150 species of insects.
Williamstown Botanic Gardens has become the scene for many loved events including Shakespeare in the Gardens, Garden parties, Storytime under the Elm, Reading Corner, school activities, Paint the Gardens art event, tree and heritage walks as well as being a popular location for wedding ceremonies.
With open green lawns, intricate pathways and attractions including the fine example of the authenticity of the Gardens, which is the result of an unbroken line of horticultural knowledge and tradition, Williamstown Botanic Garden offers a peaceful setting to enjoy a picnic, take a stroll or just to relax or daydream on the cool green lawns. It also offers a wonderful day out being surrounded by nature and tranquillity.