Big donation secures future of Prime Minister's Avenue

by Nieve Walton, The Courier, 14 August 2023

THE Future of the Prime Minister's Avenue in the Botanical Garden has been secured for a limited time.

A donation from Ballarat Resident B.R. Carlson will pay for the next four busts on the avenue, according to the City of Ballarat.

Council reports this is the first donation made to the walk since the original donor Richard Armstrong Crouch.

The exact amount was not disclosed, but council said it was "significant".

Funding for the avenue has been difficult, with a higher turnover of leaders during the last decade.

In 2019, federal Ballarat MP Catherine King called on the Coalition to contribute funding to ensure the tradition can continue.

At the time, Elizabeth Gilfillan from the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation said the fund had been "depleting more with the multiplicity of prime ministers".

City of Ballarat mayor Des Hudson said in a statement this contribution creates a bright future for the avenue.

"To be in receipt of such a donation is unbelievably generous and we can't thank the benefactor and the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation enough.

"The Prime Ministers Avenue is an absolute treasure of Ballarat and we know so many people understand its historical significance."

The council is looking for an artist to create Scott Morrison's bust.  About $50,000 has been budgeted for the project.

The EOI is open until September 29, council will commission the artist in October and the work is to be completed by mid-2024.

More details on

News article from The Courier regarding Prime Ministers Avenue


Gardens Foundation funds apprenticeship

by Edwina Williams, The Times Newsgroup, 2 June 2021

The Ballarat Botanical Gardens exists to share knowledge of native and exotic plants with its visitors.

But with six apprentices currently in the City of Ballarat's parks and gardens team, the site also operates as a hands-on outdoor classroom, educating the next generation of enthusiastic, passionate, and skilled horticultural professionals.

(Picture right:  Peter Marquand, Troy Peddle, Elizabeth Gilfillan and Anita Godfrey caught up in the Gardens’ conservatory, where much of the apprentices’ nursery learning takes place.  Photo:  EDWINA WILLIAMS)

Troy Peddle is one of these young staff members.

Three months into three-years-worth of practical study, he'll soon begin Federation University's certificate three in parks and gardens, and he's already making history.

Mr Peddle is the first City parks and gardens apprentice to be employed by BGT Jobs and Training, with his annual wages funded by the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation and external benefactors, Arthur and Merrill Shulkes.

"I've always had a passion for my gardens, mainly vegetable gardens, so when I saw the opportunity to apply for the apprenticeship, I jumped at it," he said.

"I'm in the nursery for the first six months.  It's fabulous in there; everyone's very supportive and has a lot of information to give.

"We've just recently taken down the begonias after the festival, so my work has been prepping them for storage.  We finished putting out the Mother's Day display, and we've been potting up tulips for our winter display."

(Picture right:  Proactive horticultural learning: Apprentice Troy Peddle is halfway through his rotation with the nursery team. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS)

City of Ballarat's horticultural apprentices spend time in the Gardens, the nursery, with the tree and sports crews, and on Sturt and Victoria streets.

Curator parks and nursery, Peter Marquand is proud to be nurturing the "horticulturalists of the future."

Educating these young men and women is part of his team's succession planning, encouraging the apprentices to apply for roles with the City of Ballarat once fully qualified.

"Most of them will go through an employment process and gain work with council after their apprenticeship," he said.

"Our parks and gardens are a very important and unique part of what the City does.  We have world-class Botanical Gardens, well-known parks, streets and entrances, and all our apprentices are an integral part of our seasonal operations.

Troy's passion has been fantastic.  That's what we're looking for in our gardening staff, and that's something you can't teach."

BGT Jobs and Training is the largest employer of apprentices and trainees in Ballarat.

Apprenticeship and trainee consultant Anita Godfrey said Mr Peddle was the successor from a pool of three final applicants she presented to the City of Ballarat, and the Gardens Foundation during the employment process.

"We're proud of this placement, and our partnerships with businesses across Ballarat, helping people create a career," she said.

The Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation collaborates with the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens to help the green space thrive.

FOBBG's Elizabeth Gilfillan said the volunteer Freinds work in diverse ways to make horticultural ideas and educational opportunities a reality.

"Troy's apprenticeship is a very personal and visible project that we can all take interest in, and be very proud of," she said.

The Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation enables tax deductible donations.  Visit


Works begin on Ballarat Botanical Gardens Fernery redevelopment

19 June, sourced from (see below)

Also, the following article can be found in The Courier, 20 June, 2020 here:
First sod turned for 'fantasy Gothic' fernery recreation at Ballarat Botanical Gardens




Architect sketch of fernery


Works begin on Ballarat Botanical Gardens Fernery redevelopment

sourced 26/06/20

The first stage of works to prepare the foundations of the fernery began this week.

The restoration project, fully-funded by the City of Ballarat, will see the reconstruction of the gothic style entry from the original fernery.

Local companies including builder Resicare Builders, steel fabricator Plinius Engineering and timber supplier Whiteheads Timbers have been appointed to the project.

City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Ben Taylor says the Ballarat Fernery reconstruction will return this important cultural asset to a wonderful destination for visitors to enjoy and will enhance the Ballarat Botanical Gardens’ plant collection.

"The Ballarat Fernery is one of the oldest of its kind in Australia. It has been open since the 1880s, making it a rich part of Ballarat’s history," Cr Taylor says.

“The fernery’s core location in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens is important to the tourism offering of the entire precinct, which is home to Ballarat’s largest annual event, the Ballarat Begonia Festival, which attracts more than 40,000 people.”

The fernery is recognised by the Victorian Heritage Register Statement of Significance as an outstanding feature of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

It was closed in 2013 and was in a deteriorated and decaying state until it was demolished in 2019.

Timing for the delivery of stage two, which includes the remaining two thirds of the existing fernery structure, will be dependent on securing funding.

Public support for the Ballarat Fernery refurbishment was demonstrated during the Lake Wendouree Masterplan public consultation process, where more than 1,800 people identified the fernery as a precinct priority project.

The Ballarat Fernery is located on Wendouree Parade, in the centre of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, and plays an important role in linking the North Gardens to the Botanical Gardens.

The new fernery will be a replica of the original timber building. The steel frame will be manufactured off-site and brought in once the foundation work is complete. It will be completely clad in timber to match the original building.

Works are expected to be completed later this year.

FBBG logo


We would like to acknowledge our key Stakeholder, Friends of Ballarat Botanical Gardens (FBBG).





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