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9 July 1837 Botanic Garden

 9 July 1837 Botanic Garden

As early as 9 July 1837 a site had been chosen for Adelaide’s botanic garden. This first site was part of the parklands on the north-west corner of the city and although in September the government called for tenders to fence in the area the project failed. In 1839 John Bailey, a horticulturist, was appointed Colonial Botanist and he chose a site of five hectares in North Adelaide on a bend in the river. For some reason he was removed from his position, the gardens were let, and yet again the project failed through lack of government and public support. The present gardens were laid out in 1855 on 16.2 hectares of land and the first portion opened to the public in 1857; the remainder was planted by 1865. The first director was GW Francis who had arrived in South Australia in 1849; he died in 1865 just as the gardens were becoming established. However, his work enabled his successor. Dr Richard Schomburgk, to continue to enhance the area. Anthony Trollope, the famous novelist, who visited Adelaide in the early 1870s, placed Adelaide’s gardens next to Sydney’s for beauty, saying they ‘please like a well-told tale’. Added to over the years the gardens are now a beautiful feature of the north-east corner of the city.

Judith Brown, Town Life in Pioneer South Australia, Rigby, 1980, pp22-24.

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