Works are proceeding on upgrades and refurbishment of the Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens.

The current suite of projects being undertaken in the Gardens includes more accessible pathways and steps, improvements to the Alf Headland Conservatory, improvements to the forecourt of the Pioneer Memorial Tower and Day Basin, refurbishment to the Day Basin and Fernery cascade waterfall and restoration of the amenities block.

All of these works are part of the realisation of the Master Plan  for the Gardens. The co-funded co-operative project involves contributions from the State Government through Regional Development Victoria ($500K), the Friends of Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens ($200K) and Hepburn Shire Council ($188K).

The first stage of the works was relaying the stone and gravel steps from the main entry road to improve pedestrian access to the Gardens’ key locations. The steps, constructed by Charles Millen, have now been completed.

A big-ticket item in the plan is the restoration of the Day Basin, the deep, brick lined cistern which once held a day’s supply of water for Daylesford but now lies abandoned, deteriorated, weed-filled and surrounded by a cyclone wire fence. GbLA landscape Architects have developed a plan to repair and landscape the basin to include a marsh garden.

Tenders have been let for the repair of the Alf Headland Conservatory which houses the fabulous Begonia collection. Glass will be replaced, louvres relocated and the veranda renovated.

On Friday 18 March, the Minister for Regional Development, Mary-Anne Thomas, toured the Gardens to inspect progress on the works. Shire CEO, Bradley Thomas, and Friends Secretary, Patrice O’Shea, welcomed the Minister. Patrice provided background and detail around both the steps and day basin projects while Senior Horticulturist John Roach detailed the Conservatory works.

The gardens are currently looking quite spectacular. The Begonias are in full bloom and the trees are showing their autumn colours. The Gardens and the café are well worth a visit.

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