A $3 million facelift for the much loved and respected Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden is underway in 2019.
A new purpose-built home for the heritage-listed Wallace Herbarium is on track to be complete by February. The former herbarium space will be converted into a new retail area to provide visitor services and sell quality, locally-made art, wares and produce.
A new café is being constructed adjoining the visitor centre, while the existing café will be transformed into a multi-purpose function space, perfect for weddings, conferences, exhibitions or as a classroom.
Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden Manager Michael Anlezark says the work is designed to meet the growing needs of residents and visitors. He is hoping it will enable the Garden to target a wider audience, including coach tours and larger school groups.
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“I’m very excited and can’t wait to see the amazing new facilities that will take our Garden into the future,” he says.
“We currently can’t promote the Garden as a destination to coach companies as we don’t have adequate facilities to cope with large groups, such as enough toilets, so these new facilities will bring some amazing new opportunities.
“We’re also looking forward to partnering with other attractions in the area to develop unique educational programs for school groups.”
The project is funded by grants from the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments, Eurobodalla Shire Council and the ever dynamic Friends of the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden, who single-handedly raised over $400,000.
The Garden is one of the largest in regional Australia, and visitation has doubled in the past five years. A cheer went up in January of last year when the Australian Geographic included the Garden on its list of 10 regional botanic gardens you need to visit.
The original idea for the Gardens came from Pat Speirs in 1985, who was concerned but inspired into action after witnessing the loss of vegetation in a new residential subdivision on the forested slopes near her house.
It now takes in 42 hectares of the Mogo State Forest and features over 8km of walking tracks and a terrific kids playground. Those involved have a tenacious interest in the flora of the local region spanning the Clyde, Deua and Tuross river catchments.
Member for Bega, Andrew Constance says the project will deliver a world-class destination for nature-based tourism.
“I’m delighted the NSW Government is contributing more than $1.1 million to its cost,” Mr Constance says.
“The Garden already attracts more than 70,000 people each year, and this work will provide additional opportunities with the view of doubling those numbers.
“It will also allow the Garden to continue its important work in botanic research, education and sustainability.”
Visitors can expect minor disruption to access while the work is underway, but the Garden will remain open and fully functioning.
The bulk of the works are expected to be completed by the end of 2019 with some finishing touches in early 2020.
The Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden is located just south of Batemans Bay on the Princes Highway, with free entry. The gates are open 9 am to 4 pm, Wednesday to Sunday, or every day during NSW school holidays and public holidays except Good Friday, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.
Dogs and bikes are not permitted, assistance dogs are allowed.
On January 19 and 20 in the Garden, with the setting sun as a backdrop, Essential Theatre invites you to relax and savour a performance of Shakespeare’s comedy – A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Tickets are $40, bookings and more information – HERE.
Original Article published by Ian Campbell on About Regional.