Mount Lofty Botanic Garden

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Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, Summit Road/Top Gate. Text and images courtesy of Karen Agutter

In 1948, the Board of Governors of the Adelaide Botanic Garden declared that land would be obtained in the Mt Lofty Ranges to establish a botanic garden suitable for the cultivation and exhibition of cool climate and sub-alpine plants. Over the next thirty years the targeted area, on the eastern slope of Mt Lofty, grew to over 90 hectares. To support this increasing land size, in 1960, the height and length of the Spring Dam was increased to retain a larger volume of water which was gathered from the surrounding hills and the nearby natural springs. A new pipeline was also laid to provide water to larger areas of the gardens and for use in the case of fire and this was tested soon when fire threatened the garden in 1961. Subsequently, over the next few years additional water tanks were added and the construction of fire breaks was increased and ongoing.

The plants used in the garden were, whenever possible, grown within the gardens associated nurseries and those not available in Australia were imported from overseas. One of the best known areas of the garden, Rhododendron Valley was established in 1966 with the initial planting of 250 shrubs. The garden, which showcase plants from around the world, opened to the public in 1977 and remain very popular for locals and visitors alike throughout the changing seasons.

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Piccadilly/Bottom Gate

Do you have memories/photos of the construction of the garden, of picnics, walks through the fog or autumn leaves? Contact us at or drop into the History Centre at the Coventry Library, 63 Mount Barker Road, Stirling.