City Botanic Gardens
From their inception as the penal colony’s first farm in 1828 to today’s living museum, these splendid gardens are culturally significant as the only place in Queensland to have had a continuous uninterrupted horticultural history for so long.
Well after the penal colony was disbanded and free settlement began the first Botanic curator Walter Hill was appointed in 1855 and much of his legacy from this time survives and can be seen by today’s visitor.
Along with the growing of crops such as tobacco, sugar, grapes, tropical fruit, tea and coffee, he established a public recreational reserve on site called Queens Park.
While the crops are long gone, remnants of this early park within the Gardens include: the iron gates atop stone walls made from the demolition of the dreaded Petrie Terrace Gaol in the mid 1860’s, an ornate drinking fountain (the first public one in Brisbane) designed in 1867 by colonial architect Charles Tiffin and later dedicated to Walter Hill, the old Curator’s Cottage (1905) which is now a kiosk, the old bear pit shelter (1905) from the days up until 1958 of the park’s zoo and the old band pavilion (1878).
Plantings from Walter Hill’s 19th century include the iconic bunya pine and fig avenues, Fern Island, the 1858 planted macadamia and tamarind trees and 1862 planted dragon trees, all believed to have been amongst the first of their species to arrive on our shores.
Meantime, remnants of the site’s original native vegetation, majestic blue gums, can still be found along the river.
For young children there’s a well-shaded playground down by the river inside the Edward St entrance (note the circular road outside built for trolley buses to turn) and an ornamental duck pond a crouton’s throw away past the Royal Cuban Palm circle.
Those after a guided walk can either meet inside the Alice St gates at the rotunda Mondays to Saturdays at 11am or 1pm (a one hour tour) or pick up a BCC map from the same rotunda with the highlights numbered for a self-guided walk.
City Botanic Gardens
Gardens Pt Ferry Terminal
Riverside Ferry Terminal