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 Home>Visitors and Tourism>The Benalla Botanical Gardens>Features of the Gardens  
Features of the Gardens  Printer Friendly

Benalla Art Gallery
The Benalla Art Gallery was constructed in 1975 following the donation by a local benefactor, Mr Laurie Ledger.  In return for the generous donation of 25 per cent of construction costs and his collection of fine Australian art, Mr Ledger was allowed by council to choose the gallery site and architect.
 
Weary Dunlop Statue
Colonel Sir Ernest Edward "Weary" Dunlop, AC, CMG, OBE (12 July 1907 – 2 July 1993) was local surgeon who was renowned for his leadership while being held prisoner by the Japanese during World War II.  The 1996 bronze sculpture was created by Mr Louis Laumen and represents POW surgeon Dunlop, tending a sick POW in Changi prison during World War 2.
 
The New Rose Garden
The Gardens’ renowned rose beds were completely redesigned.  A new central feature of the collection has now become a large ‘island’ of red roses which begins at Bridge Street and reaches well into the gardens.  It is a modern rose garden which over-lays the original 1886 Sangwell-designed path layout.  The central bed is shaped like an island, sited in a ‘billabong’ of lawn which together represent the original floodplain on which Benalla was built.  The roses have been grouped into plantings of individual species of David Austin, Australian, Modern Bush & Shrubs, Tea and Hybrid Musk Roses; plus the dedicated ‘City of Benalla’ rose.  Colored roses from the same ‘modern’ era (1920s onwards) a planted in species-groups, flanking the central red collection.
 
Heritage Rose Garden
This bed was designed by local landscape designer Robyn Saunders, and planted in 2009 to celebrate 50 year since the first plantings of roses in the Gardens were made in 1959 by the Benalla Apex Club.  The roses originate from 1830 to 1920, a period which hitherto was missing from the Gardens rose collection.  The roses are of various colors, country of origin and have been selected for their significant scent.  A central feature bed of succulents and ornamental grass connects the Heritage Rose Bed with the adjacent Mediterranean plantings.
 
Dr Nicholsonís Walk
This path is named after a local medico who used to walk around the river to his horse paddock.  Dr Nicholson became famous during the Ned Kelly siege when he was sent by special train to Glenrowan to tend the bushranger’s wounds.  Dr Nicholson successfully saved Ned in order for him to later meet his fate at the gallows.  The walk in memory of Dr Nicholson forms part of a four kilometre trail which winds its way around the lake.  Besides the gardens, the trail passes through stands of remnant River Red Gum and the Benalla Indigenous Community Garden.
 
The Cricket Oval
Before the Botanical Gardens were laid out during the 1880s, the area was thickly wooded.  A cricket ground was established in the 1860s and several years later it played host to a match between Australia and England.  Unfortunately the magnificent, original grandstand was demolished during the 1970s.  The oval is fringed by a wonderful ring of Elm Trees.
 
Rotunda
The Rotunda was built in 1911 in time to celebrate the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary.  During this era, the Botanical Gardens were a focal point for social gatherings in Benalla.  Private gardens were often dusty and lawn-less, so the communal gardens provided a green oasis for people to socialise or take a stroll.  Today the rotunda is regularly used for musical performances and even weddings.
 
Mediterranean Border
Running adjacent to the Bowls Club boundary of the Gardens is a mass border of species from mostly Mediterranean and similarly dry-climate origins.  A significant number of plants for this border were sourced as cuttings from gardens owned by Friends’ members.  Nearby the border are beds featuring several species of salvia – including donated varieties from the Geelong Botanical Gardens.
 
Perennial Border
Further around the oval, hugging the carriageway is a feature perennial bed funded and planted by the Friends in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.  Within this bed is a unique combination of exotic and native plants which flourish in Benalla’s harsh climate which sees summer temperatures over 40 and -5 degrees in winter. 
 
The New Zealand Bed
This bed was planted in 2002 and was designed to complement the modernist architecture of the gallery.  The bed features plants endemic to New Zealand. 
 
Significant Trees
The gardens were listed on the Register of the National Estate in 1995.  The gardens themselves contain rare and mature plants.  Three Ulmus viminalis are the only known elm trees of this species in Australia, and are listed on the National Trust’s Register of Significant Trees.  The elms are joined on the register by a large Flindersia australis (Crow’s Ash) which is a large, evergreen rainforest tree naturally found in NSW and QLD; plus two magnificent specimens of Eucalyptus leucoxylon (Yellow Gum).  Conifers and palms are dominant features of the gardens too, which contrast with the many deciduous varieties of oak, elm and plane trees.
 

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