THE Ballarat Botanical Gardens Fernery is set to undergo a major redevelopment.
The project was officially launched on Friday evening giving guests the opportunity to hear about what changes will be made to the facility as part of the upgrade.
The City of Ballarat has already provided a $1.4 million grant for the project, with a fundraising campaign now underway to see the project fully completed.
Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens redevelopment convener Elizabeth Gilfilan said the event was a big milestone on the way to redeveloping the fernery.
“(The redevelopment) will not be copying the past, it will be looking to the future, it will highlight sustainability and environmental issues,” she said. “It will give an opportunity for education and public awareness.
“Garden tourism is one of the fastest growing tourism activities in the world.”
Ms Gilfillian said the fernery had been derelict for at least 20 years.
“We have been working through that whole period to highlight it to council just how important it is to have this part of the gardens revitalised from a tourism perspective and an educational perspective.”
Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens president Raoul Dixon said the important thing to acknowledge is that it was not just a fernery.
“It will have a whole range of other features, and will have broad appeal right through from children to adults. It will be a major feature of not just this botanical garden, but any botanical gardens,” he said.
“We think it will be a feature that will make the Ballarat Botanical Gardens the best of any botanical gardens in any regional city in Australia.”
Laidlaw & Laidlaw Designed has been appointed as the landscape architect for the project.
“Fernery structures on a very grand scale were common in 19th century gardens and Ballarat Botanical Gardens is fortunate to be one of the few which will revive this tradition,” Andrew Laidlaw said.
“These structures were not just about housing plants, they were about providing an overall experience for the visitors. Often the structures were architecturally exciting and a strong focal point in the landscape.
“Together the architecture and plants created the experience. We are very honoured to be part of the redevelopment of Ballarat’s fernery and believe we can create a wild and inspiring space which excites people of all walks of life about plants.”
The Ballarat Botanical Gardens Trust Fund is now undertaking a public fundraising campaign with deductible donations from individuals and organisations welcome.