Work has begun on the recreation of a Gothic fernery at Ballarat Botanical Gardens.
The mayor Cr Ben Taylor was on hand for the turning of the first sod in a project that will see the entrance of the Batten Fernery - built in the 1880s and 1890s - recreated for a new generation.
The works had been delayed for several months due to protracted discussions with Heritage Victoria.
The original fernery fell into disuse as there was not enough light for some plant species to thrive.
Demolition began in May last year on a temporary replacement structure built in the 1950s.
Discussions of the fernery's future had been taking place for almost two decades. The plans have gone through several incarnations including a more modern take, until the current 'Gothic fantasy' designs were confirmed.
Around $4m of funding was originally hoped for, but neither state nor federal government contributed.
The City of Ballarat is fully funding this stage of the project.
This part of the reconstruction is costing $1.2 million and was designed by the architect Andrew Fedorowicz.
The builder for the project is Ballarat-based Resicare Builders. Two other local businesses are involved:.Plinius Engineering, which will provide the steel structure required, and Whiteheads Timber, which will supply the wood.
Funding for works on the remaining part of the fernery - which will contain the plants - has not been secured.
March 2016:Ballarat's fernery set for redevelopment
October 2019: Victorian fernery returns to Ballarat Botanical Gardens
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