Cultural Heritage Significance

City Botanic Gardens heritage significance has many aspects. The oldest botanic garden in Queensland is located in Brisbane’s central city. Originally called the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, it was established in 1855. It was among the first places to be listed under the Queensland State heritage legislation back in 1989 and one of the few non-buildings to be included.

Scroll down for a list of Artworks contained within the City Botanic Gardens.

Walter Hill Drinking Fountain topknot
Walter Hill Drinking Fountain (built 1867) and bamboo surrounds


The current citation of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens to the Queensland Heritage Register has many points of cultural heritage significance (6 out of a possible 8 criteria) and they read as follows:

Criterion A The place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

“The Brisbane Botanic Gardens are historically important as the most significant, non-Aboriginal cultural landscape in Queensland, having a continuous horticultural history since 1828, without any significant loss of land area or change in use over that time. It remains the premier public park and recreational facility for the capital of Queensland, which role it has performed since the early 1840s.”

Criterion B The place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

“Plant collections date to the 1850s, many having been planted by Walter Hill, the first Director of the Botanic Gardens. Many of the specimens are either rare in cultivation or of great maturity or both. Many important plant introductions to Queensland, of both an agricultural and ornamental nature, can be traced directly to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and the work of its early curators.”

Criterion D The place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

“These gardens are important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of an evolving public and botanical garden dating from the mid-19th century, containing the most extensive mature gardens in Queensland. There are a number of historic structures in the gardens, including the Walter Hill Drinking Fountain (1867), the former band pavilion (1878), the boundary stone walls, gates and cast iron railings (1865-85), the former bear pit shelter (1905), the former curator’s residence (1909) [now the kiosk], the riverwall from Edward Street to the Domain (1918), the southern stone staircase on the riverbank (1918-19) and the middle and northern stone staircases (both 1923-24). The place also contains a number of historically significant early engineering projects, including the stormwater drainage system (1865 onwards), reticulated water supply from Enoggera Dam (1867) and underground electricity supply for lighting purposes (1907).”

Criterion E The place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

“The Brisbane Botanic Gardens are significant as a Brisbane landmark and for their visual amenity and natural wildlife values as the major verdant landscaped area in the city’s central business district.”

Criterion G The place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

“Many important social events have taken place within the gardens, and the place is generally held in high regard by the local community and is a popular destination for visitors to Brisbane.”

Criterion H The place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

“The place has a special association with the pioneering work of curators Walter Hill (1855-81), Philip MacMahon (1886-1905), JF Bailey (1905-1917) and Ernest Walter Bick (1917-1939).”

[SOURCE: Significance section, online citation for Brisbane Botanic Gardens, site Number 600067, accessed 28 April 2017; ]



There are several sculptural works in the City Botanic Gardens, including:

Sculpture: Walter Hill [Drinking] Fountain: (1867) by Charles Tiffin (Colonial Architect)

Sculpture: Japanese Stone Lantern: [relic only on site] (1938) unknown Japanese source

Sculpture: Jemmy and the Brolgas: (?1960s) by Lindsay Daen (Qld) formerly located adjacent Qld Art Gallery

Sculpture: Morning Star II: (1988) by Jon Barlow Hudson (USA)

Sculpture: The Building Blocks of Life:  (1988) by Anton Bruinsma (Qld)

Sculpture: Plant Form: (1988) by Robert Juniper (Australian)

Sculpture: Hibiscus Garden Sundial Pedestal: (1994) by Rob & Rhyl Hinwood (Qld)

Sculptural seat: brass lovers’ seat By whom? when

Sculptural drinking fountain: By whom? when

Sculpture: Kangaroo By whom? when [has this been relocated to MCBG?]

Rocks in Domain By whom? when

Flood Marker [1974+] By whom? when

Walter Hill Drinking Fountain
Walter Hill Drinking Fountain (Photo 2004 JCRS)
"Jemmy and the Brolgas"
“Jemmy and the Brolgas” (Photo 2004 D Edmonds)
 "Plant" (Photo 2004 S Mastrodomenico)
“Plant” (Photo 2004 S Mastrodomenico)
 Sundial plinth (Photo 2004 D Edmonds)
Sundial plinth (Photo 2004 D Edmonds)
Japanese Lantern (Sunday Mail 1977)
LOST ART: Japanese Lantern (Sunday Mail 1977)
 "Morning Star" (Photo 2004 A Allen)
“Morning Star” (Photo 2004 A Allen)
Loveseat (Photo 2004 JCRS)
Loveseat (Photo 2004 JCRS)
Kangaroo (Photo 2004 D Edmonds)
Kangaroo (Photo 2004 D Edmonds)

Brisbane City Council has some exciting public art information pages. Start here: PUBLIC ART in BRISBANE