TIMELINE for City Botanic Gardens
Going back time… an illustrated selection of major events, plants, places and people. There are 57 items so far dating back to 1823!
Another way to find out information is to use the SEARCH function at the top of the page.
It is a wonderfully clever little beastie and fun to play with! For instance, type in “Walter Hill” or “Harriet” and see what happens!
How to operate this timeline: click on the year and the relevant entry is made clear. Click on the entry image and you can see more and read more.
Master Plan for City Botanic GardensConcurrently with the preparation of the Master Plan was the preparation of a Conservation Management Plan (as yet unpublished). DOWNLOAD the PDF document from here >>> https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/planning-building/planning-guidelines-tools/city-centre-master-plan/city-making-moves/city-botanic-gardens-master-plan
Cannon Returns!In 2015, one of the original Battery was reinstalled at the top of the riverbank pointing at the Naval Stores at Kangaroo Point! This cannon was cast in 1803 and is therefore the oldest entity in the botanic gardens. Photos … Read More
Visitor mapCurrent Visitor Map produced by Brisbane City Council as part of their brochure “City Botanic Gardens Experience Guide”.
Flood Event 2011Another major flood event in January 2011 impacted the botanic gardens again. While the lower sections were inundated, overland flow of storm water eroded the slopes of Residence Hill as well. With thanks to Nearmap for use of this aerial … Read More
Sesquicentenary means 150 years!In 2005 we celebrated 150 years of the Old Brisbane Botanic Gardens in the city. One major event was a much loved exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane that included a virtual bush house in the adjacent courtyard designed by … Read More
Redevelopment City Botanic GardensThe redevelopment of the CBG extended over 1986-87 and was officially opened by Lord Mayor Sallyanne Atkinson in November 1987. This is the published visitor guide map.
Gardens Point StudyIn 1984, landscape architect and QIT lecturer Catherin Bull headed a student group investigating the future uses and form of the whole of Gardens Point. The former Domain being contested as potential future QIT development land. This is the Preferred … Read More
Flood event 1974In January 1974, the City Botanic Gardens was inundated as was so much of low-lying BrIsbane. This is the BCC official flood map.
Caulfield inside Greenhouse1969Harold Caulfield inspecting the bromeliad collection in 1969. (Source BCC B54-32067)
Catalogue of PlantsHarry Caulfield compiles and publishes a new Catalogue in 1962.
Oakman LagoonHarry Oakman redesigned the western end of Queens Park in 1959 after the closure of the zoo the previous year. Regrading the land from the late 19th century rigid terraces and banks, the result was a return to the gradual … Read More
New Edward Street TurnaroundIn 1958, Council inserted an extension of Edward Street into the City Botanic Gardens to create this turnaround. The old Edward Street gates were removed and were partially rebuilt and repositioned in their current location. (Source: SLQ/JOL 157553)
Harold Caulfield (Curator 1956-1980)Harry Caulfield (1918-1994) replaced Jack Bailey as Curator in 1956. He went on to be Curator of Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. This portrait taken in 1969. (Source: BCC B54-32068)
New Orchestral Shell1953In 1953 the Queensland Symphony Orchestra performed in the new Shell in the CBG (Source: BCC B54-2525 and B54-3786)
Harry Oakman (Landscape Architect and Parks Director 1947-1963)Harry Oakman (1906-2002) was the first landscape architect appointed to any government in Queensland. He soon headed up the revitalised Department of Parks within the Brisbane City Council and was designing improvements to many existing parks and establishing new ones. … Read More
John Rayer Bailey (Curator 1946-1956)Jack Bailey (1914-1956) was appointed Curator in 1946 and passed way in only 1956. He was the son of JF Bailey. (Source: BCC-B120-31105)
World War 2 invasion of CBGFrom 1942, the Royal Australian Navy located their Reserve Training unit in the Domain and the CBG. While the Domain was colonised by temporary huts, the Curator’s residence was commandeered as an Officer’s Mess and the Wave’s were billeted in … Read More
Gentle Harriet, Giant Galapagos TortoiseThe most amazing contribution to the zoological collection was a pair of Galapagos Tortoises (probably born 1830) originally owned by Charles Darwin and collected in 1835. One source has the delivery of these animals in 1939 but the true date … Read More
Gardens Point AerialAerial view of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens at Gardens Point 1937 (Source: JOL 207309)
Japanese LanternsIn 1937, Bick received as a thanks for sending several animals to a Japanese zoo, a pair of Japanese stone lanterns. They were located near the Lotus pond for many years. Only the base of one remains in position. This … Read More
Bick’s Circle of PalmsE.W. Bick was curator when the dredging of Gardens Point took place in the 1910s. Queens Park field was leveled with some of this earth and he planted the distinctive Circle of Palms (using Roystonea regia, the Cuban royal palm) … Read More
World War 1 fund raisingIn 1917-1918 there was a temporary amusement area set up within the gardens to raise funds to support the war effort. It was called the Allies City. (Source SLQ/JOL 24269)
Ernest Walter Bick (Curator 1917-1940)E W Bick (1870-1949) was appointed Curator in 1917 and remained there until retirement in 1940. Bick was previously Head Gardener at the new Government House at Paddington. (Source: BCC-A262)
Botanical MuseumIn 1914, a separate Botanical Museum was erected to house the Queensland Herbarium. (Source: QSW 135L-2-1)
Third KioskThis kiosk was built in 1911 and located near the former OGH boundary (near the present-day B Block of QUT). It was demolished in 1973 instead of being repaired. (Source: SLQ/JOL 61288)
Third Curator’s ResidenceA new residence was designed by the Qld Government Architect in 1909 with improvements in 1917. It was converted into a restaurant in the 1986-87 redevelopment. (Source QSW 135E-2-1)
Standard Bench SeatIn 1908, 200 new seats were created for the Botanic Gardens. One ended up at the new Government House in Paddington at Fernberg House! (QSW 135D-2-1)
John Frederick Bailey (Curator 1905-1917)JF Bailey (1866-1938) was appointed Curator in 1905 and resigned to go to Adelaide Botanic Garden in 1917. Bailey also held the position of Government Botanist as had his father FM Bailey (between 1880-1915). (Source: BCC-B120-31103)
Second KioskThe second kiosk was erected in 1902 but burnt down in 1910 because they could not get a water hose long enough from the Alice Street hydrant! (Source SLQ/JOL 168878 and looking towards the Big Fig BCC A445-1)
Second BandstandIn 1900 a new bandstand was erected at the base of Residence Hill. (Source: SLQ/JOL 24279)
First KioskThe first kiosk was erected in 1897 and extended soon after. (Source: SLQ/JOL 94128)
Flood covers Queen’s Park in 1890 and 1893This view from the roof of Parliament House shows the extent of flooding. (Source: JOL123117)
Flood Map 1893MacMahon prepared this map of the water depths comparing 1890 and 1893 floods.
MacMahon’s Coralstone FountainMacMahon designed and built this rustic ornamental fountain using local coralstone from St Helena Island in Moreton Bay and giant clam shells from the Great Barrier Reef. (Source SLQ/JOl 23959)
Bush HouseMacMahon redesigned the large Bush House or Fernery in 1890. Bush Houses are important components of Tropicalia. This shady world of all sorts of ferns, epiphytic plants and more was extremely popular with visitors and staff alike.This undated print from … Read More
Philip MacMahon (Curator 1889-1905)Philip MacMahon (1857-1911) was appointed Curator in 1889 and resigned to head up the Qld Forestry Department in 1905. (Source: SLQ/JOL 94328)
Alexander Cowan (Head Gardener 1886-1889)Alexander Cowan was appointed as Head Gardner in 1886 and left in 1889. Image dated August 1886 (Source: BCC-B120-31101)
Tennis Anyone?Queensland Club tennis court in the botanic gardens in Brisbane ca. 1885 (Source SLQ/JOL169085)
Queen’s Park vistaThe vista from the roof of Queensland Parliament House was photographed several times. This one is dated 1884 (Source: NLA10638277-11-v)
James Pink (Head Gardener 1881-1886)James Pink (c.1836-1923) was appointed Head Gardener in 1881 and left in 1886. (Source: BCC-B120-31100)
Frederick Manson Bailey (Government Botanist 1881-1915)FM Bailey replaced Walter Hill as the official Government Botanist in 1881. He compiled the Flora of Queensland and trained son JF Bailey and grandson CT White as botanists who followed him as Government Botanists. (Source: BCC-B120-17941)
Gardens Point FerryThe public ferry landing was erected in 1879 and allowed commuters to live on the southside and work in the city. Photo taken 1882 (Source SLQ/JOL 57383)
First Band PavilionThis pavilion was erected in 1878 and designed by Government Architect FDG Stanley. This simple structure still exists and is used as a shelter in the Rainforest Garden area. (Source QWS 126-2-1)
First Greenhouse was a Glass ConservatoryCompleted in 1877, this ornate vaulted glasshouse was designed by FDG Stanley the Government Architect and located adjacent the current lily ponds near the Rainforest Garden. By the 1890s the vaulted roof was replaced with a mansard shape. It was … Read More
First Plant CatalogueAfter several attempts, Walter Hill compiled and published the first Catalogue in 1875. Catalogues were distributed far and wide and distant Botanic Gardens could barter/exchange seeds/cuttings. It was common practice among the British Imperial network of BGs.
Drinking Fountain connected to Enoggera DamIn 1867, the completion of the engineering feat of the Enoggera Dam was marked by the erection of this Drinking Fountain designed by Charles Tiffin, the Government Architect. The new facility which offered visitors clean water sourced back to the … Read More
Fern IslandFern Island sometimes called Bamboo Island because of the encircling bamboos was designed and created by Walter Hill before Ham’s 1863 map. This photo taken in 1867 (Source SLQ/JOL 89074 and 100082)
Fencing along Alice StreetIn 1865 the Alice Street boundary was demarcated with an ornamental cast iron fence atop a stone wall. As this area was still known as Queen’s Park, the rondels on the gates opposite Albert Street bear this name and the … Read More
Battery of gunsIn 1863, a Battery of 12 cannons was set up along the Queens Park riverbank. The 1862 working drawing for the Battery emplacement platforms, is perhaps the oldest drawing from Qld Works Department Plan Room and bears John Petrie’s signature … Read More
Walter Hill’s DesignThis is an extract from Ham’s Map published in 1863 shows the proposed layout of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. It matches the description in an interview published in the Moreton Bay Courier 23 August 1856, p.2.
Sugar crystalisesIn 1862 Walter Hill and former West Indian grower John Buhot, experiment with boiling up and crystalising sugar from the sugar cane grown in Queensland in the BBG. Previously sugar cane was grown as an effective garden fence/hedge.
Bunya pines1861Walter Hill planted a row of Araucaria bidwillii in about 1861. These distinctive native conifers grew in the Bunya Mountains (northwest of Brisbane) and were first seen by Tom Petrie (1831-1910) but botanist John Bidwill (1815-1853) first described the species … Read More
First Curator’s ResidenceCalled the Superintendent’s Cottage it was built in 1859 and also designed by Charles Tiffin the Government Architect. This view taken in 1870 and perhaps the two women featured are Mrs Hill and her daughter Anne. It was the mould … Read More
Walter Hill (first Director 1855-1880)1855In 1855, the Brisbane Botanic Gardens is established and Walter Hill (1820-1904) is appointed as the first Director (or Curator) of the BBG. (Source: SLQ/JOL 17483)
Moreton Bay Horticultural Society1853Moreton Bay Horticultural Society launched in 1853 and they lobby for a botanic gardens for Brisbane. In 1855 the Brisbane Botanic Gardens is established. This map shows extension to original reserve. (Source: QSA, Misc 84)
Oxley’s MapJohn Oxley’s 1823 Survey Map of the Brisbane River (Source: Gregory 1996 p. 1)