Project overview

The Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens is a significant destination in Hepburn Shire. The well-loved gardens are a popular site for visitors to Daylesford, and are also enjoyed by our community.

Works are underway on a major project to enhance the visitor experience within the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens.

The works focus on the central precinct of the main arrival point and activity hub.

The central precinct features large lawn areas, established trees and gardens, and commanding views across the heritage-listed landscape. It also contains major attractions, including the Pioneer Memorial Tower (temporarily closed to the public) and Cascades – a water feature dating from the early development of the garden.

Adapting these features to new uses and current standards will fully capitalise on the natural and designed beauty of the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens.

The works will be carried out through to November 2022.

Investing in the botanic gardens

The project will be a co-funded cooperative between Regional Development Victoria, Friends of Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens and Hepburn Shire Council.

The State Government will contribute $500,000, the Friends of Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens will invest $200,000 and Hepburn Shire will contribute $188,000 as well as manage the project.

Ensuring that both the conservation and the heritage values of the gardens are maintained, the project aims to reinvigorate the Botanic Gardens through landscaping, restoration of unique infrastructure and improvement to amenities to enhance the visiting experience.

Project features

The Project will deliver the following:

  • More accessible pathways and steps
  • Improvements to the Alf Headland Conservatory
  • Improvements to the forecourt of the Pioneer Memorial Tower and day basin
  • Refurbishment to the day basin and fernery cascade waterfall
  • Restoration of the amenities block.

All works are based on the master plan for the gardens, and will create a dynamic, engaging tourist attraction, responsive to both the history and stories of the place and 21st century expectations of a botanic garden.

Creating more accessible pathways and steps - complete

We have installed a new formal stairway from the main entry road to the existing stone and gravel stairs west of the fern grove. This has improved pedestrian access from the main entry to the gardens, connections to the cascades to the east and further connections west of the Alf Headland Conservatory and Wombat Hill House café.

Improvements to the Alf Headland Conservatory - underway

We will refurbish the existing conservatory with new glass to improve the functionality and safety of the glasshouse so that it can house more and different botanical displays.

Improvements to the forecourt of the Pioneer Memorial Tower and day basin - underway

We will create a forecourt to the Pioneer Memorial Tower and day basin as a central arrival point to the garden. This will include installation of new paving and feature planting in keeping with the existing materials palette of the garden. The day basin will be integrated into the surrounding landscape.

Refurbishment to the day basin and fernery cascade waterfall - underway

Restore the existing cascade and day basin connections, creating a new water feature. The day basin will be restored, with the possible introduction of a rill to create the illusion of a water connection to the existing portion of the cascade.

Restoration of the amenities block - underway

The heritage façade of the amenities block will be retained, and the toilet block will be improved to meet current hygiene and access standards. The new structure will be sensitively designed to complement the heritage façade.

People standing on new stairs at the gardens

Minister Mary-Anne Thomas MP with Councillors, Council staff and members of Friends of Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens at the newly constructed stairs in March 2022.

Charles at work building the stone steps

Charles at work building a formal stone stairway from the main entrance of the botanic gardens in December 2021.

Contact Us

Have questions or want to learn more about this project, contact our Project Manager:

Name Daniel Owe-Young
Email doweyoung@hepburn.vic.gov.au