Directory of Australian Botanic Gardens
This directory of botanic gardens has grown considerably since it started life as a telephone list on my home computer. The International Directory of Botanic Gardens (1990), edited by Christine and Vernon Heywood and Peter Wyse Jackson was the starting point, but it contained only the major gardens. There was an obvious need for some publication to facilitate communication between the various smaller botanic gardens, in some cases to make other gardens aware of their existence. The number of botanic gardens in Australia was a surprise to me, and I am sure to many others.
The Directory is endorsed by the Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens (CHABG) representing the Directors of the major botanic gardens in Australia, and the latest edition is included and regularly updated on their internet site at: http://www.anbg.gov.au/chabg
The first edition of the Directory was published in August 1992 with a print run of 200 copies. lt contained addresses and basic information on 94 gardens. The second edition of the Directory was published in November 1994 in response to demand and the number of new gardens we 'discovered'. It included information on staff and volunteer numbers and an indication of the % of native Australian plants in their collections. It contained 109 gardens.
This third edition, with 121 gardens, has taken account of the rapid growth of electronic communication in the last few years with email addresses and internet sites. We have also included some basic information on the major herbaria in Australia.
We attempted to ascertain what percentage of the living collections in each garden was vouchered (i.e. with a matching herbarium specimen lodged in a reputable scientific institution to verify the name used in the garden). The unfamiliarity with this term and concept by many respondents to our questionnaire has meant that this entry in the Directory may not always reflect the true state of affairs for some smaller gardens.
The request for gardens to nominate any 'special' collection that they held resulted in a range of interpretations and perhaps obvious omissions. We have not attempted to elaborate on the responses. The major Ornamental Plant Collections Association (OPCA) collections are included.
Most of the work for this third edition (and later web editions) of the Directory has been undertaken by Jan Wilson, then Photograph Curator at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, who followed up the general questionnaire sent to all the gardens with many personal phone calls and emails to check and clarify information.
While earlier editions were produced in a word processing program, the information was then maintained by Jan in FileMaker Pro, running on a Macintosh computer. The first web edition of the Directory is generated directly from that database. While some layout capabilities have been reduced, the ease of maintaining and manipulating the data is enhanced.
There are many botanic gardens and arboreta in this edition which did not appear in the last edition. This reflects both a continuing interest in establishing botanic gardens and our 'discovery' of gardens that we did not know existed.
Given the way the Directory has arisen, we make no claim to the status of the botanic gardens or arboreta listed. This Directory in no way attempts to endorse those gardens listed, nor to give the status of 'botanic garden' to any of the gardens included.
The main aim in preparing and circulating this Directory is to facilitate greater communication and cooperation between botanic gardens and kindred institutions throughout Australia. The ANBG sees this as a legitimate role for the 'national' institution, just as our parent body, Environment Australia, plays its part in facilitating greater cooperation and communication between the various State and Territorial conservation agencies and the parks and reserves that they control.
We have deliberately not attempted to make this a glossy publication but one that can be readily updated and reissued from time to time. We expect and hope that it will become dog-eared and annotated as communication between gardens increases. New editions will depend on new information or alterations being sent to us don't put off sending it until you have time to write a letter, just photocopy the page with the alteration and post or fax it to Murray Fagg at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.
Manager, Botanical Information
Australian National Botanic Gardens