Places of Interest - all within 10kms from the Priory
Autumn's golden carpet beside the old swimming baths
Buninyong Botanic Gardens
LocationCnr. Scott and Inglis Streets, Buninyong. The Gardens cover the blocks bounded by Scott, Inglis, Fisken and Yuille Streets. The Upper and Lower Gardens are separated by an embankment running along Cornish Street. See Map of Buninyong.
Autumn is gorgeous in our Gardens, and they were featured on the ABC TV weather report in 2011. The beautiful old trees also make a shady retreat over summer and there is a very pleasant walk around the Gong whatever the season.
The Buninyong Botanic Gardens are among the oldest in the State. In 1859 the first Buninyong Municipal Council reserved an area of 10 acres for the Botanical Gardens. The original plan of 1861 showed walks and bridges, fencing and gates and a proposal for bathing facilities. In 1872 Conrad Fegbeitel, a German immigrant, was appointed Curator for the Gardens and Superintendent of the Baths. The famous Ferdinand Von Mueller from the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, the curators of Ballarat and Geelong Gardens, the State Nursery at Creswick and local nurserymen all donated specimens of trees and plants. Following a devastating fire in 1876, the capacity of the Gong reservoir was greatly increased in order to ensure an adequate water supply in the event of another fire.
The Main Gardens consist of an Upper and Lower Section. The Upper Gardens centre around "The Gong", a small lake which is encompassed by a walking path. The ground to the North and East rises steeply to the Roman Catholic Church of St. Peter and Pauls. On these slopes there is a scattering of introduced European trees. This area has been recently developed with specimen trees of the Maple family (Acer species).
The picturesque Lower Section of the Botanic Gardens contains an historic Victorian Rotunda, an old walled Swimming Pool (since converted to a garden area), an ornamental pool with an island, and a variety of exotic labelled specimen trees and shrubs. There are also toilets, a barbecue area and play equipment.
In 1990 the Old Sandstone Courthouse and its immediate surroundings were added to the Gardens Reserves. An area in the southwest has been excised to the Buninyong Bowling Club.
The gardens became a popular wayside stop for travellers and picnickers who came by train from Ballarat for a day's outing to admire the 'hilly picturesque countryside' and the ornamental trees and flowering shrubs. The railway era was the heyday of the Buninyong Botanical Gardens. The service ended in 1937 and the track was dismantled in 1947.
Information on the history of the Gardens supplied by Beth Ritchie and Derick Leather,Buninyong & District Historical Society
Lake Wendouree is an artificially created and maintained shallow urban lake. Since 1864, when a rowing course was first cut through the reedy swamp, it has been carefully nurtured by council and public spirited citizens. There is probably no better example in our country of such a well-used lake which strikes a balance between a myriad of potentially conflicting interests.
The Lake has universal appeal -
The Lake has universal appeal -
- As an urban oasis for passive recreation it can provide solitude to refresh the soul with its tranquillity and ever-changing light on the water.
- The mature trees provide shade and a magnificent treeline across the water.
- There is always someone walking a dog or jogging around the lake.
- It is a healthy and biodiverse ecosystem which provides habitat and island sanctuaries for wildlife.
- Anglers, bird watchers and groups engaged in environmental science field studies in Fairyland can enjoy rewarding experiences.
- The rowers, sailors, canoeists, sail boarders and those just messing about in boats all enhance the visual richness of this beautiful stretch of water.
- Paddle steamers, vintage trams, bicycles and cars transport people to their favourite spots without destroying the ambience of the lake.
- The lake can be walked taking the avearge walker around an hour to complete.
The Walking Track...
Ballarat Botanical Gardens
- The Ballarat Botanical Gardens covers 40 hectares divided into three distinct zones - the central Botanical Gardens which preserves the 'gardenesque' style of the Victorian pleasure garden, and open parkland buffers on either side are known as the North and South Gardens.
The Ballarat Botanical Gardens is one of Australias most significant cool climate gardens, containing a remarkable collection of mature trees and marble statues set among colourful bedding displays. Located on the western shore of Lake Wendouree, approximately 4km from Ballarat CBD, the Gardens is an invaluable heritage and recreational resource.
Prime Ministers Avenue: The Prime Ministers Avenue is a feature of national significance. It is a collection of busts Australian Prime Ministers set in the magnificent Horse Chestnut Avenue of the Gardens.
The collection includes a portrait of one of the founding fathers of Federation, Alfred Deakin, who was the first Federal Member for Ballarat and the second Prime Minister.
The Prime Ministers are displayed as bronze portraits mounted on polished granite pedestals.
Statues in the Gardens: Wealthy Ballarat citizen, Thomas Stoddart, bought 12 marble statues during a visit to Carrara in Italy and gave them, together with Sicilian marble pedestals, to the citizens of Ballarat. The statues were unveiled by the Governor of Victoria in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens on Empire Day 1884, with thousands of spectators travelling from Melbourne.
In 1888, a second collection of statuary was bought for the Gardens following a bequest from another Ballarat citizen, James Russell Thompson. This consists of five large marble statues which are housed in the Statuary Pavilion, and a large statue of the Scottish hero, William Wallace, which greets visitors at the entrance to the Gardens.
Significant Trees: The Ballarat Botanical Gardens has 52 mature trees listed on the National Trust Significant Trees Register and has many fine specimens of mature conifers, deciduous and native trees.
Habitats: The islands and channels of Lake Wendouree and the North Gardens Wetland provide a range of habitats for native and introduced fish, birds and mammals.
Diversity: The thematic collections of ferns, grasses and indigenous plants complement the display beds of bedding plants, roses, rockery and woodland plants. The Sensory Garden provides interactive experiences. The Conservatory displays floral crops that have been bred by plant collectors and hybridists to a stage that many will not survive in an open environment.
Facilities ... Parking
Parking is available along Wendouree Parade or Gillies Street. Ample parking is available for buses in Wendouree Parade near the North Gardens toilets and Pipers on the Parade restaurant.
Public toilets are located at either end of the Botanical Gardens.