OF THE WELLINGTON BOTANIC GARDEN
FOUNDED 20TH OCTOBER 1868
HISTORY AND HERITAGE
To mark this event several publications have been prepared to record its story. They are in pdf format to download from the Friends web site and view on your computer. Instructions are included to print if required, also binding formatting requirements.
The Shepherd and Cook garden history
was completed in the early 1980s.
They are available AT
on link to download file, then save to your computer
for future reference, and to save additional
Files have been prepared for computer/web
The publications are
The 13 acre reserve (AKA Main Garden)
A basically chronological record of its
This publication comprises 44 pages and over 60 graphic files, photos, maps etc.
It focusses on the physical development of the site, and the significant land modification that has taken place. The original site was split by the deep, heavily vegetated Pipitea Stream which ran through the valley floor, and which was initially bridged by culverts to have access to the best areas, before finally being piped and filled in with material from what became Magpie Lawn. Extensive earthworks were also undertaken to develop the Sound Shell Lawn, and the area around the Mairiri Road Entrance.
From high ridges to more moderate slopes, deep steeply sided naturally bush clothed gullies eroded from the valley floor, and what limited flat land there was tended to be very wet, especially in the winter, this has been transformed over the last 150 years to what we see and enjoy today. Trees and plants have changed over the years, but with historic specimens still present, and facilities improved.
Apart from Pinus radiata, the introduction of the plants and trees which formed a central part of the initial operation of the garden has not been covered, as it would require a publication of its own.
The development of this area is a fascinating one, and this comprehensive review covers many aspects over its 150 years of existence, from the very earliest days before it became a garden, to now.
Initially it was described as a Colonial Garden, established by the then Government for the benefit of the whole country. It was only in 1891 when the Wellington City Council took over its management did it become a true 'Wellington' garden, and become available for recreational use by the citizens of this city.
Author P C Tomlinson
THE DIRECTORS' LEGACY
http://www.friendswbg.org.nz/books/directorslegacy.pdf CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Focussing on the various directors of the garden over the years, and the legacy they have left for us all to enjoy.
This comprehensive publication covered both
the 13 acre reserve/Main Garden and the later added
It comprises some 12 pages, with some 170
illustrations. It reviews what the area was like
before the garden was developed, and the main work
done to produce what we see today. The
publication looks at the work of all the various
directors, curators, managers that have worked on the
garden, plus some other important individuals who have
left their mark on the landscape.
This publication looks at the history of the
Wellington Botanic Garden, or rather the major events
associated with the directors, keepers, managers,
curators, etc. over the years, and the legacy they
It is easy to forget that the garden we see
today is very different from what existed 150 years
ago. We often forget that the site has been
significantly altered as part of its
development. The main land modifications have
- Around 1882-84 the levelling of the area we now know as the Sound Shell Lawn. The cutting of the bank under Dray Road (now Buchanan Way) and the building of the bank along William Bramley Drive, to provide a flat area, not the moderately steep slope that originally existed.
- November 1906 clearing of vegetation and installing drainage prior to filling Honeymans Gully under Anderson Park to create a sports ground. Gully south of Anderson Park remains.
- 1907 the Mariri Road entrance was cleared of pines and the area significantly re-contoured.
- From 1927 to 1930 the Pipitea Stream running for most of the length of Glenmore Street was cleared of vegetation, and the
stream was piped. The area was then filled by spoil from what was to become Magpie Lawn. The stream through the Duck Pond was rerouted.
- From 1931 to 1934 demolition of the western ridge to its present level and filling the southern end of Honeymans Gully and laying extensive storm water drains took place. The level of Anderson Park was raised to conform with that of the new extension. The new land was used for extra sports fields until, with Anderson Park, it became the site of an American Marine Camp during the Second World War. After the war it was restored and used as a sports ground until the building of the Lady Norwood Rose Garden from 1951.
- During 2016-17 to allow the construction of the Children's Garden (now Discovery Garden) extensive eartworks were undertaken to the site for the new garden and provide the building platform and terraced garden area.
We look at these developments, and other changes which have altered the Wellington Botanic Garden over the last 150 years, providing the features we enjoy so much today.
Author P C Tomlinson
http://friendswbg.org.nz/books/northerndevelopment.pdf CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
This publication owes its origin to two planned walks for the 150th Anniversary events, covering the Anderson Park, rose garden and herb garden area, and secondly the establishment of the peace gardens in the area. 37 pages, over 60 images
This area was subjected to major land modification to achieve the current flat areas and is now the most visited area in the garden. The story of the area focuses on this activity.
In addition to the normal text and illustrations, it also includes copies of some newspaper reports of some human interest features.
A PHOTO ESSAY
http://www.friendswbg.org.nz/books/WATERFEATURES.pdf CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Water has played a major factor in the development of the character of the WBG site and has provided many of the most appreciated attractions we now enjoy.
This publication looks at these features, and includes many images, both historic and modern.
It presents some serious views, but primarily is a bit of fun
29 pages, over 55 graphic illustrations
pulsation looks aspects of the garden not
covered elsewhere in this series.
miscellany.pdf click to download
Maps and Plans
A selection of maps and plans appropriate to the
garden, showing changes over the years.
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
preparation of the above publications, a number of
plans and maps of the garden were obtained.
The story of the fete held in 1912, and the special post office operating in the garden
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Duthie published in the Friends Newsletter some
notes on this interesting and historic event.
This publication expands on that article.
fete was a community effort which attracted
large crowds. A special feature was a post
office in the garden, where postcards bearing a
'botanic garden' cachet was applied as a
special feature. Only one of these
postcards has survived, and this tells the story
of that card and what else was provided to
entertain visitors, and encourage them to open
interesting piece of history that has not been
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Nearly 100 postcards are illustrated, plus some 40 images from his own photographs, plus some others.
This is an excellent view of the Garden from its earliest years, and a fitting production for the forthcoming 150 year anniversary.
GARDEN PEOPLE FROM THE WELLINGTON BOTANIC GARDEN
Many people have been closely involved in this garden,
especially in its formative years. Here their stories are told.
(Files in part updated 20 June 2019)
A PRESENTATION OF THE HISTORY OF THE GARDEN, IN PDF FORM,
FROM A PowerPoint PRESENTATION
ALL PUBLICATIONS ARE FREE
All are fully illustrated, and contain much new material and information not generally known about the development of the areas.
Information on the
plant introductions are not covered at this
stage, apart from Pinus