Historical Background to the Gardens

The concept of the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens was born out of a need for a semi-arid land ‘botanic gardens’ brought to the attention of the Mildura Development Council in 1983, by three scientists from CSIRO. Further to this intervention, the concept was championed by the first female Mayor of Mildura, Kaye Gambetta.

Mayor Gambetta headed a Steering Committee that identified land allotments in Mildura District and Wentworth Shire that would be suitable for the purpose of creating a Botanic Garden. The Committee consisted of experts in Horticulture, Botany and meetings were held with representatives from soil, water, forestry and other related entities, including the Parks and Gardens officers from both the local council in Mildura as well as the one Wentworth Shire. Subsequent to site inspection by an acknowledged expert in 1984 the allotments in Mildura were rejected as unsuitable due to legal restrictions on land use and limited land extent. The land in Wentworth Shire was identified as more suitable and arrangements were made for the release of land.

Incorporated in Victoria on 15th January 1986, as a not-for-profit association and regulated by Consumer Affairs Victoria, the original name of the entity envisioned to spearhead this creation was ‘Sunraysia Oasis Botanical Gardens Inc’, registration no. A0007905N and the postal address was P O Box 2809, Mildura VIC 3502. The association subsequently obtained a registration in NSW to operate in this area.

In 1988, lessees Orm and Rob McLeod who had a grazing land lease from the New South Wales, Western Lands Commission, relinquished approximately 130ha of their leasehold for the purpose of creating a ‘botanic garden’. In 1989, a total land area of 150.1ha (inclusive of the above-mentioned land) was handed over for development to Sunraysia Oasis Botanical Gardens Inc, and development was facilitated by a handful of employees, supported by an able team of volunteers hailing from Wentworth and Mildura areas. These volunteers formed the ‘Friends of the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens’, an unincorporated entity currently functioning under the umbrella of this organization. The Gardens as it is referred to further in this report, officially opened to the public in 1992. Entrance is free.

Part of Crown Reserve no.230087 developed as a botanic garden by AIBG

The process of formalizing the status of the land released for the Gardens took a while longer, due to the need to survey and identify easements etc , and eventually on 29th April 1994, the Western Lands Commission by New South Wales Government Gazette no.62 created Crown Reserve no.230087 under the Crown Lands Act 1989 for the public purpose of heritage purposes. The total land area declared a Reserve was 150.1 ha and comprised of Lot nos. 1170 and 1171 D.P. 820161. At the same time the Crown Reserve Trust was created and the Secretary, Sunraysia Oasis Botanical Gardens Inc, P. O. Box 2809, Mildura VIC 3502 notified of their appointment as Managers to Crown Reserve no.230087. Hence, signifying clearly that this organization registered in Victoria in 1986, is the Crown Land Manager of Reserve no.230087.

On the same date, by the same Gazette notification, Crown Reserve no.230088 amounting to 3.226 hectares was created for the public purposes of public recreation and was initially managed by the Wentworth Shire Council. This land allotment is on the opposite side of River Road facing the Gardens.

Subsequently, on 5th December 1997 further to an official directive, Sunraysia Oasis Botanical Gardens Inc. changed its name to ‘Australian Inland Botanic Gardens Inc.’
(AIBG). On 21st December 2007, the change of name of the Crown Reserve Manager was formalized by New South Wales Government Gazette no.185. The public purpose remained as ‘heritage purposes’.

On 21st December 2007, the Wentworth Shire Council management of Crown Reserve no.230088 was dissolved. Subsequently, on 4th January 2008, by New South Wales Government Gazette Week No.1/2008 the management of the above-mentioned Crown Reserve no.230088 was formally passed on to the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens Inc. (AIBG). The public purpose of public recreation remained unchanged.

Today, AIBG, duly appointed a Crown Land Manager, manages both Crown Reserve nos.230087 and 230088 owned by the State Government of New South Wales, and continues development activities on the said Reserves in accordance with the specified purposes.

Reconstruction of the Magenta Woolshed after relocation from Magenta Station in Balranald
One of AIBG’s three heritage buildings

What People Say

A magical Garden, a tribute to all who work here.

Coonawarra, S.A.

Keep up the hard work.

Bellerive, TAS


Lyndoch, S.A.


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