There have been countless changes to Adelaide Botanic Garden since it opened to the public on 4 October 1857. In that time we’ve seen ten directors, the construction and demolition of many buildings, and constant additions to its living collections.

Discover some key dates in Adelaide Botanic Garden’s history with the timeline below:

1836: Kaurna and Peramangk occupancy of the country

1836: Colony of South Australia established

1854: Adelaide Botanic Garden’s fifth and existing site selected

1855: George Francis (1800-1865) appointed inaugural superintendent (and later, director) of Adelaide Botanic Garden, with rapid progress made in garden design and layout

1857: Garden opened to the public (4 October) with 634 people in attendance

1865: Richard Schomburgk (1811-1891) appointed director

1868: Victoria House – Adelaide Botanic Garden’s original home for the Victoria amazonica waterlily – erected, with first successful flowering of the remarkable plant; Araucaria Avenue planted

1873:Botanic Park established and planted over ensuing years

1877:Palm House officially opened

1881:Museum of Economic Botany officially opened

1891: Maurice Holtze (1840-1923) appointed director

1906: Simpson Kiosk erected to provide enhanced refreshment facilities in the Garden

1909: Tram Depot (now State Herbarium) and Goodman Building (now Botanic Gardens admin building) opened on Hackney Road

1917: John Bailey (1866-1938) appointed director

1919: Simpson Shadehouse opened

1932: Harold Greaves (1882-1959) appointed curator (and later director) of Garden

1939: Sunken Garden established

1948: Noel Lothian (1915-2004) appointed director

1958: Land purchased in Mount Lofty Ranges to create a cool-climate annexe (Mount Lofty Botanic Garden opened in 1977)

1975:Wittunga Botanic Garden opened at Blackwood after it was bequeathed to Botanic Gardens of South Australia

1981: Brian Morley appointed director

1988:Bicentennial Conservatory opened to the public

1995: Extensive restoration of Palm House completed

1999: Refurbished tramway buildings opened for use as administration (Goodman Building) and Plant Biodiversity Centre (now State Herbarium)

2000:International Rose Garden opened; old rose garden re-established as Economic Garden

2001: Stephen Forbes appointed director

2006:Schomburgk Pavilion opened to the public

2007:Amazon Waterlily Pavilion opened; Garden celebrates 150 years

2009:Santos Museum of Economic Botany reopened to the public after a year-long restoration

2011:Garden of Health opened to the public

2013:First Creek Wetland launched in Garden’s south-east corner

2015:Little Sprouts Kitchen Garden opened for classes

2016: Dr. Lucy Sutherland appointed director (2016 - 2021)

2017-18: Goodman Plaza redeveloped and new Flinders Ranges flora collection installed

2018: Restoration of the Boy and Serpent Fountain (Coalbrookdale Fountain) completed

2018: Major restoration works of the Palm House undertaken (re-opening late 2018)

2020: Simpson Shadehouse reopened after major restoration (December 2020)

2021: Michael Harvey appointed director (July - present)

Image courtesy of State Library of South Australia.

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