Geelong Botanic Gardens and Eastern Park

Location \ Eastern Park, Geelong
Client \ City of Greater Geelong
Consultants\ Minifie van Schaik, Cunningham Martyn Design

Eastern Park is Geelong’s premier regional park. The 81 hectare waterfront park is an important recreation focus for central Geelong, and attracts visitors for major events and to the Geelong Botanic Gardens which are located at its centre.

This two part project involved collaboration with Minifie van Schaik Architects for the siting and concept design of a new Visitor precinct which welcomes and orientates visitors to enhance their experience of the park.

The second component was the development of a Landscape Plan which establishes a framework for tree planting and park use, to enable the longterm protection, enhancement and development of the character of the parkland. With Eastern Park and Geelong Botanic Gardens listed on the Heritage Victoria register,  perpetuating the historic character of the parkland whilst recognizing the need to redress the loss of trees from both drought and senescence, and manage the impact of activities on the landscape were central components of the project. Building on the work of previous plans and conservation studies, the plan proposes the rejuvenation of avenues and tree circles, and new plantings which impart the spirit of an historic parkland. Rush Wright worked closely with the Gardens staff to establish specific vegetation character zones appropriate for existing activity areas and future uses of the park.

A new planting pallet  was established to provide a broad selection of species which will achieve a diverse collection of drought tolerant trees suited to current climatic and site soil conditions, parkland character and management. The original intent for the Park to house botanic collections will be enhanced through the selection of trees which support the aims of the existing Pinetum and development of new collections. These selections will conserve plant material from around the world and have the potential to influence the regional landscape. No living landscape is static and this plan allows Council to effectively manage the tree population and parkland activities, and is an important tool in planning for works to achieve the long term vision for the park.

New avenue planting to the north west circuit drive was detailed and constructed in Spring 2010 as the first of many planting projects which will ensure that in another 150 years Geelong will have a significant landscape which has continued to fulfill its potential as one of the most influential landscapes of its time.