Sydneysiders are fortunate people, with a beautiful city, a spectacular harbour and a wonderful Botanic Garden providing a massive area of green space, right in the city itself. This year, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney are turning 200, and The Past Present have been taking a fascinating look at the long history of the iconic gardens. This week, The Past Present shares the final (at least for now) in our series on Sydney’s beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens.
After the death of Charles Moore, Joseph H. Maider took over the role of director of the Botanic Gardens, a role he performed for the next 28 years. During his tenure, many new features were added to the gardens, including the Governor Phillip fountain, the Herbarium and even an insectarium, which was constructed so that the Government Entomologist, Froggatt, could study the life of plant pests! The Herbarium, which today remains one of Australias biggest and most important collections of pressed plant specimens, narrowly missed being destroyed by fire in 1903. Following Maidens retirement in 1924, several different men served as director, with Robert Henry Anderson, the first Australian-born director taking on the role in 1945. He acted as director of the gardens for 19 years and it was during his tenure that the epithet ‘Royal’ was granted to the gardens. The use of Royal was recommended in 1958 by the trustees, who argued that the gardens had a long history, including one associated with the first visit of a reigning monarch to Australia. The epithet was granted in 1959 and it was from this time on that the Sydney Botanic Gardens were known, as they are today, as the Royal Botanic Gardens.