Balance Architecture is pleased to announce the commencement of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Fernery project. First designed and submitted for approval back in 2018 and 2019, the project is now underway – constructed specifically to the drawing and plans of Balance Architecture and its principal Architect Mr Andrew Fedorowicz (FAIA).
Here’s a previous report to refresh your memories as to the unique nature of this exciting project.
Victoria has a fine heritage of Botanical Gardens established in the Nineteenth Century under the stewardship of Baron Von Mueller of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens.
The Ballarat Botanical Gardens were gazetted by the then Government in 1857 and developed from 1858 onwards. The land was originally known as the ‘Old Police Paddock’ site and was some 40 hectares. Balance Architecture have now been engaged to assist in restoring the original Fernery, a substantial and important feature of the Gardens first constructed in 1887. The building featured extensive ornate timber mouldings, gothic in style, and was attended by several striking marble statues of Italian origin at its entrance. [A gift of 12 such statues was originally provided in 1884 by local stockbroker Mr Thomas Stoddart.]
Ballarat was in fact ‘the city of Gold’ and the largesse from mining created many extraordinary buildings and edifices in old Ballarat. The Botanical Gardens adjoined Lake Wendouree (formerly Yuilles Swamp) and, as the 19th Century progressed, provided an elegant and well-tended public park where couples and families would stroll its promenades on weekends to ‘take in the airs’. Of the buildings of that time, the most significant original building still remaining in the gardens is the Statutory Pavilion housing the ‘Flight from Pompeii’ collection of sculptures.
The site was developed in three distinct sections – the Central ‘Botanic’ Gardens and two areas known as the North and South Gardens. With a strong linear design, the Central Gardens were designed with four north south promenades or walkways enabling a leisurely stroll for Victorian era families on a Sunday in their finery. The Fernery provided a lush green oasis to retreat to from the heat of the day. Once time to return home, a tramway through the park serviced visitors who could then return home in comfort.
The restoration of the original 19th Century Fernery is the latest project initiated by the Ballarat City Council to restore these magnificent gardens to their original glory.
The restoration of the original 19th Century Fernery will occur in two stages. Once completed the site will enhance the annual Begonia festival with another opportunity to display these unique florals complemented by the year round collection of ferns, epiphytes and orchids. It is an exciting project, one that Balance Architecture’s principal Architect Mr Andrew Fedorowicz is proud to be associated with. As the works progress, Balance will provide our readers with regular updates. Heritage is so important to our character, our identity. Ballarat was the real epicentre of the state’s development last century almost entirely funded by Gold. In summer whilst sitting adjacent to Lake Wendouree enjoying the cool zephyrs of an afternoon breeze, you may just make out the soft images of our forebears and their children sitting on the grass, playing amongst the flowerbeds, cooling off in the fernery. It was a beautiful place, an idyll and it soon will be again.
Source: Balance Architecture
At the moment we are investigating the current status of Number One, Victoria Avenue, Albert Park. Both the National Trust and Port Phillip Council recognise the heritage significance of this building. The Developers who own the property have submitted a further plan to demolish and erect a new building. The Save Albert Park Committee, a residents group, is again fighting this move. Last year the group was successful in VCAT in having the site preserved. This is a very important battle, and we will keep you informed with further updates over the next few weeks.