Update of the Botanical Gardens of Ballarat’s new Fernery.

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Work on the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Heritage Fernery is now well underway. This time we feature some of the more up to date and finalised drawings for your interest. Yes, this will be in fact the entrance to the overall Fernery precinct in the gardens. When complete with Stage 2, the curators of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens will be furnishing the growing space and habitat with exotic ferns from around the world as well as the more familiar native species and epiphytes such as Birdsnest, Staghorn and Elkhorn ferns.

The Fernery will add an immensely exciting visage to these popular gardens. The new design from Andrew Fedorowicz of Balance Architecture, is faithful to the original Fernery design providing a beautiful heritage perspective, in keeping with its surrounds and those of old Ballarat town.

The ‘New’ Fernery is a reproduction of the older original fernery that was so much a part of the older Ballarat Gardens of the 19th Century. It is faithful in its homage to the Gothic lines and stunning vista of the older fernery and has been designed with the cooperation and assistance of the Heritage Council of Victoria.

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The new Fernery Design is in keeping with the original fernery and its heritage values.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

The Ballarat Botanical Gardens Fernery – Construction commences

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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).

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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.

Aug 20, 2017 10:17:18 AM

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.]

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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.

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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.

Aug 20, 2017 10:05:57 AM

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.

balance logo 20150209a

Balance Architecture recognises the importance of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Update on the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Fernery and its Full Restoration

The Ballarat City Council have now placed signage at the site of the proposed redevelopment of the Botanical Gardens Fernery scheduled to be completed in 2019. Balance Architecture is proud to be involved in this wonderful restoration program with Principal Andrew Fedorowicz FAIA designing the Fernery’s structure and supervising its construction.

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The Fernery in its time was considered one of the gothic highlights of Victorian and Edwardian Ballarat. The planned reconstruction will in fact be a replica of this ornate 1887 fernery.

To refresh your memories, here is a reprint of our July 2nd blog on the project.

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A welcome return: the original fernery in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens and (inset) the recreated version by Balance Architects which is expected to be completed by 2019, pending Heritage Victoria approval

The building, designed by Balance Architecture, is a copy of the original Gothic entrance, which was completed in 1898. The firm referred to original photographs and plans of the filigreed ‘batten fernery’ to recreate what the wooden structure looked like. The plan is being considered by Heritage Victoria.

It is not clear when the original fernery was demolished, but postcards of the period show a finely-detailed peaked structure surrounded by the Stoddart statues.

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Architect Andrew Fedorowicz says working on a unique building such as the fernery is a joy as much as it is a challenge.

“It’s a big building, 11 metres to the pinnacle”
Andrew Fedorowicz, Balance Architects

“What looks like something straightforward in one picture becomes a more complex corner detail in the next,” he says. “It’s a big building, 11 metres to the pinnacle.”

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Mr Fedorowicz used photographs as they came to light to gradually reconstruct the many angles of the wooden fern house. The transparent roof of the fernery is composed of strips of timber which gave the building the name Batten Fernery.

“It’s important that those battens go back, to give it that transparency. There will be gaps between each 90mm board for that reason.”

The current fernery, labelled as being in ‘a disgraceful state’ by support group Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens (FBBG), has been assessed as having engineering problems that may ‘compromise the structure’s integrity and safety’ if continued deterioration is allowed.

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The City of Ballarat has issued a statement saying the projected reconstruction is ‘shovel ready’ and makes a commitment of $1.4 million to the first stage, with another $200,000 coming from the FBBG and a planned further $200,000 grant from the Living Heritage Grants program .

Elizabeth Gilfillan of the FBBG says while the group hasn’t seen the final plans for the building, it’s an exciting development after years of lobbying. The group has spent over 20 years raising funds for the project.

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“We proposed the reconstruction of this building 10 years ago,” said Ms Gilfillan. “The buildings that currently house the fernery were originally temporary and were built in the 1950s.”

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Heritage Architecture requires a refined and practiced consideration. Rather than just developing heritage ‘reports’, it requires an architect with the ability to transfer today’s methodologies and materials in refurbishing the buildings or structures of yesteryear without losing either the integrity, antiquity or charm of a property and its buildings. Most importantly, the finished refurbishment or renovation must maintain the authenticity of the original building and construction. To do so requires the services of a Heritage Architect – an architect knowledgable and skilled in their understanding of heritage values, styles, and the building and construction methods of the times, those periods when the properties were in fact built and constructed.

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Andrew Fedorowicz is such an Architect with real experience in Heritage projects.

For many people purchasing, managing or refurbishing a Heritage listed or Heritage style property is a conundrum. Yes the building is simply beautiful, it resonates with reflections of glorious bygone days, it is quite likely a very valuable asset, but the big question is what can be done, what can be achieved and what restriction does a heritage listing and overlay impose on the building’s owners and their contractors.

Buildings constructed over a century ago were built using quite different methods and engaging very different practices seen as acceptable in today’s building regulations. For instance many Victorian Terraces are built on floating bluestone lintel foundations, which after a hundred years often cause internal cracking in solid plaster walls and contribute to issues such as rising damp.

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Rooms were part of the structural support of the entire building. Internal walls in many cases cannot be removed without affecting the structural integrity of the building as a whole. Roofing, drainage and electricals can be major issues. In many cases, large mansions were built as stand alone buildings surrounded by acres of gardens. When the property was subdivided, the ornamental lake filled in and original run-offs curtailed, simply plumbing the excess into stormwater drainage often was fraught with unforeseen problems that were not acknowledged by those making such modifications. Often the buildings by then were neglected and had fallen into disrepair. Many of these stop-gap measures were never rectified.

Many Heritage listed buildings are bound by major restrictions on modifications, particularly of the street façade. Add to this the requirements of maintaining heritage colour schemes for painting, ornamental masonry, ironwork and internal fittings and there is obviously a strong requirement for expert advice.

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A modern lifestyle with spacious living is entirely possible. But it is imperative that proper planning and presentation is available – for statutory authorities (Planning, City Councils), the National Trust and the heritage Council of Victoria. For this you require an experienced and competent Heritage Architect. Principal Architect for Balance Architecture, Andrew Fedorowicz is such an Architect with real experience and genuine expertise.

Should you require a consultation for your property, for its refined development or restoration please do not hesitate to call Andrew on 0418 341 443 or if you prefer, leave your contact details here and we will ensure a timely response to your enquiry.

As the Ballarat project progresses we will provide you with visual updates and interviews.

balance logo 20150209a

Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Balance Architecture to restore Ballarat’s original Botanical Gardens Fernery.

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.

Aug 20, 2017 10:17:18 AM

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.]

Picture1d

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 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 Ballarat Botanical Gardens received original plantings from Baron Von Mueller of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens and from Mr David Bunce of the Geelong Botanical Gardens. The Gardens were the recipient of many personal bequests in its formative days. Mr George Longley, the original curator, put such materials and bequests to good use. The Giant Redwood Avenue (Sequoiadendron Giganteum) on Wendouree Ave, planted between 1863 and 1874, as well as the avenue of ‘Horse Chestnuts’, now accommodating the ‘Prime Ministers’ Avenue, bear testament to this.

Aug 20, 2017 10:05:57 AM

From the Victorian Heritage Register…

By 1862 the first maze was built, but later removed, close to the site of the first fernery (1887), which after several alterations and additions, is still an outstanding feature of the gardens and enhanced by an adjacent water lily pond (1916). With the donation in 1884 by local stockbroker Thomas Stoddart of twelve Italian marble statues located throughout the gardens, and the construction in 1887 of the Statuary Pavilion to house the ‘Flight from Pompeii’ and four accompanying statues donated by James Thompson, the Botanical Gardens became a centrepiece of civic pride for Ballarat. From 1889 tuberose begonias were introduced into displays, beginning a tradition highlighted by the annual begonia festival from 1953 until the present.

Developments catering for increasing tourism adjacent to the lake shore included the Lake Lodge (1891) for refreshments, adjacent cannons, Almeida Pavilion (1907) housing amusement machines and shelters such as the Picnic shelter (c1910) and replacement bandstand (1921). ‘Fairyland’ a wooded grove with bridges, ponds and walks on the western shore of Lake Wendouree, became a popular feature and a zoological section (1915-1959), replacing an earlier menagerie, was established in the northern gardens with the Adam Lindsay Gordon Cottage relocated nearby in 1934. Large and small bequests continued to enhance the gardens in the twentieth century such as the sundial (1912), avenue of Prime Ministers’ busts (1940- ), and the Robert Clark Conservatory and Horticultural Centre (1995). The Ballarat Botanical Gardens retain an exceptional collection of conifer and exotic deciduous trees and a tradition of bedding and floral displays, a fernery and potted plants.

Other additions to the northern gardens included a Pavilion (1904), Sound Shell (1962), and a Wetland (2001). The boundary between the southern gardens and the main botanical gardens is marked by the old display glass house (1972), the Ballarat Fish Acclimatisation Society’s trout hatchery (1873) and the Ballarat Vintage Tramway Museum. The extensive Australian Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial to honour 35,000 soldiers was constructed in 2004 adjacent to Carlton Street.

Source: vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au

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. It should not go unnoticed that the gardens currently maintain one of the world’s (and Australia’s) rarest collections of Elm species and cultivars.

Elm trees have all but disappeared in the Northern Hemisphere due to the devastating Dutch Elm Disease virus. With great care, expertise and expense, these trees are being replaced slowly in the Northern Hemisphere with cross bred varieties that utilise a Siberian Elm Tree, but it is a very slow process. The importance of the Botanical Gardens of Ballarat’s Elm tree gene pool cannot be underestimated.

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 forbears 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 will be again – very soon.

balance logo 20150209a

Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.