Tweed Valley Lawn Cemetery - Proposed Botanic Garden site.
A lawn cemetery has been developed as Stage One of the Botanic Gardens. The integration of the function of a cemetery with the Botanic Gardens is unique and entirely appropriate as it provides a specialised attractive environment that is also scientifically important. This role will continue for mutual benefit as the Botanic Gardens expands and develops along the site.
What is a Botanic Garden?
A Botanic Garden is essentially a specialised park or passive recreation recreation area where visitors can appreciate the intrinsic and botanical values of plants and the use of plants in ornamental horticulture. It also provides facilities for environmental education and specialised botanic and horticultural research.
What is the Significance of the Tweed Botanic Gardens?
The Tweed Botanic Gardens is significant in the regional and national terms for the following principal reasons:
- The International importance of the environment of the Mount Warning Caldera region has been recognised by World Heritage Listing.
- The region contains a wealth of unique plant communities and endemic plant species which have significant potential for horticulture.
- A number of regional species are rare and/or endangered and require establishment ex-site to ensure preservation.
- There is no other existing Botanic Garden established in this region with specific physical and ecological characteristics offered by this site.
Location and Site Description
The site is located approx 15km east of Murwillumbah, NSW and comprises 158 hectares of mostly northern slopes and spurs of the Condong Range. The area has been subjected to both complete and selective clearing followed by pastoral agricultural uses and some forest regrowth. These processes have resulted in a basically botanically-degrade site with some scattered areas of remnant endemic. This provides optimum conditions for the establishment of a Botanic Gardens that is primarily devoted to the research and interpretation of plant material for ornamental horticulture.
Botanic Gardens Work for the Dole Scheme
Two Work For The Dole projects have been coordinated by Council at the Botanic Gardens. These have proved successful for participants and Council alike. These schemes have assisted significant progress in establishing:
- Two areas of North Queensland rainforest tree plantings.
- Revegetation of approx 2 ha of degraded steeply sloping land with endemic native vegetation.
- Plantings of large numbers of ornamental trees and shrubs in the lawn cemetery area.
- Establishing approx 800m of walking tracks through existing bushland areas.
- Regeneration of around 1 ha of degraded bushland including the clearing of areas of Camphor Laurel and Lantana.
- Planting of 350 butterfly food plants along a section of walking track.
Tweed Shire Council has for many years been committed to the establishment of a Botanic Gardens.
In 1984, a report by the Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation, recognised the significant natural eco system of the Mount Warning Caldera and the unique plant communities there in. The establishment of a Regional Botanic Gardens in the Tweed Region of New South Wales was recommended.
Tweed Shire Council has purchased land for future use which will result in a site in excess of 170 hectares. Over the next quarter century the Tweed Botanic Gardens will develop into Australia's largest Regional Botanic Gardens.
Stage One of Tweed Botanic Gardens was officially opened by Mayor Max Boyd on 30 April 1997.
Council are in the process of choosing a consultant to prepare a master plan for the future development, management and use of the Tweed Botanic Gardens. An overall master plan is needed to guide future management and use of this land holding for the end use as a Botanic Garden.
A "Friends of the Tweed Botanic Gardens" group is currently being established. This group will promote and support the continuing development of the Gardens and promote community awareness of the various activities planned within the Gardens. Friend will enjoy greater insight into the development of the Gardens and have behind-the-scenes access during work shops, working bees and information sharing meetings.
Tweed Shire Council has been developing concepts for a central core area of the Botanical Gardens and has undertaken preliminary investigations for the purposes of development planning applications, including Geotechnical, vegetation and hydrological assessments, along with preliminary civil engineering and landscape architectural concepts.
The project is currently on hold due to funding constraints. Once funds become available, Council will engage consultants for Cultural Heritage Investigation, to develop Architectural plans for key buildings, and to further develop landscape and civil design.
Community consultation is planned as part of the process of refining the designs for the core area of the proposed Botanical Gardens site.
The Tweed Botanic Gardens is particularly significant in regional and national terms for the following principal reasons:
- The environment of the surrounding Mt Warning caldera region has been recognised by World Heritage listing.
- The region contains a wealth of unique plant communities.
- A number of species in the region are classified as rare and endangered and require to be established ex-situ to continue the preservation of the gene bank.
There is no other existing Botanic Gardens established in this caldera environment with the specific physical and ecological characteristics offered by the Eviron site.
An administration and Visitor's Centre will be built in the near future will offer information of an educational and interpretive nature to assist in visitor's enjoyment of the Gardens.