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History

Wollongong Botanic Garden has a long, interesting history.

The site was originally inhabited by local Aboriginal peoples, the Dharawal (also spelt Tarawal or Thuruwal), who occupied the land for tens of thousands of years and remain the Custodians of the Land.

After European settlers arrived in the 1800s, the land was mostly used for farming. It changed hands several times, before being bought by the Hoskins family in 1929. The Hoskins built their home, Gleniffer Brae, on the site in the late 1930s, and the house still stands today within the Botanic Garden.

In the 1950s, the Hoskins dedicated a large part of their land to Wollongong City Council to create a Botanic Garden. This didn’t include Gleniffer Brae, which was sold in 1954 to Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School (SCEGGS).

From the 1950s to 1970s, much work was done by Council with support of the local community and dedicated volunteers. Work to establish the Garden was slow, as Council did not have funds available to support it. Eventually, the Botanic Garden officially opened to the public in January 1971.

By the late 1970s, the school at Gleniffer Brae had closed, and Council added the Gleniffer Brae site to the Botanic Garden.

During the 1980s, the Botanic Garden also took on the care of three other important natural areas, at Mount Keira Summit ParkPuckey’s Estate Nature Reserve, and Korrungulla Wetlands.

Over the years, new collections and features have been added to the Garden and today it is one of Wollongong’s most popular attractions for visitors and residents.

As well as providing a place for people to enjoy nature, the Botanic Garden plays an important role in the conservation of local plants.

Want more detail?

See our timeline.