Girgarre to plant seeds of ambition

On September 20, Girgarre will launch its Gargarro business case and hold a tree-planting day, when the first seeds for an eastern perimeter tree line, and the ambitious project more broadly, will be laid.   And everyone is invited.

The Gargarro project, which involves the installation of botanical gardens in Girgarre, has been bubbling away for some time  However, a $350,000 Victorian Government Small Town Transformation grant received by the committee earlier this year, combined with community matching and additional support, to offer the project committee almost $850,000 worth of value, had allowed the group to really get started.  From this funding, one of Gargarro’s first creations will emerge – a soundshell amphitheatre designed for music gigs, dance recitals, opera performances and anything else the committee can dream up.

Part of the grant will also allow for composer Graeme Leak and laser guru Robin Fox to create unique audio-visual projects in the community during an 18-month period.

Convenor of the Gargarro Project, Athol McDonald, said the biggest worry was that the events might attract up to 10,000 people to the town.  He said excitement in Girgarre was noticeable in response to the project and that if anything, there was a desire for it to be moving along faster.

‘Certainly the community sees it as a legacy project’ Mr McDonald said.  ‘We’re sure that if it’s successful, it will change Girgarre forever.’

Project director, Jan Smith, encouraged anyone interested in being part of the event to come along.

‘This day will be significant in Girgarre’s history,’ she said.  ‘We would love for anyone with an interest in this project to come along and plant one of the first trees in what will become an amazing garden.’

The Gargarro botanic gardens business case launch and tree-planting day will be held on September 20 at 11am on the corner of Curr and Winter Roads in Girgarre.


Gargarro Press Release 24 March 2015– Public Release of Gargarro Sketch Design

The progress towards establishing a world class Botanic Garden within the environs of the Girgarre township will reach a significant milestone on March 24th, when the Sketch Design Plan for the garden will be presented to the local residents and other interested people from the wider community

Landscape Architects TCL (Taylor Cullity Lethlean) were engaged by the Girgarre Development Group to develop a Master Plan for a new Botanic Garden in 2013. This Master Plan has since been taken to the next level of planning by TCL ; the Schematic or Sketch Design.

The botanic garden shall be called Gargarro ; the design reflects the dry landscape of the Campaspe region, presents an interplay between geometric water features and indigenous flora , and houses all of these elements in a native garden setting.

Gargarro will include: a large amphitheatre suitable for hosting a wide range of events, water storage and lookout towers as well as many avenues and paths to give visitors diverse experiences. These elements will be set within an abundance of local and indigenous vegetation arranged to lead the visitor on a journey of discovery through Australian Flora that will be experienced through all their senses.

The garden will primarily contain the botanic collection in discreet sections. Each section will be arranged in a grid like pattern defined by particular well-defined trees. Within these avenues will be an array of native trees, shrubs and ground cover plants that will appeal to a particular sense labelled “Taste”, “Touch”, “See”, “Listen” and “Smell”.

Water is a precious resource in Australia, particularly in rural regions. The Goulburn River influenced settlement patterns for the indigenous peoples and enabled colonisation and closer settlement in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly after the advent of irrigation.

The story of water will be told in different ways within Gargarro. At the entry to the Botanic Garden, and framing the amphitheatre, an ephemeral river bed mimics the patterns of the local rivers, twisting and meandering. In contrast, geometric water channels will dart through the garden, reinforcing the notion of a journey of discovery. Again the five senses will be experienced.

The community Information night will be held on Tuesday, March 24th, at 7.30 pm at Girgarre Memorial Hall.

TCL is a landscape architecture and design studio located in Melbourne, Victoria. TCL investigate the poetic expression of the Australian Landscape and contemporary culture – and have created a number of successful public destinations within Australia including the Australian Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne. TCL have won numerous awards for the Australian Garden, including 2013 Landscape of the Year Award, at the World Architecture Festival.


Athol McDonald, Convenor, Gargarro Project     58546324, 0429438220.

Jan Smith, President, Girgarre Development Group Inc.     58546283