Bendigo Botanic Gardens
On my last visit to Bendigo I had a brief visit to the Bendigo Botanic Gardens. We had on previous occasions stopped here for either morning tea or lunch. Some years ago this was a very pleasant, well mantained park with a pleasing collection of native and exotic plants.
A feature of the gardens was the large pond – a small lake really – filled regularly by the nearby Bendigo Creek. This lake was home to a wide range of native and introduced water birds, adding to the attractiveness of the park. On this visit however, the lake was completely dry, with no birds.
Centrally located were also several large aviaries containing a range of native and exotic birds. By stretching one’s imagination and generosity of spirit, one could consider calling this a very small zoo. A more accurate description would have been to call it a small fauna park.
On this latest visit I was very disappointed at the poor state of the whole gardens, and the deplorable state of the animal collection. Either you have animals and birds on display in an attractive way – or you have none at all. The sad, run-down condition of the wallaby enclosure spoke volumes. Whoever is in charge either has no interest in the display or no budget to improve things – probably both.
The large ugly looking aviary in the photo above shows the cockatoo enclosure. It was once a monkey cage. at least that would be mildly interesting. The poor parrots in it were quite bored and most of the species represented could easily be seen outside in the natural environment by any amateur birder.
To be fair to the local authorities, the region has been undergoing severe drought conditions over the last decade. The drastic water restrictions meant that the lake could not be filled, nor could the exgtensive lawns be watered much. Many of the exotic plants were showing signs of stress.
Since my visit the local city council has announced a total revamp, extension and upgrading of the botanic gardens. This is long overdue. The plans can be seen here.