Nature Based Play Space

This project was completed in 2020. Please go to Nature Based Play Space page

Nature Based Play Space

Well & Windmill restoration

This project was completed in 2020. Please go to Well and Windmill page

The project will provide access to the old well, which is now stabilised. The well is situated at the highest point of the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens from which there is a magnificent view over the heritage listed Guilfoyle Garden. The area surrounding to be paved in local bluestone and planted with suitable vegetation. A ramp of approved specification will be sealed allowing disabled access to the site. Park furniture in the form of casual seating in keeping with the surrounding area will be provided. There will be explanatory signage with a QR code connecting to the website. Viewer activated lighting will illuminate the well interior.

Management plan review

The management plan has been passed by WCC and can be viewed here.

Lone Pine 100 years on

The Friends successful submission for funding through the ANZAC Centenary Local Grants Program 2014

The Lone Pine is of special significance to Warrnambool. It is a living link to ANZAC, Gallipoli and the battle of Lone Pine.

The tree located in the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens is one of four, successfully grown from a cone brought home from Gallipoli by Sgt Thomas Keith McDowell of the 23rd Battalion A.I.F and propagated by his aunt, Mrs Emma Gray of Grassmere.

Mrs Gray kept the pine cone for 12 years before extracting the seeds and successfully growing four trees. The other three trees were planted during ceremonies between May 1933 - January 1934 at The Sisters Memorial Hall, near Noorat, Wattle Park in Melbourne and the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

Warrnambool's Lone Pine is listed on the National Trust's Victorian Heritage Register of significant trees.

The Friends of Warrnambool Botanic Gardens hosted a commemorative ceremony on the 21st January 2014 marking 80 years since the original dedication ceremony being an important milestone in the history of the tree.

The Friends of Warrnambool Botanic Gardens require funding to install interpretative signage including an audio link from the FOBG website. Given the significance of the tree, greater public awareness to the linkages with WW1 and the Anzac's is of national importance.

As well as the signage, the FOBG is developing a propagation program utilising the seeds accessed from the fertile cones higher up the tree to grow future generations of the Lone Pine.

Another component is for improved irrigation to maintain the current health of the Lone Pine. Existing pipework is corroded and minimal flow is available to the tree on site.

Pens handcrafted from the Lone Pine

The Friends of the Gardens collected dead branches pruned from the Lone Pine in the Gardens.  They contacted Louis Seater, a member of the Warrnambool Triton Woodworkers and asked if he would be able to fashion some pens that could be sold to the members and community.  The Friends had in mind the connection between the Lone Pine and the fact that in 2015 it will be 100 years since a pinecone from Lone Pine at Gallipoli was collected by Sergeant Keith McDowell.  He gave it to his aunt, Mrs R. Gray of Grasmere and from this she raised four seedlings.  One was planted at the Shrine in Melbourne, but this has since died. There is one at Wattle Park in Melbourne and one at The Sisters.  The tree in WBG is far and away the healthiest.

These pens are now on sale, $25 for members and $40 for the public, the pens come with a brief history of the wood used.

Orders are being taken if you would like to send an email to The Friends with your contact details or by ringing Pat Varley 0355624800 or Mandy King 0438620343.

The Standard Newsletter newspaper published an article.

Pens handcrafted from the Lone Pine
Pens handcrafted from the Lone Pine


Windmill, Well and Heritage

There is an old well in the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens that was sunk in 1883.

It is fifty feet deep, circular and solid with an attractive sandstone rim.  At present it is hidden under the debris of an old shed and a tangle of Tecoma.

The Friends of Warrnambool Botanic Gardens seek to preserve the well and make it accessible to the public.  In the long term they plan to reproduce the windmill that was removed in 1893.

In partnership with Wannon Water the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens has developed a waterwise garden to demonstrate water saving techniques and suitable plant selection for our environment.  There is scope to extend this garden to include the well and the windmill. With appropriate signs, this will be a working demonstration of the history of water supply, and an explanation of the significance of an increasingly valuable resource – our water.

The Friends are seeking information about the well.

The Friends have two inferior photos of the windmill to work from.  If you know of others that would be a great assistance. Any information on early wooden windmills would be much appreciated.

The mill in the gardens may well have been made in Warrnambool by John Esam.  Historian Les O'Callaghan says that John Esam's business was on the site of what is now the Uniting Church in Koroit Street.  It was powered by a mill similar to the one at Lyndoch.

In 1880 the Council put in Warrnambool’s first water supply.  They had a well 80 feet deep excavated on Cannon Hill and one of Esam’s windmills was placed over the well.  About the same time Council had similar water supplies installed in Albert Park, the Botanic Gardens and Cattle Market.

The Friends of the Gardens would welcome any information on the well or the windmill.

Please contact:
Secretary Mandy King 0438620343
Vice President Pat Varley 03 55624800
or email us on