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When will Daniel Andrews remind Lang Walker about Von Mueller's vision for Kew ?

1825   Von Mueller   1896  >    2017 Lang
                                  Walker and Daniel Andrews 2018 
Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller, Victorian Government Botanist                             
Lang Walker, Kew Development Corporation  & Daniel Andrews , Premier of Victoria

Was it this ?

Or was it this ?

!Walker Site Office on
                                              Main Drive
Walker's Temporary Site Office within the Arboretum

Von Mueller's  Vision
Victoria’s fabulous history of special parks and gardens is intimately related to the vision and influence of  Melbourne's  internationally renowned 19th Century Government botanist Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller

Just as Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens and Daylesford’s Wombat Hill Reserve have a special horticultural significance, so too does the Arboretum at Kew with its unique collection of rare trees that were selected by von Mueller in the 1870's while he was the founding Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.

Unfortunately, many of the trees that von Mueller planted in Melbourne's Botanic Gardens were lost when the landscape of the Botanic Gardens was significantly changed by his successors.

Like the Botanic Gardens the fabric of the Kew Arboretum has been threatened many times over the years, first by neglect, then by the unsympathetic placement of buildings and carparks, followed by the sale of Willsmere in 1988, and most recently by Walker's Main Drive housing estate development.

However, during the first half of the 20th Century
the Kew Arboretum had the benefit of the Government appointment of the eminent Victorian landscape gardener Hugh Linaker.  Linaker commenced a program of landscape improvements and tree plantings at Kew Cottages and Willsmere that complemented von Mueller's original vision. The result was outstanding.

According to Biosis Research there are now no arboreta of mixed exotic trees left in Victoria that can be compared with the collection of trees at Kew Cottages.
The only comparable exotic landscape in Victoria is that at Willsmere, of which the Kew Cottages landscape is derived. (Biosis 2001)

Willsmere and Kew Cottages are now listed on the State Heritage register, and to date all attempts to build apartments within the Arboretum itself have been rejected on heritage grounds.  For example, in 1988 to protect the Willsmere section of the Arboretum the Cain Government  added it to Yarra Bend Park, and in 2005 Kew Cottages Heritage Permit Conditions directed that all of the public land and trees on the Main Drive/Oak Walk approach to Willsmere must also be preserved.

Despite their applications to build being rejected three times, Walker, with State Government support,  has continued to apply for heritage approval to build within the Arboretum. (At the time of writing this post in 2018 Walker are appealing rejection of their 2017 Heritage Permit Application P26760)

Times change.

2018 is an election year, and in April 2017 the State Minister for Major Projects, Jacinta Allan, announced that the
Andrews Government would adopt a new approach to the sale of public land.

Daniel AndrewsFinally, in April 2018 the Premier Daniel Andrews, himself saw the light, and while criticising a Council  plan to build on parkland in the Melbourne shire of Eltham the Premier stated categorically that:

               'there is simply no need to turn a park into a housing development.."
Daniel Andrews, Victorian Premier. (ABC TV News 18.4.18)

View Video here

So has this 'election year' change of approach by the Victorian Government finally provided a real opportunity
for Victorians to reclaim the Kew Arboretum as special place for Victorian heritage ?

Only time will tell if Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller's vision will be finally fulfilled.

However, an election year always provides at least one  window of opportunity.

Window of  Opportunity...

This is Kew Cottages Coalition vision for the future... a
Community Park within the von Mueller Arboretum.

Plan A.
Arboretum Community Park Proposal  - Our alternative to Walker's proposed Apartments (Stage 8)
+ Click plan image to enlarge.
> Download Print Version here

Community Park Stage 8

Plan B.  Context plan - This shows the whole Arboretum including Stage 8, Willsmere, Yarra Bend Park, and and key Heritage Registered Features
+ Click plan image to enlarge.
> Download Print Version here

Our Community Park Concept

Stage 8 1945 AerialMany of both von Mueller's papers, and Linaker's landscape plans of Willsmere and Kew Cottages have unfortunately not survived.

So our Community Park proposal has been based on reflecting what we do know of von Mueller's and Linaker's objectives, by

1. Removing Walker's temporary site office;
2. Publicly labelling all of the remaining  significant trees (As Boroondara Council is already doing in its Maranoa Australian Native Botanic Gardens)
3. Identifying missing elements of the original design with reference to Heritage Victoria, archival documents, and photographs;
4. Replacing those trees lost from the original design with suitable rare and endangered pine species; (eg: the rare Bishop's Pine that Walker removed in 2006)
5  Adding a picnic and children's play area to help commemorate the lost fabric of the Kew Childrens Cottages  school and gymnasium;
6. Complementing the two existing memorials  with a peaceful reflection and reading area.
7. Adding visitor signage and heritage interpretation for the Arboretum, Willsmere, Yarra Bend Park, and the whole of the original Asylum Reserve (1860- )

1945 Aerial photograph (Walker Dev Stage 8) (Source:Melbourne University

Suggested Plantings of Threatened Species to replace lost Trees (See  Plan A,  and 1945 Aerial photograph above.)
> Download Print Version

Bishops Pine

Pinus muricata
(Bishop's Pine)

Wn  Wollemia nobilis (Wollemi Pine)

Monkey Puzzle Tree  Aa Araucaria araucana
(Monkey Puzzle)

Arboretum montage
A1. Proposed picnic and children's play area commemorating the lost fabric of the Kew Childrens Cottages  school and gymnasium;


Download Kew Cottages Coalition Public Hearing Submission documents and video:

1. Submission to Heritage Council Victoria 4 June 2018  (.pdf file)
2. Appendix (.pdf file)
3. Aerial Footage - Video Flown May 2018  (.mp4 file)


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