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Jane Edmanson OAM
Jane Edmanson OAM

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History of the Friends of the Melton Botanic Gardens’ group

FMBG Office Bearers and AGMs since 2004... click here


Although there has been some improvement in recent years, it is widely acknowledged that Melton lacks quality open space areas.

Melton Council itself commissioned a report, about 25 years ago, into the possibility of establishing a Botanic Garden in Melton. Council also purchased a significant tract of land in 1979, the Town Centre Park (Tullidge Street), which was set aside for badly needed community open space.

Following enquiries, local state MP, Mr Don Nardella MLA decided in early 2003 to commission a report into the feasibility of a Botanic Garden in Melton.

As a result research was undertaken by Victorian Parliamentary Intern, Ms Megan Barnett in the latter half of 2003.
A public forum was held at Victoria University (Melton Campus) on the 21st August 2003 to discuss the findings of this report with the community and other interested parties.

Following the success of the forum and the public interest it created, a number of people met on the 24th September 2003 and formed the FMBG.

The FMBG has since met on a monthly basis, regularly attracting about 30 members, and has begun to undertake an examination of the report's suggested potential sites. A tour of potential sites was held in November 2003.

The group became incorporated on the 2nd December 2003.

The group is also in the process of establishing partnerships with key community agencies/organisations, and has invited key note speakers to its meetings.

FMBG has grown considerably since its first meeting. It is currently seeking to expand its membership and involve younger community members.

The following motion was passed at the Melton Shire Council on Monday 24th October, 2005:
1. Council supports the botanical gardens theme within the Town Centre Park subject to the FMBG group presenting to Council for approval a design and financial funding options available to sustain the initiative.

2. Council officers continue discussions with the FMBG Group in relation to future concept designs and dedicated space within Town Centre Park.

A Shire of Melton Adopt-a-Park Grant was applied for in early 2006. The application for $5,000 was successful. Rob Small a consultant commenced the concept design meetings and workshop in April 2006. The concept plan was presented to Council in October 2006.

Council approved in the 2007-08 budget $25,000 towards landscape design of the Melton Botanic Garden. In 2008 the landcape design brief was prepared and expressions of interest to undertake the landscape design were called for in May 2008.

The sucessful tenders for the Landscape Design were Landscape Architects Michael Smith and Associates. The design of the garden was based on the Concept Plan. The initial landscape design plans shown to the FMBG meeting on Wednesday 13th August 2008. Final plans and report were recieved April 2009. Click to see Layout Plan of the Melton Botanic Garden.

On 17th June 2009 Wednesday John Bentley (President) and Allan Benson (Vice-President) addressed a special budget submission sitting of Melton Council.
The following extracts are from the meeting minutes which can be found on the MSC webpages:
Verbal Submissions in support of written submissions:
Mr John Bentley and Mr Allan Benson -Friends of Melton Botanic Gardens.
Mr Bentley and Mr Benson advised Councillors that Friends of Melton Botanic Gardens Committee have approximately 120 members and a large number of supporters. There is growing awareness of the Botanic Gardens Group within the community and momentum is building. The group is also establishing some prominence within the region. Their requests to Council through this submission are for directional signage and site signage to the Botanic Gardens. Secondly naming of the reserve as Melton Botanic Gardens and thirdly Council commitment to establishing a liaison person within Council's organisation to act as a single point of contact to assist the group with grant preparation and to develop an MOU with the group and the development plan for the gardens. The priority of the group would be for the liaison person.
On resumption, the Committee made the following recommendations:
Recommendation 1:
Friends of Melton Botanic Gardens
That Council proceed with re-naming of Town Centre Park to Melton Botanic Garden and approve the erection of directional and basic site signage for the Melton Botanic Garden to be funded from re-current signage budget and further Council not approve the appointment of a Project Manager for Melton Botanic Gardens.

On July 6 2009 FMBG had a one hour briefing to Councillors and MSC executive officers to further the establishment of the Melton Botanic Garden and present the landscape design plans.

A Special Meeting was held on 11 November to consider amendments to the FMBG Constitution. All amendments were approved. FMBG received approval from the Department of Justice Consumere Affairs for changes to the FMBG Constitution.

The new FMBG logo was launched at the Melton Botanic Garden on 10 February 2010.

Budget Submission to the Committee of Council Meeting held 15 June 2010
FMBG made a submission to the 2010/11 Draft Budget requesting Council provide funding of $80,000 for a toilet facility additional fencing and gates, small carpark area and fencing.
It was resolved that Council Officers investigate providing a temporary toilet facility at the Melton Botanic Garden as an interim solution to issues experienced at the site and that a gravel hard stand area be provided from within Council's recurrent budget to assist with car parking requirements.

Council passed the following motion at the meeting on 20 December 2010:
1.   Endorse the landscape masterplan developed for the Melton Botanic Garden as attached in Appendix 1.
2.   In partnership with the Friends of Melton Botanic Garden develop a Memorandum of Understanding between Council and the Friends of Melton Botanic Garden on the implementation of the masterplan and on-going maintenance of the asset.

The place name "Melton Botanic Garden" was listed in the Victoria Government Gazette on 10th February 2011.
The listing is on page 236 of the Gazette.
See: General Gazette Number G6 Dated 10 February 2011  

In April 2011 FMBG Won "Leaders in Sustainability" the Powercor Melton Business Excellence Award

Following a successful FMBG submission to the MSC draft budget in early June 2011 and presenation to council $130,000 was allocated in June 2011 in the Melton Shire Council budget 2011/2012 for toilet facilities in the Melton Botanic Garden

In June 2011 the first eucalypts were planted in the Daryland Eucalyptus Arboretum.

The Dryland Eucalyptus Arborteum was presented in a talk at the BGANZ Congress October 20-22 in Albury.

See list of major achievements in 2011 ---> Click here

In March Jane Edmanson OAM became patron of the Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden.

In April 2012 FMBG Won"Best Community or Not for Profit Organisation" the Powercor Melton Business Excellence Award

MOU Signed with Melton City Council on 27 November 2012 - This was a historic day for FMBG and the City of Melton - The Memorandum of Understanding between the Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden and the City of Melton was signed by John Bentley President of FMBG and Kelvin Tori Chief Executive City of Melton.

Awards: The Friends win the "Community Action and Leadership" Award at the Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Cities Awards in May.

Melton City Council allocates $30,000 in the 2013/2014 Budget towards developments in the Melton Botanic Garden. These funds managed by FMBG.

A successful Open Day held in September.

The Koorie Student Garden designed by Melton Koorie primary and secondary students was planted in September by the students using indigenous plants. This was a project with the Victorian Department of Edication, Melton City Council and FMBG. The project was initiated by Michelle Marion, Koorie Engagement Support Officer, Department of Education and Early Childhood. The Work Experience Activity Team constructed the paths and garden beds in preparation for plantings. FMBG volunteers did the rock edging around the perimeter of this garden.

Commenced development of the Western Australian and South Australian Garden Beds. Commenced the Victorian Volcanic Plains Aboriginal Plant Usage Garden as joint project sponsored by the Lions Club of Melton. A Western Water Grant of $2,000 was received by the Lions Club of Melton to fund the purchase of plants for this garden. Greylands and Grasslands Nursery provided assistance with plant positioning and supply. Beth Gott visited the garden location and supplied information and advice on suitable plants.

The Friends win the "Best Community and Not for Profit" Award at the Powercor City of Melton Business Excellence Awards.

The Melton Botanic Garden is featured on Gardening Australia Episode 10 screened on 24 May.

Planting commences in the Victorian Volcanic Plains Aboriginal Plant Usage Garden in June.

Received a Mayority Fund Grant of $1,500 towards the Sensory Garden. Garden infrastructure completed in August with first plantings in September.

Melton City Council allocates $30,000 in the 2014/2015 Budget towards developments in the Melton Botanic Garden


  • Awards:
    • Best Community Enterprise Business” Westwaters Hotel City of Melton Business Excellence Awards
    • Victorian Compost User Demonstrating Innovation and Advocacy in Amenity Markets” Australian Organics Recycling Association
  • New Projects:
    • Lake Island Bird Sanctuary commended with weed control funded by a Melbourne Water grant
    • Indigenous Peoples Garden (District Scout project - $2,000 Western Water sponsorship)
    • Southern African and a new group “Safaris” to undertake development and maintenance
    • Commenced production and installation of Plant Labels in the Eucalyptus Arboretum
    • Commenced the Southern African Garden – Landscape plans, plant lists, construction and Trial Bed planting as a result of the Metro Organics Grant
  • Western Australian and South Australian Gardens - Construction of beds and first plantings in stage 1 of this area. 
  • Completed the Sensory Garden with installation of seats
  • Acacia Walk added bench seating, new paths and Gabion structures – Matchworks Work Experience Activity Team projects
  • Melton City Council Budget – increase from $30,000 to $35,000 in budget funds towards the development of the Melton Botanic Garden

See list of major achievements in 2015 ---> Click here


  • Awards:
    • Jointly with MCC a Keep Victoria Beautiful Sustainable Cities in the Resource Recovery and Waste Management category for use of compost in the Southern African Garden
    • City of Melton Business Excellence Awards “Access and Inclusion”
  • Garden Developments:
    • Boomerang Garden constructed and planted to compliment the Aboriginal ceremonial circle and mural
    • Bushfoods Garden and revegetation of another section of Ryans Creek.
    • Southern African Garden – planting of main beds and installation of garden furniture
    • WASA – started planting remaining beds, built SA Island and installed garden furniture
    • Eucalyptus Arboretum – donations of eucalypts to add to the collection.  Photos appear in Dr Dean Nicolle’s book “Small Eucalypts for Australian Gardens”
    • Plant Labelling System
    • Bird signage installed from MCC Environment Grant funding
    • Removal of the concrete drain on Ryans Creek from the North Pond to High Street creating a series of wetlands and raingardens as Melton City Council projects
  • Rotary Donation - $10,000 for garden furniture for the WASA and South African gardens
  • Strengthening Partnerships:
    • Djerriwarrh Health Sevices Men’s Aboriginal Group – ceremonial circle and mural
  • Woodlea Housing Estate – plant supply for new resident packages
  • Melton City Council Budget 2016/17 allocated $50,000 for Melton Botanic Garden development

See list of major achievements in 2016 ---> Click here.


  • Awards:
    • "Best Environmental Development NPO Western Melbourne" Australian Enterprise Awards 2017, APAC Insider Magazine
  • Garden Developments:
    • Amphitheatre – Matchworks Work Experience Activity Team project
    • Mediterranean Garden - Matchworks Work Experience Activity Team project
    • Lake Island Bird Sancturary - Planting commenced
    • Lake Overflow Stage 1 - Weed control completed and planting commenced
  • Melton City Council Budget 2017/18 allocated $35,000 for Melton Botanic Garden development
  • Melton City Council developed the Botanic Trail as a shared path, bridges and boardwalk around the main lake including a new shared path and bridge linking to the Toolern Creek Trail
  • Industrial area development commences along the eastern boundary of the garden
  • Incorporation of compost into the north paddock east of the depot - Melton City Council project with Metro Organics funding
  • First burning of the east section of the Indigenous Grassland in September
  • Offical Opening of the Melton Botanic Garden by the Governor of Victoria the Hon. Linda Dessau AC in October
  • The Eucalyptus Arborteum featured on ABCD Gardening Australia on 18 May 2018. See the video clip with Jane Edamanson here.


  • Awards:
    • "Protection of the Environment" Keep Victoria Beautiful Sustainable Cities in August for the Lake Island as a Bird Sanctuary
  • Garden Developments:
    • Mixed Garden Beds North – Matchworks Work Experience Activity Team project
    • Lake Walk - planting along the south side of the main lake
    • Lake Overflow Stage 2 - Weed control
  • Melton City Council Budget 2017/18 allocated base funding of $35,000 per year for Melton Botanic Garden development until 2023



  • August - FMBG received a Council Community Grant to purchase IrisBG a botanic garden database


  • Commenced the Eastern Australian Dryland Garden
  • Commenced the revegetation project on the south side of the small lake
  • Received a Landcare grant to revegatate the east side of the main lake and the south east corner of the MBG
  • Working for Victoria Team of ten people commenced supported by Melton City Counciunder through a COVID initiative by the State Government


  • Pollinator Project wicking beds installed by the Working for Victoria Team
  • COVID restrictions continued to impact volunteering and development at the garden


  • The Friends received a Federal Government grant of $20,000 for the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee for an avenue of native trees along Collins Road. The official project launch was on 20 October with Sam Rae MP and Jane Edmanson OAM. The project is planting 500 native trees along a 450m length of the garden


  • 20th Anniversary Year of the Friends. We received congratulatory letters from King Charles II, the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Sam Rae MP Member for Hawke and the Australian Association of Friends of Botanic Gardens. A celelbration lunch was held on Sunday 29th October at the Depot. Jean Parridge made a 20th Anniversary cake and quilt for signing by members.
  • Reached a total of 470 financial members at 30 June 2023
  • Nature Play Space developed at the Lake from a Regional Botanic Garden Grant obtained by Council. Open to the public mid-July 2023.
  • Californian, Central and South American Garden was shaped, paths and beds created, and mulched. Planting commenced in June. The group mangaging this garden are the Sombreros.











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