The Friends of the Botanic Gardens celebrate 40 years

Date posted: 07 November 2017

One of the state’s largest individual friends groups – the Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide – celebrates 40 years today.

The passionate volunteer organisation, which counts more than 900 members, undertakes a diverse range of activities, including championing the Gardens and the importance of plants through their much-loved daily guided walks.

The Friends also provide overseas study opportunities for horticultural staff and raise funds to support Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia projects.

The group hosts botanical exhibitions, plant sales and school holiday activities, volunteer at major botanic gardens events, contribute to the maintenance of the botanic gardens through gardening groups, and hold key visitor information posts at Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Director Dr Lucy Sutherland said the Friends contributed a whopping 26,430 volunteer hours to the organisation in 2016/17 – equivalent to the work of about 15 full-time employees.

“Since its inception in 1977, the Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide have been an invaluable part of what we do, from helping to manage our collections, to providing unique experiences and learning opportunities for our visitors,” Dr Sutherland said.

“Through their guided walks they’ve engaged with thousands of visitors from across the world, sharing stories about plants and enhancing people’s understanding and appreciation of the importance of plants in sustaining life, and as a key part of our cultural identity.

“The Friends’ fundraising efforts have contributed greatly to significant projects at the Gardens over the years, including Mount Lofty Botanic Garden’s Chris Steele Scott Pavilion, and our mission to conserve threatened plants.

“On behalf of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, I thank the Friends for their unwavering support, and congratulate them on 40 rich years of botanic history.”

The Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide were inaugurated in 1977 under the presidency of Adelaide medico and keen gardener Dr Collin Robjohns.

Then-Botanic Gardens Director Noel Lothian had undertaken a study tour in the United States in 1974, where he was impressed by the role friends groups played in fundraising and promotional activities, bringing home the idea of establishing such a group in Adelaide.

A morning tea will be held at Adelaide Botanic Garden on Tuesday, 7 November 2017 to celebrate the Friends’ 40th anniversary.