Stage is set

November 29, 2017

Girgarre locals, councillors and members of Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand gathered at the Gargarro site.

GIRGARRE’S ambitious plans for a botanic garden have continued to flourish, with builders announced for the construction of a soundshell on the site.

Bourke Builders of Echuca have signed on to build the striking eyelid-shaped soundshell, which is set to become an iconic feature of the 8ha garden.

The announcement coincided with a visit to the site from members of the Victorian branch of Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand (BGANZ).

In addition to gaining a sneak peek of the initial stages of the 20-year legacy project, BGANZ members used the visit to explore an expression of interest from Gargarro for the association’s Care for the Rare project.

The project will assist successful applicants to integrate rare and endangered species into their gardens.

BGANZ’s John Arnott said it was an ambitious, complex project – and one he was excited to see unfold.

“It’s important to find the balance between complexity and sustainability,” he said.

“But it’s a stunning piece of landscape architecture. And as a sensory garden, it’s very active, not passive.”

He added he was impressed by the community focus of Gargarro.

“Without a doubt, the best botanic gardens are community hubs,” he said.

“It’s fantastic that they’re starting this garden with the soundshell and the amphitheatre. It’s a masterstroke, as people will use it. It will start to build a sense of ownership.”

President of Friends of Gargarro Bernie Ryan said becoming a part of the Care for the Rare project would present a vital opportunity to integrate rare and endangered species into the garden.

The garden is taking shape, with the Friends of Gargarro planting 520 Eucalyptus Polyanthemos (Red Box) in double rows along the main avenue.

Local earthmoving contractors Zobec Brothers have also been busy forming the amphitheatre, which will accommodate 1200 people at future performances in the garden.

Campaspe Mayor Adrian Weston and chief executive Jason Russell also attended the tour of the garden last week.

Mr Russell said on top of being a fantastic opportunity for plant conservation, the garden would be empowering for the Girgarre community.

“It’s not a whim, you can see that by the amount of planning that has gone into the project so far,” he said.

“Gargarro is ambitious, yes. But if you’re not ambitious, you can end up settling for mediocrity.

“It’s wonderful to see the town taking ownership of the project – particularly the young people. And council is excited to be involved as partners.” Council has been one of the project’s many supporters, providing and installing 600 tonnes of road base material for the main avenue.

Much of the funding for the construction of the soundshell and amphitheatre has been provided by Regional Arts Victoria through the Girgarre Development Group’s participation in the Small Towns Transformation Project.

The Rushworth District Community Bank has also provided a generous grant on top of a significant contribution from the Girgarre community.

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