Master Plan

The Australian Botanic Gardens Shepparton continues to progress in line with the Master Plan.

The 22.5 ha site features native bush lands, wetlands, a children’s garden and constructed themed gardens on Honeysuckle Rise, which serve the dual purpose of ensuring the ongoing stability of the 'cap', and an attraction for wildlife and visitors alike.

With the initial aim of protecting the 'cap' on the former landfill site, Greater Shepparton City Council, Australian Botanic Gardens Special Committee (2012-2019), Friends of the Australian Botanic Gardens Shepparton, CVGT Work for the Dole Program, and the Shepparton Mooroopna Urban Landcare Group embarked on an ambitious plan to make the Gardens a landmark site for land reclamation and an iconic destination for Greater Shepparton.

The themed gardens also reflect the cultural, environmental, historical and agricultural characteristics of the Goulburn Valley, using Australian plants. The gardens depict a story of change across the region following a timeline revealed to visitors as they walk along the pathways.

The Australian Botanic Gardens Shepparton project is managed by Greater Shepparton City Council. The principles guiding the development and design are that the Gardens use local themes; has Australian plants; involves the community; promotes sustainable practices; appreciates the rivers; uses local and recycled materials; promotes tourism, healthy lifestyles, and accessibility; and exhibits public art.

Summary of Future Developments

  • Continued development of the themed gardens on and surrounding Honeysuckle Rise
  • Seating and shelters across the whole site
  • Strategic plantings in bushlands and river walks
  • Development of the constructed wetlands

Themed Gardens on Honeysuckle Rise

Honeysuckle Rise Walk

This walk provides access to the themed gardens at the top of Honeysuckle Rise. The brick retaining wall was created using 1000’s of recycled bricks from the Shepparton Transfer Station by CVGT Australia Work for the Dole and Friends of the Australian Botanic Gardens Shepparton volunteers.




The Indigenous Land Management Garden

This garden will depict the grassy bushland and riverine areas of the Goulburn Valley prior to European settlement and will explain traditional Aboriginal land management practices.

Plants showcased will represent the four bioregions of the Goulburn Valley.

Local aboriginal input was used in the planning of this garden. This garden will be the first garden visitors will reach on the mound to signify the importance of the first inhabitants of the area.

Not yet commenced.

The Weaving Garden

The Weaving Garden features plant species used in the traditional aboriginal craft of weaving.

Weavers from the Kaeila Aboriginal Art Gallery in Shepparton will be able to harvest the required vegetation, work on-site to demonstrate the craft of weaving and display woven.

The weavers and the Gallery Director have been consulted in the planning for this garden.


The River Garden on Honeysuckle Rise

The River Garden will depict the importance of the rivers, in particular the Goulburn River, to our region.

The designated plant collection known as the four Bioregions of the Goulburn Valley, will feature along the course on Honeysuckle Rise.

This long garden will also act as a drainage system and will spill down the north side of the mound at the already constructed Drainage Discharge Point (shown on plan). The River Garden will run past and through other themed gardens to represent the importance of rivers to the linking of environments and communities over time.

Not yet commenced.

The Clearing

For people exploring changes to the environment and the associated effects on the lives of local people ‘The Clearing’, designed to symbolise the clearing of the land for farming, will be in stark contrast to the adjacent ‘Indigenous Land Management Garden’. This space will act as an event space, with elevated views of bushland to the west and cleared land to the south.

Not yet commenced.

The Sandhill Orchard Garden

The area of settlement around this area south of Shepparton was known for its sandhills and the establishment of some of the first orchards on those sandhills. The fruit was supplied to the local markets and to SPC. Most of the sandhills were later mined, despite the protestations of many who lived in the area.

This garden recognises the importance of the local horticulture industry and recognises migrant influenced horticulture. The environmental history of the sandhills, including the associated loss of native vegetation and wildlife when the sandhills were removed, will also feature in the interpretive story.

Not yet commenced.

The Market Garden

Market Gardens are important to this area which has good soils, a good climate for growing vegetables and a modernised irrigation system. It is historically important and will depict the influence of exotic agricultural practices and stories of early market gardeners such as Chinese man Ah Wong. Vegetable growing is also a developing industry in this area.

Not yet commenced.

The Migrant Garden

The Migrant Garden will tell a story of migration using ‘migrant’ plant communities as a metaphor for the many distinct migrant communities of Shepparton.

Each section of this garden will be named after a key ‘hero’ species from different ecological niches around Australia and will feature displays of Australian plant communities which are not indigenous to the Shepparton region. This garden represents ‘migrant’ plants with their floral ecological communities intact, albeit modified and adapted to suit their own home.

Not yet commenced.

The Refugee Garden

The Refugee Garden adds an additional component to the symbolism of ‘a melting pot’, a celebration of difference. The plants in this garden will be a collection of native plant cultivars and hybrids, demonstrating manipulation and evolution of plant species over a period of time. It will be native plants which have been raised in cultivation and differ significantly from their wild ancestors.



The Food Garden

This garden was the first from the Master Plan to be created, and its striking design, texture and colour is revealed only when the visitor reaches the top of the lookout area. The Food Garden was designed by ‘Spiire’ and built with the assistance of volunteers and the Friends of the Australian Botanic Gardens.

Some construction by a local landscaping company was required to place the steel edging, the railways sleepers and the large amount of soil required.

The quality of this garden has set a high standard in order to tell the story of the development of irrigated and non-irrigated agriculture in the Goulburn Valley. It symbolises the river and channel systems throughout Greater Shepparton, crop planting, and features some of the native plants used as food sources by the traditional Aboriginal people in this region. 


The Residence Garden

The Residence Garden is an urban design inspiring people to use low-water-use design and plants in their home gardens. Species used are commonly cultivated Australian plants known to do well in Greater Shepparton’s gardens.





The Forest Entry Track

The Forest Entry Track links the top of Honeysuckle Rise and the natural bushland along the northern boundary of the site by means of a track which meanders through the Terrace Garden planted with bird attracting species.

Nearing completion.




Themed Gardens at Entry

The Turtle Garden

The Turtle Garden has become the arrival and meeting point at the Gardens. This pleasant and welcoming Garden was constructed by the Friends of the Australian Botanic Gardens Shepparton and the seating design reflects their drumstick emblem, Pycnosorus globosus.





Rock Wall Garden

CVGT Australia Work for the Dole program undertook the initial development and planting of this garden.  It has now been designated as the site for the Care for the Rare Collection.





River Plain Gardens and Walks

The Children’s Garden

Nestled in the north east corner this garden features recycled installations surrounded by native plants. Designed to encourage imaginative and creative play the installations include a bedspring cubby and interactive puzzles and sandpit, with seating overlooking the wetlands. It is the perfect place for a family picnic.   A proposed bridge crossing the Broken River is due to be completed in 2020 which will allow easy access to this Garden from existing walking paths on the other side of the River.




The River Walk

At the entrance to the River Walk is a picnic shelter enjoyed by visitors and bush kinder groups. Leading to the Broken River, the walk meanders through an area of remnant Greybox woodland that is being regenerated through the efforts of local children involved in the One Tree Per Child program and the Friends of the Australian Botanic Gardens.





The Billabong Walk

The ephemeral billabong was once the original Broken River course and is a delightful walk that links the River Walk and the Children’s Garden.







The Forest Walk

Looping around the northern boundary of the Gardens, the Forest Walk features strategically placed seating offering views over the wetlands to Honeysuckle Rise.  A series of interpretive signs have been installed featuring the rare and seasonal flora and fauna of this area.