REB garden finished!

by Kate C
Publish date
28 February 2011
Comments (3)

“The fountain is fountaining!” announced a colleague last Thursday. He’d passed the French Fountain in the eastern forecourt of the Royal Exhibition Building and noticed that it was flowing for the first time in ages. Years of drought and water restrictions meant the fountain has been out of action. However now that there are over a million litres of water stored in new tanks under the REB’s western forecourt, the fountain can run again.

It was recomissioned for the opening of the newly-completed German Garden, a careful restoration of the original garden that stood on the site for the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880. You’d never know that under the lush lawns and new garden beds – which follow the exact shape of the 1880 design – there’s a massive water tank and network of pipes to collect and distribute rainwater. Not only the gardens around the REB, but also Melbourne Museum’s Forest Gallery and Milarri Garden will benefit from this new sustainable water supply.

Completed western forecourt garden The Royal Exhibition Building's completed German Garden in the western forecourt on Rathdowne Street.
Image: Heath Warwick
Source: Museum Victoria

Thursday’s event marked the completion of the 18-month project World Heritage, World Futures. Even as the speeches were underway, people were wandering through the new landscape after so many months of it being hidden behind construction hoardings. Special guests, Minister for Consumer Affairs, the Hon Michael O’Brien, and Margaret Gardner AO, President of the Museums Board of Victoria, snipped the ceremonial purple ribbon and declared the garden open.

Guests at the garden opening Guests at the garden opening. L-R: Dr Patrick Greene, CEO of Museum Victoria; Dr. Anne-Marie Schleich, German Consul General; Professorr Margaret Gardner AO, President of the Museums Board of Victoria; the Hon Michael O’Brien, Minister for Consumer Affairs and the Right Hon the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle.
Image: Heath Warwick
Source: Museum Victoria

Please come and admire the new garden with its restored iron gate, reinstated urns and stately plantings on your next visit to Carlton.

Performers in period costume Performers in period costume test out the new garden.
Image: Heath Warwick
Source: Museum Victoria

Comments (3)

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Grant 28 February, 2011 21:32
What happened to the German kiosk?
Kate C 1 March, 2011 10:11
Hi Grant, thanks for your question. You can look back over the project blog posts tagged with 'kiosk' to see what was uncovered during the archaeological dig. We found the footings but they didn't provide much information other than the footprint of the original kiosk. The much longed-for photos, drawings or plans never materialised, so an accurate reconstruction wasn't possible. We're still planning what to do with the kiosk site.
Tim 2 March, 2011 00:09
Great pictures! Thanks for the post.
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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.