The Australian Inland Botanic Gardens in Mildura, Vic, has been carefully nurtured by enthusiastic locals for more than 30 years.

Story + Photos Andrew Hull  

The broad olive-green serpent of the Murray River funnels the freshly melted alpine snow from the Great Dividing Range south and west, dividing the states of NSW and Victoria, and creating a fertile band of productivity along both its banks. Beyond the Riverina, the river navigates the semi-arid rangelands that fringe the great deserts of the continental inland, and the fertile zone becomes that much more pronounced, edged as it is by red dirt, sand dunes, mallee, low shrubs and broad grasslands. 

Here, in the green oasis known as Sunraysia, the alluvial flood plains and sandy loams, combined with the dry climate, heat and available water, have created the ideal conditions for the production of grapes, citrus, dates, avocados, almonds and every form of market garden. 

Nestled among this powerhouse of production, on the NSW side of the river, is a 150ha sprawl of garden beds, paths, ponds and plants with associated seating, amenity buildings, signage and sculpture. The Australian Inland Botanic Gardens is a vast collection of plants, trees, flowers and shrubs, with dedicated beds from Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America, as well as a huge array of Australian natives. Rare, if not unique in Australia, the operation is owned and managed by a group of volunteers, who have been operating, curating and growing the garden for over 30 years.

This story excerpt is from Issue #152

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2024