A NATIONAL museum dedicated to gardening is the newest addition to Australia’s historical archive.
Housed at historic Carrick Hill in South Australia, the Australian Museum of Gardening is an initiative of the Carrick Hill Trust to extend the cultural engagement of the historic house and garden to a wider audience.
The museum, which was established to interpret and present Australia’s achievements in gardening and gardens through a collection of garden tools, artefacts, plant and seed catalogues, books, artworks, toys and other quirky finds collected from across the country, is a partnership between Carrick Hill and the Australian Garden History Society.
The Carrick Hill mansion and its 40 hectares of grounds and formal gardens was left to the people of South Australia by Sir Edward and Lady Ursula Hayward.
A passionate gardener, Lady Hayward designed the formal gardens overlooking the Gulf of St Vincent. Roses remain a strong feature of the gardens with a specialist collection of Alistair Clark roses – many no longer commercially available. The heritage orchard holds over seventy antique varieties of apples and pears.
“Gardens have been part of our culture as a dynamic creative activity and artists in particular have captured our passion for plants and places wherever gardening is undertaken,” said Richard Heathcote, the director of Carrick Hill.
The collection currently comprises over one thousand objects, including a major donation of Old Mole’s Tool Collection by Richard Bird from Armidale, NSW.
The tool collection consists of hundreds of objects from around Australia and the United Kingdom, and will soon be extended with other items including donations of two collections of gardening books which will form part of the gardening research and resource centre within the museum.
The museum within a museum was launched with an exhibition called Endless Pleasure – The art of gardens and gardening, with an accompanying book by acclaimed Australian and international garden expert Trevor Nottle.
According to exhibition curator Caroline Berlyn, she focused on the enjoyment of gardens with a selection of stories, books, artworks, tools, toys, illustrations and garden décor spanning centuries of Australian garden activities.
Trevor Nottle’s book, Endless Pleasure, is a celebration of all things joyful and garden related and a compendium of facts, stories, illustrations and artworks. It includes colour photos of the museum collection, contributions from garden experts, garden writers, food lovers and writers, gallery curators and antiquarians.