26 September 2023

Audio tour showing the Gardens’ way

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Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria has launched a new free audio tour exploring the scientific legacy of the Gardens’ first director, Baron Ferdinand von Mueller.

In a statement, the Gardens said the part of Dr Mueller in its Flora and the Baron audio tour was played by actor from Bowerbird Theatre, Brian Lipson and based on the Baron’s personal writings.

“Visitors can journey through Melbourne’s beloved Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria under the audio guidance of Baron Ferdinand von Mueller – eccentric outsider, global scientific powerhouse and the Gardens’ first director from 1857-1873 – as he time-travels into present-day Melbourne Gardens in the audio tour,” the Gardens said.

“With a smartphone and headphones, visitors can scan a QR code and stream the free 50-minute audio tour at any time during Gardens’ opening hours,” it said.

Director and Chief Executive of the Gardens, Tim Entwisle said the audio tour was a fantastic way to spend more time in nature and discover the Gardens’ history.

“Cut off from his beloved Gardens for the last 20 years of his life in self-imposed exile, the Baron returns to delight in the beauty of the plants, revel in his scientific legacy and entertain us with stories from his remarkable life,” Mr Entwisle said.

He said Dr Mueller was appointed as Victoria’s first Government Botanist in 1853 and established the National Herbarium of Victoria that same year.

“From then until his retirement in 1896, he built the foundations of what is today one of Australia’s most important dried plant, algae and fungi collections – the State Botanical Collection, recognised internationally as an important resource for scientists, researchers and more,” he said.

“Although he did much to encourage the productive use of native flora, he is forced to confront the environmental havoc produced from his own actions, such as introducing blackberries and the larger, lasting impact of colonisation,” Mr Entwisle said.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s Flora and the Baron audio tour can be accessed at this PS News link.

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