History of the Botanic Gardens

Find a place with clear blue skies, deep sandy red loam dunes, and a 50 million-year old river winding through it. Add a semi-arid woodland ecosystem studded with ancient Mallee eucalypts, some of which probably saw their first light 2000 years before Europeans reached Australia.

Into this starkly beautiful environment, with its superb climate and natural assets, bring a can-do community of volunteers, energised by a vision of a unique resource for tourism, leisure, education and research.


Photos of early works at AIBG


Welcome to the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens, near Mildura. Mildura is the hub of the rich Sunraysia horticultural region, Australia’s first irrigation settlement, founded by Canadian brothers William and Benjamin Chaffey in 1880. The Chaffeys recognised the potential of the region’s deep, sandy soils, sunshine and semi-arid (

Sunraysia’s climate and soils are ideal for growing an enormous diversity of native and exotic plant species.

CSIRO horticultural scientists working in Merbein conceived the idea of a local, regional, botanic gardens more than 50 years ago. In the 1980s, former Mildura mayor Councillor Kay Gambetta, convinced the city council to support their idea. Cr Gambetta was the founding president of the Gardens’ committee of management.

The committee of 12 eventually selected a 152-hectare site on a former grazing lease on the NSW side of the Murray River just downstream from Mildura at Mourquong, about 20km upstream from its confluence with Australia’s other great river, the Darling. Wentworth Shire Council joined hands across the border with Mildura City Council to back the project and development began in 1988.


Young roses in the colour wheel with new growth.

The AIBG is the unique among Australian botanic gardens in displaying plants from around the world by their continent, country or region of origin.

The Australian sections are organised by state, and feature species from the vast, dry interior of the continent where rainfall averages less then 250mm (10 inches) a year. As well as some from sub-tropical areas.

Over the years since the first plantings in 1991 by Lady and Sir Ninian Stephan former Governor General of Australia, the AIBG has grown in more ways than one. We have relocated Garnpang Homestead to become our coffee and gift shop. Regularly staffed by our wonderful volunteers it is a place to sit and enjoy a cappuccino whilst browsing in our historical shop.

‘Magenta in the Gardens’ is our stunning function centre. A restored and relocated shearing shed, made from beautiful Murray Pine posts which show some of the history of the shearing shed in action. Once again relocated to the AIBG by volunteers, it is a great location for a wedding reception, corporate conference or birthday celebration.

Now, Peaka Station’s former Homestead has been relocated and reborn as our kitchen and training room. As it is also a building from the 1860s it looks like it has been here all along!