Winner Projects Over $150,000


Arid Garden Interpretation and Storytelling: Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

The Arid Garden at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s Melbourne Gardens is a recently redeveloped cactus and succulent garden located on the eastern end of Melbourne Gardens. Inside, we share the heart-warming and inspirational story behind many of the spectacular plants in this garden. Between 2015 and 2016, the Field family from northern Victoria, handed over plants that were like members of their family to the Gardens for safeguarding and display. Spanning two generations, this collection was of such extraordinary depth and diversity that it deserved careful consideration, in both landscape design and storytelling.

Melbourne Gardens horticulture, design, storytelling teams and collaborators, worked together with the Field family to design this new space and the interpretation within to showcase and share this collection in a space where design and storytelling seamlessly intersect, each supporting the other.

The Arid Garden tells a story of the power of collecting and childhood wonder; celebrates the intriguing adaptations of a group of plants; and explores how plant form and function inspire architecture, art and design.

The storytelling connects deeply and powerfully, is unexpected, curious, colourful and playful.

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV) worked with Fiona Rice and Alex Miles in developing the stories and interpretation for the Arid Garden, creating a beautiful, memorable, accessible and immersive experience into the intriguing world of cacti and succulents.

Case studies can be found here

Judges Choice: Projects Over $150,000


Ancient Landscapes: Thylacine Design

The Ancient Landscapes Gallery is a place-based, permanent exhibition that invites visitors to explore the multi-layered significance of the Wellington Caves Reserve.

Using large-scale immersive multi-media, objects, and interactivity, the Gallery offers visitors an insight into the changing face of the site. Visitors travel from the deep past to today, through four key themes—the Devonian, the Pleistocene, the Wiradjuri First People, and the recent past. Each theme is framed as a snapshot into a particular moment in time, as though looking through a window, with the landscape of the Caves Reserve the one consistent point of reference.

The goal of the Gallery was to contextualise the 400-million-year history of the site, and its multiple levels and periods of significance, and to make them accessible to visitors. It was developed in collaboration with scientists and subject experts across Australia and has been designed with a focus on making scientific history immersive, exploratory, and fun.

The Ancient Landscapes Gallery is a stand-alone, permanent gallery within the Visitors Centre of Wellington Caves Reserve, NSW.

Case studies can be found here


Highly Commended: Projects $15,000 – $50,000


Golden Land: The story of Food Production in Gawler, Gawler Cultural Heritage Centre

The exhibition Golden Land: The Story of Food Production in Gawler celebrates the food that has been cultivated, harvested and produced in this region.

The exhibition explores part of the complex history of food production in Gawler from the Kaurna community’s self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle to the industrial-scale production of wheat, eggs, dairy and brewed beverages. Gawler has played a pivotal role in feeding not just locals but export markets across Australia and internationally.

The objective of this exhibition was to attract intergenerational audiences to the Cultural Heritage Centre to share their memories of kitchens from their past and to celebrate the role food plays in our lives. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the scale and innovation of historical industries that were once fundamental to the success of the town but are no longer part of the local economy.

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Highly Commended: Projects $15,000 – $50,000


The Blade: Australia’s love affair with lawn: Synthetic Creative Services

A Carrick Hill touring exhibition

This exhibition explores why Australians love lawn. Australians love gardens and gardening, and lawns are one of our most enduring landscape features. For over two centuries this much-loved use of grass has survived changes in horticultural fashions and environmental conditions.

The AGHS partnered with the Australian Museum of Gardening (part of Carrick Hill Historic House and Garden in Adelaide) to mount a national touring exhibition on a gardening subject aiming to attract a broad visitation. The lawn mower in all its manifestations is part of our national cultural life and an icon in Australian social history, exemplified by the Victa. The exhibition aimed to explore the Gardening Museum’s collection including 23 lawn mowers and hundreds of tools related to lawn grooming and care from the past century. The design brief emphasised creating a self contained exhibit offering both enjoyment and understanding of the subject: lawn and mowing. Humour was to be used as a key tool in bringing the exhibit alive with the pun in the title setting the tone. Although the invention of the lawn mower in 1830 was a game changing moment, the team understood that not everyone is inspired by this fact.

The exhibition is a part of the 40th Anniversary of the Australian Garden History Society promoting awareness and conservation of significant gardens and cultural landscapes.

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