Explore the rich history of Ballarat East by visiting Barkly Square in Barkly Street.

The Gardens were established in 1864 and were of horticultural excellence. Throngs of people flocked to see the seasonal varieties of plants provided by the renowned curators Daniel Laidlaw and John Edwards. In those days, there was no lawn, just a vast array of rare, valuable trees and shrubs with delightful colours. The Gardens were considered an “Oasis in the Desert”. Despite the deterioration, remnants of the old Gardens remain. Fortunately, there are a dedicated group of volunteers who are working hard to revive them. You might consider volunteering!

Take a stroll through the Gardens and you will see the wrought iron fence (1881), the entrance gates (1900) (Note: the Eastern sign wasn’t part of the original gates, it was added after the amalgamation in 1921), the Infant Welfare Centre (1938), two Spanish fir trees planted by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall in 1901. Also, rock walls and terraces were built by sustenance labour during the Depression years (1930s).

There is so much more to explore, such as the first Free Public Library next door (now known as BRMC). The Barkly Square Café can serve you excellent coffee and delicious pastries and sandwiches.

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25 Barkly Street, Ballarat East VIC 3350

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Accessibility Information

  • Actively welcomes people with access needs.

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Across Victoria’s Midwest, we acknowledge that we travel across the ancient landscapes of many First Peoples communities.

These lands have been nurtured and cared for over tens of thousands of years and we respect the work of Traditional Custodians for their ongoing care and protection.

We recognise the past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. As our knowledge grows, we hope that we can learn from their resilience and creativity that has guided them for over 60,000 years.

As we invite people to visit and explore Victoria’s Midwest, we ask that alongside us, you also grow to respect the stories, living culture and connection to Country of the Ancestors and Elders of our First Peoples.


© 2023 Ballarat In The Know. This initiative is funded by the City of Ballarat and Tourism Midwest Victoria.