Are botanic gardens an obsolete folly?

London’s Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew date back to 1759, and the late nineteenth century was the heyday for the Kew gardens and botanic gardens generally. The newly appointed Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Professor Tim Entwisle, will explore if their heyday has passed in a public lecture on Tuesday 26 March 6pm.

Professor Tim EntwisleThe Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and the way they look and work today was shaped by Victorian England. The late nineteenth century, also the time when Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens masterpiece was created, was the heyday of such gardens. Professor Entwisle will talk about the relevance of botanic gardens today, when the major concerns are climate change, drought and a catastrophic loss of biodiversity. He will compare gardens around the world to show what works, and what doesn’t.

Kew Gardens, where Professor Entwisle has worked for the last two years, is an example of an organisation that has embraced the new environmental challenges through its ‘Breathing Planet Program’. At the same time it is doing all it can to attract new visitors and as part of its Victorian legacy, continuing to discover and reveal more about life on our planet. Botanic gardens today should be into curiosity, conservation, and communication.

Professor Entwisle is a La Trobe University alumnus and completed a PhD Biological Sciences (Botany) in 1986. He is an internationally respected scientist and scientific communicator and was the Director of Conservation, Living Collections and Estates, at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK and was previously Executive Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in Sydney.

Enquiries about the lecture may be directed to Kristen Pascoe on 03 9479 2556 or email


What?   Botanic Gardens, an obsolete Victorian folly? 2013 Dean’s Public Lecture, presented by the Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering

When?  6pm, Tuesday 26 March 2013

Where?  West Lecture Theatre 2, La Trobe University, Melbourne Campus

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