This HO covers the remnant central tower of former conservatory building.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RECOMMENDATION TO THE HERITAGE COUNCIL:
That the place NOT be included in the Victorian Heritage Register under Section 32 (1)(b) of the Heritage Act 1995.
The Heritage Council may wish to consider exercising its powers under s.42(1)(d)(i) of the Heritage Act 1995 and refer this recommendation to the City of Melbourne for consideration for an amendment to the planning scheme.
This recommendation report has been issued by the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria under s.32 of the Heritage Act 1995. It has not been considered or endorsed by the Heritage Council of Victoria.EXTENT OF NOMINATION
All of the site currently designated as the System Garden; see site diagram extracted from the Conservation Management Plan of 2011 (below).
It is the view of the Executive Director that this place should not be included in the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) because it is not a place of state level heritage significance. The Heritage Council may wish to refer the recommendation and submissions to the City of Melbourne for consideration for an amendment to the planning scheme; or determine that it is more appropriate for steps to be taken under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 or by any other means to protect or conserve the place.
A NOTE ON INTEGRITY AND INTACTNESS
The intactness and integrity of the University of Melbourne System Garden has been dramatically compromised since the 1920s. The garden is a greatly reduced remnant of a large nineteenth century system garden and it contains an extremely limited number of elements and features. It is now 40% of its original land size, reduced from 1.5ha to 0.6ha, resulting from the encroachment of buildings. It has very limited capacity to be read as a heritage system garden and demonstrate the histories with which it is associated.
The place now functions and reads as a hybrid garden space consisting of:
A contemporary system garden of a modern design, containing 21 separate beds, representing 15 different subclasses and additional plant groups, and displaying around 100 different plant families. It should be noted that the current systematic planting beds have no relationship with their nineteenth century form in their shape, form or fabric. The current planting bed layout reflects a modern design.
An amenity (recreation) garden, including associated elements such as lawn areas for passive recreation, seating and plants in pots. None of these elements are part of the original design.
Within this modern hybrid garden space, a heritage system garden (as opposed to a contemporary system garden) is no longer clearly evident in the form or fabric of the place. It should be noted that nineteenth century systems gardens do not typically contain expanses of lawn, although systems gardens may be located within broader botanical gardens. Lawns are characteristic of amenity (recreation) gardens.
List of features and elements that have been demolished, lost or removed
The following no longer survives at the University of Melbourne System Garden.
Approximately 0.9ha of land including a large part of the original garden and an outer 4.5m-wide roadway.
A continuous hedge around the perimeter.
A ring of open space between the hedge and the outer roadway most likely once containing pine trees.
The striking circular form with garden beds laid out in series of concentric circles radiating out from a large central conservatory building featuring:
concentric paths approximately 2.3m wide alternating with three concentric rings of beds each approximately 9m wide.
segments of varying size divided radially by other paths contained within the concentric rings.