Wollongong Botanic Garden has a long, interesting history. The site was originally inhabited by local Aboriginal peoples, the Dharawal, who occupied the land for tens of thousands of years and remain the Custodians of the Land. After European settlers arrived in the 1800s, the land was mostly used for farming. It changed hands several times, before being bought by the Hoskins family in 1929. The Hoskins built their home Glennifer Brae on the site in the late 1930s, and the house still stands today within the Botanic Garden. In the 1950s, the Hoskins dedicated a large part of their land to Wollongong City Council to create a Botanic Garden. Eventually, the Botanic Garden officially opened to the public in January 1971. Over the years, new collections and features have been added to the Garden and today it is one of Wollongong’s most popular attractions for visitors and residents. As well as providing a place for people to enjoy nature, the Botanic Garden plays an important role in the conservation of local plants.
The traditional Japanese bridge and tea house were presented as a gift to the City of Wollongong from the City of Kawasaki in 1993 to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sister City relationship. The shape of the bridge is called taiko-bashi (drum bridge) in Japanese.
In the background the Mercury Fountain started its life in the centre of Wollongong. Presented to the city by The Illawarra Mercury to mark the newspaper’s 125th anniversary in 1980.