The Terra Australis Garden

Terra Australis Graden plan

The Terra Australis Garden, developed by ANPSA, the Australian Native Plants Society, is planned as a stylised representation of the geography of Australia and the diverse flora of this island continent.

We invite you to explore Terra Australis. First, follow the central or inland path along the landform which sweeps through the garden from the tropical north to the temperate south, to simulate the Great Dividing Range.

On each side of the path the varied plant communities south from the columnar basalt geology of Cape York and along the Pacific east coast are displayed. The path rises beside the sandstone formation to the lookout on top of the range. The path then traverses the western plains sloping down from the granite boulder uplands of the Snowy Mountains, Grampians and Tasmania. On the opposite side, the inland slopes and western sand plains extend south and west to the coast.

Be sure to complement the inland experience by following the coastal path around the garden perimeter to fully appreciate the beauty, natural diversity and unique colours of the Australian flora.

Thank you to all of those who assisted ANPSA in any way in the creation of this very special Australian garden.


Australian Native Plants Society Canberra Region Inc
Australian Plant Society Victoria
Australian Plant Society South Australia
Australian Plant Society Tasmania
Australian Plant Society New South Wales
Australian Plant Society Wilson Park (Berwick) Inc
Australian Plant Society Southern Tablelands
Australian Native Plant Society Australia Eremophila Study Group
Angus Stewart
Bronwyn Blake
Christina Kennedy
Cool Country Natives Nursery
Gondwana Nursery
Lawrie Smith
Merricks Nursery
New World Plants Tasmania
Native Plants Queensland
Ros and Ben Walcott
Station Creek Tree Farm


Sponsored by the Australian Native Plant Society Australia (ANPSA) ACT Chapter and designed by Lawrie Smith AM Landscape Architect, the Terra Australis Garden celebrates the varying Australian landscape through landform, rock form, and plant species.

ANPSA caters for people interested in Australia's native flora, whether that interest is simply appreciation of the beauty and diversity of the flora or whether it extends to propagation, cultivation and conservation. The purpose of the garden is to showcase what a more formal garden can look like using native plants.

The garden features a cascading rock pond, a small ephemeral salt lake, a central rock formation representative of the Great Dividing Range, and an extensive range of new Australian native cultivars.

Constructed by Eifer in 2018. Opened by Angus Stewart on 25th November 2018.


The design concept for the Terra Australis Garden conventionalises the basic form of the Australian continent; the oval garden represents the island coastline and the Great Dividing Range sweeps across the continent from north east to south physically expressed in a subtle landform.

Within this geographic form, the design philosophy has been to create and interpret selected environments and plant communities of Australia that are known to be suitable to withstand the rigors of the Canberra climate.

The intent is to invite the viewer to ‘explore’ the flora of Australia by meandering along the pathway from north-east to south-west (or vice versa) crossing the ‘Great Divide’ to experience a representative selection of the flora and land formations of the ‘regions’ traversed.

These ‘regions’ include:

With regard to exploration of Australia’s diverse regions, the perimeter pathway recalls the voyage of discovery around the coastline by many mariners throughout history.

The garden and landscape features

The garden can be entered from both sides, and the main core is surrounded by a perimeter pathway, varying in width between approx. 1 – 2 metres; this variation is more aesthetically pleasing and interesting than a constant width and allows for seating for visitors to take rest.

The central pathway commences at the northern and southern entrance spaces and sweeps in two opposing arcs, between the north-east and the south-west of the ‘continent’. This path also varies in width as it traverses the landform and rises up gently over the ‘Great Divide’.

The rectangular steel panels across the pathway incorporate lines from the poem ‘My Country’ by Dorothea Mackellar.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

Two sandstone seats are located in the central intersection of the two pathway sweeps – one visually related to the sandstone escarpment in the subtropical coast and hinterland region, and the other to the outback region.

The ‘Great Divide’ is created by carefully placed landform throughout the garden to suggest the basic form of the range. The northern section sweeps west in a crescent, higher in the north then grading down quite low near the centre (just as the range does in Queensland). The southern section interprets the range in NSW and Victoria by a reverse crescent commencing from the lower central area sweeping down to the higher south of the Australian Alps.

Superimposed over the Range are three characteristic geological formations, created by natural rock.

The flowing waterway within the sandstone escarpment demonstrates a coastal river system by a rocky cascade originating near the top of the Great Divide and flowing down through the sandstone gorge across the coastal foothills and down to a ‘pond’ and wetland which suggests the east coast bays and harbours.

The ephemeral ‘dry lake’ is the focus of the outback landscape and will contain water after rain but will evaporate just as occurs in nature.

The plant species throughout the garden have been chosen for their unique qualities in representing varying native flora from around Australia. The majority of the plants in the garden have been donated from nurseries from around Australia, and have been carefully selected, placed and planted by ANPSA representatives. There are two large specimen trees in the garden, a Xanthorrhoea glauca and a Macrozamia moorei – both of which are estimated to be hundreds of years old. The garden and plantings will change over time, particularly as a canopy and resulting microclimate start to develop.


In its establishment phase, the garden will require care, particularly for the plants, some of which are experimental for the Arboretum site. Once established however, the garden will require minimal maintenance, as there is no turf and most plants will not require significant pruning. The planting areas are all irrigated.

Species list

Trees and shrubs

Acacia acinacea
Acacia covenyi
Acacia glaucoptera
Acacia howittii ‘Canberry Honey Bun’
Acacia leprosa ‘Scarlet Blaze’
Acacia verticillata
Adenanthos sericeus ‘Platinum’
Banksia spinulosa ‘Cherry Candles’
Banksia spinulosa ‘Coastal Cushion’
Brachychiton populneus
Callistemon ‘All Aglow’
Callistemon ‘Great Balls of Fire’
Callistemon ‘White Anzac’
Chamelaucium ‘Lady Stephanie’
Chamelaucium ‘Paddy’s Pink’
Chrysocephalum semipapposum
Correa baeuerlenii
Correa pulchella ‘Minor’
Dicksonia antarctica
Eleaeocarpus reticulatus pink
Eremophila ‘Beryl’s Blue’
Eremophila glabra ‘Bellalla Gold’
Eremophila longifolia
Eremophila maculata 'Aurea'
Eremophila maculata ‘Compact Lemon’
Eremophila glabra ‘Hello Cocky’
Eremophila longifolia
Eucalyptus leucoxylon ‘Rosea’
Eucalyptus neglecta
Eucalyptus pumila
Eucalyptus puverulenta ‘Baby Blue’
Eucalyptus risdonii
Grevillea ‘Lady O’
Grevillea plurijuga ‘Purple Haze’
Gymnostoma australinium
Hakea francisciana                                                                                                                                                                                       Hakea ‘Stockdale Sensation’
Hakea ‘Pin Ball’
Leptospermum ‘Copper Glow’
Leptospermum ‘Mesmer Eyes’
Macrozamia moorei
Melaleuca thymifolia ‘Pink Lace’
Myoporum floribundum
Olearia aff. lanuginosa
Philotheca ‘Flower Girl’
Pimelea nivea
Prumnopitys ladei ‘Mt. Spurgeon Black Pine’
Rhagodia ‘Grey Edge’
Rhagodia spinescens
Senna barronfieldii
Westringia ‘Deep Purple’
Xanthorrhea glauca

Accent plants and ground covers

Adenanthos cuneatus ‘Flat Out’
Anigozanthos flavidus Landscape Orange
Brachyscome multifida pink
Brachyscome ‘White Delight’
Casuarina glauca prostrate                                                                                                                                                                   Chrysocephalum ramosissimum
Kunzea ambigua prostrate
Lomandra ‘Lime Tuff’
Scaevola ‘Mauve Clusters’
Scaevola ‘Super Clusters’
Stemodia florulenta
Xerochrysum bracteatum Yellow

Xanthorrea glauca and Macrozamia moorei feature prominently in the garden.

Xanthorrea glauca and Macrozamia moorei feature prominently in the garden.

Granite, sandstone and basalt rocks and boulders are used to represent the Australian Landscape.

Granite, sandstone and basalt rocks and boulders are used to represent the Australian Landscape.

Water features symbolise river systems and coastal bays.

Water features symbolise river systems and coastal bays.