During the time of Gondwana there was an extraordinary evolution of plants and animals. The islands and subcontinents shifted north and climates changed. The forests evolved, the dinosaurs came into being, and the heaving crashing of the tectonic plates formed mountain ranges and gulleys, lakes and rivers. The climate and environmental conditions allowed life to flourish in the great southern land of Gondwana. Combining extensive science and botanical knowledge with creative experiences, including state-of-the-art audio-visual technology, visitors will be immersed in the story of how life evolved from the beginning of time.
Whilst the world has changed dramatically, some things remain the same. The coal mined from Wonthaggi was once polar dinosaur habitat, and the polar dinosaurs lived under the same Southern Lights that are still be seen along the Bass Coast. Scientists believe there was something special about this polar environment that enabled some dinosaurs to continue to thrive, long after they had become extinct elsewhere in the world. Understanding the environment helps scientists understand the dinosaurs themselves. Understanding the environment helps scientists understand the dinosaurs themselves. Gondwana Garden will explore this science through immersive, sensory experiences.
"The Bass Coast region is rich in a biodiversity that has existed since a time before the dinosaurs. Our design is a showcase of the landscapes of the polar dinosaurs. It connects a pre-historic past and our post-historic future, a garden to experience science, time, botany and technology at any pace you like."
From the very beginning of life, to the age of dinosaur extinction 65 million years ago, this immersive garden will take visitors on a journey through time. Filled with ancient trees and plant life, visitors will brush up against plants like those that dinosaurs once ate. Dino-tucker; just imagine!
This stunning garden will immerse visitors in a strange and wonderful place. Cool and damp, you will find the most primitive of plants that have evolved over many hundreds of millions of years, and are still thriving today.
The garden’s Gingko leaf fossil design, will invite visitors to explore. If you bring your technology, you will be able to hear the growls and snuffles of the Jurassic dinosaurs. As you explore you will discover that trees are same trees dinosaurs would have eaten. They are not distant cousins, but the same trees. Wow!
Plants such as the Gingko, Wollemi, Metasequoia, and Monkey Puzzle trees date back to the Gondwana. Today, they are threatened with extinction and require horticultural cultivation to secure their survival. These coniferous trees are slow-growing and long lived, so your children and grandchildren will be able to visit in the future and stand alongside the same trees that you will see in this garden.
The Nectar garden celebrates the early flowering plants. The emergence of the first flowering species heralded a new era of plants that would go on to dominate the planet. Their origins began on the Gondwana. As continental drift progressed, and climatic variation ensued, unique floral forms evolved. Today, the flowering plant families from Gondwana are found throughout Australia, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, Arabia, Southern Africa, Madagascar, and South America.
This crater-shaped gathering place is inspired by the Cretaceous Extinction Event – a giant meteor crashed to earth which contributed to the end of the dinosaurs, 65.5 million years ago.
In and around the crater space you can sit and picnic in the sun, lie back and relax on the slopes, or kick a ball with your friends. The Crater is also a place for stargazing, special events, and will host special projection shows at night. From the rim of the crater, you will be able to look back to the other end of the Gondwana Garden where your journey first began.
As you meander this garden, you will gain a new appreciation for these .05 survivors – including rare, vulnerable and endangered species. You will gain a deeper appreciation of the incredible story of the Gondwana Garden, and how these remarkable plants have evolved for hundreds of millions of years. This garden also serves as a stark reminder of our responsibility to care for and nurture our fragile environment. We must reverse alter our current environmental trajectory, or we might end up back in the primordial soup.