What you need to know
We're a large garden with many different areas. Some things are a bit different to other community gardens.
Visiting Warrnambool Community Garden
It's my first time at the garden, what should I do?
Welcome! We're on six acres so it depends on how much time you have. As you walk in the gates there is a big map to show you where things are, you can download the map to use on your phone. There's signage around the site to help explain the different areas, or ask one of the people in the garden and they can help answer questions.
We recommend you come on a Wednesday afternoon during the weekly garden market, you can pick up some fresh fruit, veg, bread and other local delights while you discover.
It's lovely to walk through the communal areas and private plots which will give you inspiration for your own garden. The kids garden next to the garden shelter is a highlight with wicking cubes showing what can be done in a small footprint. You can wander over to the Chook Hilton and see what the flock of hens are up to. Walk down into the quarry and see the sandstone formation and listen for the birds. Make your way towards the HUB and discover the different bush food and natives we grow. The herb patch is another wonderful spot, tucked up behind the HUB building.
Please don't go past the herb patch or the Chook Hilton - this area is out of bounds.
When is the garden open?
Visitors welcome year round anytime the gate is open. This is generally Tuesday 10am-12pm, Wednesday 9am-5pm, Friday 9am-12pm and Saturday 9am-2pm.
How much does it cost to visit?
It's free to enter the garden.
Can I bring my dog to the garden?
Sorry, your fluffy friend needs to stay out of the garden - no dogs allowed.
Can I take a tour?
Sure, we'd love to show you the site. Tours need to be booked ahead, so our volunteers can be available to answer your questions. We offer a wide range of topics, so check out our visits page for more information and to book.
Can I bring my food scraps to compost at the garden?
Sorry, our compost gets enough from the garden so we're not accepting home food waste. We'd encourage you to consider setting up your own compost or worm farm and if you joined as a member would be happy to share how to do this. Otherwise, you can put it in your FOGO collection with the green lid.
Can I take photos?
Yes, you can take photos of the garden for your own use, but please don't take photos of other people, especially children, without their permission. If you do take some photos and you'd like to share, we'd love to see them. Email email@example.com and we might feature them on our social media.
About Warrnambool Community Garden
When was the garden started?
Discussions started in 2005 about creating a gathering place where community could meet, grow, share and learn.
In 2006, Warrnambool Community Garden Inc. formed following a meeting with 65 people.
We secured the site in 2007, chosen for its central location and northerly aspect providing the perfect environment for growing produce with good public access and space for infrastructure development.
We began work on the site in 2009 with swales to control water run-off and the laying of a path to define movement. Then finally in 2010 the first garden areas established.
You can read more of our history and find out how the garden has evolved.
Who owns Warrnambool Community Garden?
The land is owned by Warrnambool City Council but we operate independently of council as a not-for-profit membership association. We have a committee which is elected from members and a convenor (chairperson). As a not-for-profit, all of the profits we make go directly back into the garden, keeping it running and beautiful. We're a registered charity with the focus on supporting our community to be self-sufficient and resilient. If you'd like to support our work, you can make a donation (thank you!).
I'd like to interview someone about the garden, who should I contact?
Please send your enquiry, including details of your project or proposal. Due to our limited volunteer capacity, we may not be able to respond to each of these requests.
How do I set up a garden like this?
The garden was created by many hands over many years. Our local history, location and past use, geography and community have helped shape the site, there is no secret recipe. We'd love to see more gardens across our region and would be happy to help advise. It's a good start to discuss with your council to see what they can do to support community gardens.
Are there other gardens in Warrnambool?
We are lucky to have several beautiful gardens with different styles.
Miura Friendship Garden - Enter off Grafton Road in Albert Park
Backing on to our garden, this area celebrates the sister-city relationship between Miura, Japan and Warrnambool. It was designed using Japanese garden design principles and built using indigenous plants and locally sourced materials.
Warrnambool Botanical Gardens - Corner Queens Road & Cockman Street
Designed by William Guilfoyle in 1879, shortly after he completed the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens. Designed in the classic style, these elegant sheltered gardens feature wide curving paths, ancient trees, a lily pond with ducks, fernery and a band rotunda.
Swan Reserve - Raglan Parade
The native garden was started in the 1970s by Warrnambool members of the Society for Growing Australian Plants. Through the efforts of the Friends of Swan Reserve, it features a banksia bed planted with indigenous varieties of banksias, a rare and endangered species bed and several feature trees.
Pleasant Hill Fletcher Jones Gardens - Corner of Flaxman Street & Raglan Parade.
The gardens surround the former clothing factory of the same name, founded in Warrnambool in 1948. The colourful gardens with heritage roses, once the site of a quarry, also feature Sir Fletcher Jones’ hawker wagon, a waterfall and wishing well.
Are there other community gardens I can visit in the area?
Yes, there are a few garden in the region which you can visit or get involved in.
Port Fairy - 5 Railway Place, Port Fairy VIC 3284
Portland - 81 Henty St, Portland VIC 3305
Camperdown - 6 Gunner St, Camperdown VIC 3260
How do I join?
To become a member, you need to fill out an application form. Once this is approved by the committee, you pay the relevant fee for your situation.
Members can apply for a plot if they'd like to have their own area to garden. Most members join for the friendship and comradery.
How do I donate?
We are very grateful for all of the support we have received over the years from our community.
As a not-for-profit charity organisation we need people like you to support our important work to educate the community on how they can support their own food security.
If you'd like to support our work, you can make a donation (thank you!).
Can I volunteer?
We love our volunteers, they are crucial to keeping the garden running so well. There are lots of different tasks you can help with, from weeding, mowing, maintenance, admin and more. Take a look at our volunteer page for opportunities and more information, then fill out an expression of interest.
Can I get a job here?
We have one part-time employee, our site manager. The rest of the our team are volunteers.
Grow and keep
What grows in the garden?
We grow a wide range of vegetables, fruits and other plants like herbs, bushfood and plants for pollinators.
We try to grow heirloom, non-GMO seeds and share the skills of seed saving to grow locally adapted plants.
Can the garden take chickens?
Unfortunately the garden can't take more chickens. We monitor the flock regularly to maintain harmony and production and need to introduce new chickens slowly at the right time. You can try backyardpoultry.com if you have a lost or unwanted chicken. Or Edgars Mission at www.edgarsmission.org.au
How many chickens does the garden have?
Our flock numbers fluctuate between 12-20 depending on the age of the birds and other circumstances. We don't get rid of chooks that are no longer laying and sometimes joke that is the most luxurious chicken retirement home!
Can I help take care of the chooks?
Yes, members can join the chook crew and help to feed, water and collect the eggs. No experience necessary, you'll get shown what to do if you're keen to get involved.
Can I visit the beehives?
For safety reasons, there is no public access to the hives. If you become a member, there may be the opportunity to learn these skills and take care of the hives.