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Gallop Botanic Reserve, incorporating Cooktown Botanic Gardens

Finch Bay Road, Cooktown

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Cooktown Botanic Gardens (1996); EHP

Cooktown Botanic Gardens (1996)

Cooktown gardens interpretive sign re Banks and Solander (2010); EHP

Cooktown gardens interpretive sign re Banks and Solander (2010)

Cooktown Botanic Gardens (2010); EHP

Cooktown Botanic Gardens (2010)

Cooktown Botanic Gardens entrance (1996); EHP

Cooktown Botanic Gardens entrance (1996)

Nature's Powerhouse Visitor Information Centre at the Gallop Botanic Gardens will provide all the information you need to explore this site. Established in 1878 as the Cooktown Botanic Gardens, it comprises a formal botanic garden, a substantial natural forest and ocean frontage. It commemorates the work of naturalists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on HMS Endeavour who collected and documented botanical specimens from the district in 1770. A century later, Cooktown was the main port for the Palmer River goldfields, receiving mostly Chinese immigrants, who travelled to the goldfields, with many later settling in Cooktown. The Chinese had market gardens here and produced charcoal from timber felled on-site. After the declaration of a botanical reserve, a road was built, a nursery established and trees and shrubs ordered from the Acclimatisation Society in Brisbane. During the 1890s, stone-lined paths, stone-pitched pools and stone-work bridges were built, and the nursery supplied ornamental trees for Cooktown. The gardens suffered in the 1907 cyclone and closed after WWI; however, they were rebuilt in 1979. The site now boasts an exotic plant section, a palm garden, a native plants section and 'Solander's Garden' is used by tourists and locals for recreational and educational purposes.

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Coordinates: -15.47040861, 145.26037303

Full details of this heritage-registered place are in the Heritage register.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
28 February 2023