Ironbark Garden

The Ironbarks are iconic in Australian art and literature. Their dense timber is used for railways, bridges and old mining shafts. The very dark trunk’s deeply fissured texture is instantly recognisable to any bushwalker. These once widespread forests have over time made way for agricultural, mining and forestry ventures, leading to them now being termed 'the forgotten forests'. This garden showcases threatened flora which occurs within ironbark communities. These plants survive in incredibly harsh conditions and display a beauty and ruggedness like only Australian flora knows how.

A few interesting points about this collection:

  • Victorian ironbarks are mostly found throughout the Goldfields region, with outlier populations in Anglesea, the Brisbane Ranges, Werribee Gorge, and Central and East Gippsland.
  • Since European settlement, over 75% of vegetation in ironbark regions has been cleared
  • Dense and durable hardwood, the ironbarks are prized by the timber industry.
  • Two ironbark species are found in Victoria - Eucalyptus sideroxylon (Red Ironbark) and Eucalyptus tricarpa (Ironbark).

Key Plants

Red Ironbark & Ironbark

Eucalyptus sideroxylon & Eucalyptus tricarpa

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Rough Wattle

Acacia aspera subsp. parviceps

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Velvet Daisy-bush

Olearia pannosa subsp. cardiophylla

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Anglesea Grevillea

Grevillea infecunda

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Enfield Grevillea

Grevillea bedggoodiana

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Brisbane Ranges Grevillea

Grevillea steiglitziana

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Red Ironbark & Ironbark

<em>Eucalyptus sideroxylon &amp; Eucalyptus tricarpa</em>

The distinctive trunks of these trees line the garden beds and are the dominant trees here. Keep an eye out for younger trees with glaucous foliage.

Notes from the Curator

Scott Levy

Some Eucalypts which share the trait of bark retention (rather than shedding) are colloquially referred to as ironbarks. Over time their trunks develop this deeply fissured appearance, as the dead outer layer is impregnated with kino (botanical gum). In the Ironbark Garden, these trees are deliberately planted close to the path’s edge so that visitors can interact with the highly distinctive trunks. Ironbarks can be found in nearly all parts of Australia, however the two ironbarks found in Victoria (Eucalyptus tricarpa and E. sideroxylon) produce the darkest bark of all. Visitors can compare and contrast with advanced specimens of Eucalyptus caleyi (Caley’s Ironbark) and Eucalyptus crebra (Narrow-leaved Ironbark) also present in the garden but naturally occurring further north in NSW and Queensland.