David Harland appointed Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

The Royal Botanic Gardens Board announced today that David Harland will take up the role of Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria following the retirement of Professor Tim Entwisle in August.

A highly regarded leader in the global biodiversity sector, David has held several executive roles at the internationally renowned Eden Project, a leading visitor attraction and botanic garden located in Cornwall, in the United Kingdom, which comprises two largescale biomes, an outdoor garden and integrated educational programs. He was CEO of the Eden Project during the pandemic 2020-2022 period, overseeing a major reorganisation of the operational, educational and commercial aspects of the business, and as CEO of Eden Project International, has led Eden’s expansion through multiple projects and iterations across the UK and the world.

Royal Botanic Garden’s Board Chairperson, Chris Trotman, said David brings exceptional experience to the role, and a visionary approach to creating and communicating biodiversity projects on a local, national and international level.

“David’s achievements are many, and include the establishment of a horticultural degree program, and shepherding Eden through major expansion and commercial projects, whilst maintaining and protecting its core mission and creative and scientific endeavours.

“David has worked within international public garden and sustainability communities for over ten years, so this is an exciting appointment that will see Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria continue to flourish and make significant contributions to global plant conversation efforts,” Chris said.

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria encompasses the historic Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, an array of research facilities and plays a critical role in conserving and promoting plant diversity and protecting threatened species.

“I am incredibly excited and honoured to be joining the passionate team at RBGV, and to build on the considerable work of the last decades,” David said. “Rarely do you get an opportunity to work with historic 175-year-old and award-winning 20-year-old gardens simultaneously, and I am excited to work towards reaching new audiences, driving forward the Gardens’ important science and education programs and to contributing to debates about how we can help humanity to maintain the interdependence that we have with the natural world,” David said.

“Tim leaves Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in great shape,” Chris Trotman said. “Over the past decade, he has firmly established the Gardens as a vital and much-loved part of Melbourne’s cultural life, and an organisation at the forefront of science, conservation and horticulture in Australia and beyond. He has led award winning tourism initiatives, and actively pursued stronger engagement with First Nations People through learning and innovative new wayfinding signage,” she said.