• Melbourne
  • RBG

The Fascinating Origin of the Temple of the Winds

There are few celebratory items in the Gardens, other than commemorative trees, but one exception is the Temple of the Winds, designed and erected in a beautifully classical style by botanist, landscape gardener, and master of the picturesque William Guilfoyle in 1901.

It was created as a memorial to Victorian Governor Charles La Trobe, whose foresight led to the establishment of the Gardens. 

Classical designs were often incorporated into the 18th and 19th-century landscape of the gardens as reminders of past ‘golden ages’ of ancient Greece and Rome. Guilfoyle chose to position the neoclassical Temple of The Winds at the highest point in the gardens, in view of the first governor’s home. During travels overseas, he had observed neoclassical monuments in landscape gardens in England and Europe, but chose, however, to make his tribute unique.

The temple features ten columns instead of the more common eight or 12, and moulded Staghorn Ferns (Platycerium superbum) as capitals. Guilfoyle was very familiar with the epiphytic ferns of Australian rainforests and chose to include them in the temple as a representation of his love for Australian flora. 

In recent decades, the dome and pillars of the temple have been carefully restored, but the steps have fallen into disrepair, along with some of the surrounding landscape, and overgrowth has begun to obscure the sweeping river views.

Your donation can make a difference. Click here to donate and prevent lovely historic monuments like the Temple of The Winds from continuing to deteriorate - you generous help will ensure we can preserve the Temple of The Winds and other heritage gems so that future generations can enjoy them. 


Published on