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Culture and heritage

Members of the Ferny Creek Horticultural Society formed the Australian Rhododendron Society in 1960 and approached the Forests Commission for a suitable site to establish a rhododendron garden. A 20ha site, extended to 40ha in 1975, was selected from the Olinda State Forest on the eastern ridge of Mount Dandenong. In 1995, the National Rhododendron Gardens came under the management of Melbourne Parks and Waterways (now Parks Victoria).

In 2017 the garden was renamed as the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden. This recognised how the garden had evolved and now has botanic significance with a diverse collection of plants. The garden boasts a large collection of rare and exotic plants, many of which are endangered, and adapted to the cool-climate of the Dandenong Ranges.

The garden is classified ‘botanic’ by the ‘Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand’ and ‘Botanic Gardens Conservation International’, in that the collection is:

  • Diverse
  • Labelled and interpreted
  • Open to the public
  • Used for scientific research