The Botanic Museum, Adelaide SA

The Museum Of Economic Botany SA

Built in 1879, the Museum of Economic Botany in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, is the only museum of economic botany in Australia and one of the very few in the world. It was inspired by Sir William Hookers example in the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, and was said to be the first public building in South Australia in the Attic style.

It was designed by the Government’s Architect-in-Chief, E. J. Woods and built under his superintendence. When opened in 1880 was stated to be the first public building “in the Greek style” in Adelaide and measures 104ft by 40ft wide and 25ft high. The contractor was Charles Sanders of Jeffcott Street North Adelaide.

The entrance is emphasised by a portico and some steps. Six eight foot high windows flank the entrance and three windows face west on the western face. The building is notable for its beautiful, delicately detailed stencil-painted ceiling, and its period character.

Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide - Heritage Reconstruction Work

Together with a traditional display of hundreds of different fruits arranged systematically, displays show natural gums and resins, the history and uses of cocoa and tea, and native timbers. It was officially reopened on the 30th May 2009 after a $1.5m restoration. The building underwent a year of refurbishment to reconstruct its original colour schemes and antique display cases. The works also included the creation work space for Botanic Gardens staff and volunteers to undertake new research and projects. Lancaster Painters Australia reconstructed the original heritage paintwork, colour schemes, designs including hand painted stencils, and gilding – the application of 24 karat gold leaf.