Olive Pink turns 30, ambitious future ahead


Prominent botanist Peter Latz described the Olive Pink Botanical Gardens as a “globally unique treasure”.
It has the world’s biggest collection of Central Australian species, 600 of them, including 33 that are rare or endangered.
Mr Latz spoke at the 30th anniversary of the gardens last Thursday at which curator Ian Coleman announced ambitions plans.
Designs of the plantings will be enhanced to boost numbers of visitors – currently 50,000 a year, about 50-50 locals and tourists – to be lured with a “wow factor”.
There will be a gazebo for functions for up to 70 guests “with a Central Australian flavour” – they’ll gather  in the company of black footed wallabies, coming in to drink from the small pond.
Lighting will be upgraded with a $25,000 grant from Chief Minister Adam Giles.
The planned demonstration gardens – your own back yard with native flora – is likely to be a hit, judging from the response to the plant sale the following morning: It started at 8am with 800 plants of 50 species. An hour later only four species were left.
Mr Coleman says Olive Pink will have a curatorial group consisting of Mr Latz, Peter Jobson, senior botanist of the NT Government herbarium, Scott Pullyblank, curator of NT Desert Park Life sciences, Sarah Roberts of the Charles Darwin University and other leading horticultural and botanical experts of Central Australia.
PHOTO: Chairperson for 10 years Libby Prell, praised by Mr Coleman for performing her job with “expertise and charm, and being a major philanthropist”, addressing guests on Thursday. Mr Coleman is next to Ms Prell. Mr Latz, stroking his beard, is next to dedicated Tweeter Mayor Damien Ryan. Parks Minister Bess Price is seated in the front row, between husband David and daughter Jacinta.


  1. I love the Olive Pink Botanical Gardens but what on earth has happened to the delightful pool located at the base of the surrounding hills?
    Not so long ago this pool, surrounded by palms, was a quiet and beautiful place to rest.
    The shallow pond had some rare and attractive water plants and was alive with insects.
    Now it has been transformed into a concrete monstrosity that looks like it is part of an agricultural aquifer.
    The pond itself is now concrete and a hideous concrete sluice perhaps 20 metres in length has been constructed.
    It looks expensive, and what a waste of money.
    All this is now behind a high fence, surely to prevent its destruction by environmentalists?
    I would personally like to take a sledge hammer to it.
    So tell us Olive Pink, what is this “development” all about and how much did it cost?

  2. Good news story, thanks Erwin, Olive Pink Bot garden a treasure, and reminds us of one of the town’s legendary characters. Good to keep her name alive. And I enjoyed the photo too, familiar faces, good pic of a thoughtful Latzy, he’s on his way to becoming a town legend too.

  3. Olive Pink Botanical Gardens used to be an interesting and informative place to learn about local native species. It is now a down market hippy hangout.
    Trees and plants are neglected or misnamed, and concrete has invaded the landscape.
    I understand this is taxpayer funded. If this is so, I want it sold and my money spent on something more useful to the community, rather than benefit a few brown thumbed greenies.

  4. Hey Green Thumbs and Peter: You got issues, how about you do some volunteer work down there?
    I did volunteer work from 1990 til the beginning of 1994 … where were you?
    It’s all well and good to have a go from the safety of your keyboard … it’s a lot harder to get the mattock out and pull buffel grass by hand in 40 degree heat, or walk around with a 10L spray pack spraying the regrowth!
    I’m sure Libby would love a break from being chairperson and hear your constructive criticisms, or any ideas you have for improvement of the site.
    As for the “pond”, that may have more to do with the interpretation of the “pool” laws than anything the Olive Pink board wanted to happen.
    Yes, it was a natural pond, but due to the depth required for the plant and animal life to survive, maybe it was in conflict with aforementioned laws.
    And it would be an easy bet to win, that you two would be the first to whinge if someone drowned in it!
    Olive Pink is open 7 days a week, get off your keyboard and ask the questions person to person.
    And Peter, were you so quick to have a go, that you did not read the article … pretty clearly states that a new pavilion will be constructed, and money is going to lighting the area, as at present walking to your car after night events can be an interesting prospect on a moonless evening.
    And the brown thumbed greenies? Well, Green Thumb, you have given yourself a nom de plume that suggests you rock in the garden … how ’bout you put your reputation on the line and go down with the growers group to the Desert Park and propagate to your hearts content. No? Too hard? Stinks of effort when it’s more fun to troll?

  5. Louise: Fair enough “it was a natural pond, but due to the depth required for the plant and animal life to survive, maybe it was in conflict with aforementioned laws”.
    But surely it could simply have been fenced off. Concreting the pond has damaged the environment around it, the palms are half dead for a start.
    And why the hideous concrete sluice?
    I would not be surprised if the project cost in excess of $50,000 – and for what purpose?
    Hats off to the volunteers, their work is fantastic but I would be very surprised if any of them like the pond monstrosity.

  6. Crikey, a classic exchange between anonymous critics and someone prepared to put their name to their post.
    Green Thumbs especially, big on slagging-off, not so brave on the name-giving.
    Why not a new nom-de-plume GT, Cowardly Custard would suit.


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