Camden Park estate is home to one of Australia’s most important and well preserved colonial gardens, covering an area of over 6 hectares
The commencement of the garden began in the early 1820s, well before the construction of the main house. John Macarthur sought to create a gentleman’s garden, showcasing a successful family enterprise; however, it was John’s son William that is largely attested to have contributed largely to the development and expanse of the garden.
A keen botanist, William acquired plants from ports of call such as Oratava in the Canary Islands and Cape Town in South Africa. Many of these species introduced into Australia remain rare, whilst others have become common ornamental, with others becoming naturalised weeds.
“...his real interest was in growing useful, unusual, exotic and beautiful plants for their own sake as well as for their utility. He established his first garden at Camden in 1820. More than 3,000 species, hybrids and cultivars were grown in the gardens up to 1861...”
The lower garden with five acres in extent was completed by 1830 with a collection of vegetables, fruit trees, ornamental trees, shrubs and flowers, laid out in a formal geometric pattern with raised graveled walks.
William’s skill as a horticulturalist became well known throughout Australia, and later Britain and Europe. By 1843 William published a catalogue of plants grown in Camden, and began an extensive wholesale and retail nursery business, of which 150 pounds was profit. Also notable, the Camden Park nursery helped to establish the wine industry within Australia, providing the beginnings of notable wine areas within the country.
The Camden Park garden is open for visitors on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of September, with tickets available at www.camdenparkhouse.com.au