Our Exciting 2021 Project

An all weather environment is needed to enable our upgraded education program to be rolled out.

Currently our SHBG volunteers are masters of tent city – they erect tents to provide adequate ‘suitable environment of the day’ to visiting school children, however on occasion the weather is too severe even for tents, so the school visit has to be cancelled.

An all weather education facility will allow delivery of education projects for our children, regardless of the weather. Hands on learning all year, during school holidays, out of the weather, in a well-equipped building with a garden backdrop, is essential for both our children and the gardens.

The Education Centre is ready to GO – we just need the money.

Our Vision is ‘to be the leader in displaying and researching both exotic and native flora of the Southern Highlands; advancing the knowledge of horticulture, conservation and sustainability to the wider community’.

About the Project

  • Shovel ready – DA and CC approved.
  • Cost of $650,000 for construction and fit out.
  • Timeline – three months to build, fit out and landscape.
  • Capacity for 60 people.
  • Facilities – kitchenette, audio-visual equipment, NBN connection, powered by solar panels.
  • Varied uses – education, small function space, art exhibitions, gatherings, meetings.

Why the Education Centre is a Priority Project

One of the core aims of a botanic garden is to provide education.

The operation of our education program for adults and children over the last couple of years has been hindered by lack of an appropriate indoor space. Outdoor education is a wonderful experience for kids but that doesn’t take away the need to provide a roof and protection from severe weather elements when needed, especially in the Highlands.

The new Education Centre will enable us to focus on developing a unique children’s education program, without having to worry about the need to cancel if the weather is inclement. We are finalising a plan to expand and improve their experience with hands on learning all year, during school holidays, out of the weather, in a well-equipped building with a garden backdrop, on topics to include:

  • the environment – climate, water as a valuable resource, sustainable living,
  • the sciences – biology, geology, ecology, horticulture, geography, mathematics,
  • arts – drawing, painting, photography, poetry, sculpture, drama.

The Education Centre project is shovel ready now – we just need the money.


Proposed Education Centre


What You Get from Becoming a Founder of the SHBG Education Centre

Giving $10,000, $30,000, $50,000 or more over two financial years will make you a founder of the Education Centre and kick-start this important community facility.

Other donations are very welcome as every $ is important.

Contributions can be tax deductible through FRRR, who generously partner with our gardens. FRRR add a 5% management fee, so you may want to consider adding that 5% fee to your donation so SHBG gets the full benefit of your donation.

A number of local supporters have already led the way by donating and pledging future funds to become founders of this project. You can follow their lead and help make a difference to the future of SHBG. The greater donation you make, the greater recognition you will receive. See the SHBG policy on ‘Recognition for Founders’.

If funds and pledges exceed our project target, they will be used as seed funds for grant applications for our Function & Conference Centre.

How and When to Pledge or Donate

We would like to reach our target of $650,000 by 31 December 2020. But, once we reach $500,000 in contributions and pledges, we can enter contracts to commence the work at any time.

To become a Founder of the Education Centre choose the appropriate link, depending on whether your donation will be tax deductible or not. To make a smaller donation, follow the Donation link.

SHBG Credentials

  • A highly skilled board of directors managing SHBG as a non-profit organisation & registered charity
  • A 21-year lease over the 15-hectare site with Wingecarribee Shire Council
  • Strong track record of project management with substantial development of site
  • Charter to favour local suppliers and contractors
  • Currently hold 4 national plant collections
  • Established nursery and skilled horticultural advice
  • Over 150 volunteers contribute to the gardens on a regular basis
  • Regular events held by SHBG regionally recognised and supported
  • Over $2.5 million invested in garden development to date, raised from community and grants
  • Supported by The Paul Ramsay Foundation for operational expenditure for the past 3 years
  • Attracts over 6,000 visitors to the garden pa
  • Achieved the Guinness Book of Records status for the greatest number of solar lights for Earth Hour

SHBG Major Project List

  • Education Centre – $650,000 – shovel ready – a small building with capacity for 60 people with DA and CC approval, to be a focal point for school excursions and a wide variety of learning as well as for seminars, community functions and events.
  • Botanic Garden – shovel ready (no DA required), QS costed at $15 million, can be staged.
  • Function & conference centre (Visitor Centre) – QS costed at $15 million – substantially shovel ready, a regionally significant building, architectural and environmental merit; flexible spaces for < 460 people.
  • Small projects and business expansion – approximately $200,000.