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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Contents >> Culture and recreation >> Botanic gardens, zoological parks and aquariums

Botanic gardens and herbaria

Botanic gardens are scientific and cultural institutions established to collect, study, exchange and display plants for research and for the education and enjoyment of the public. Some botanic gardens have an associated herbarium, which is a scientific collection of dried preserved plant specimens used for research and the accurate classification and identification of plants and plant material. Many recently established gardens operate under the auspices of local government or community groups and have a native plant and conservation focus.

There are major botanic gardens in each capital city, and these are managed by the respective state or territory government, with the exception of Brisbane (which is managed by the City Council) and Canberra (which is managed by the Australian Government). The Booderee Botanic Gardens at Jervis Bay is also managed by the Australian Government on behalf of the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land, the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council, under arrangements in place since December 1995.

The Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens, with its secretariat located at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, coordinates the liaison between the various botanic gardens in Australia and represents these gardens in national and international matters.

The Council of Heads of Australian Herbaria coordinates the liaison between the various herbaria. This body is also responsible for 'Australia's Virtual Herbarium', a web site which links the databases of all the eight major herbaria and will eventually provide information and locational data for over six million plant specimens on the Internet. The Australia's Virtual Herbarium web site address is <http://www.anbg.gov.au/avh>.

The Australian National Botanic Gardens occupies a 90-hectare (ha) site on the lower slopes of Black Mountain in Canberra. It contains the national collection, and one of Australia's most comprehensive displays, of living native plants. Officially opened in 1970, it was proclaimed a Commonwealth Reserve in 1991 and is managed within the framework of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (Cwlth). The Australian National Botanic Gardens maintains about 100,000 living plants constituting about 7,000 species. It receives about 390,000 visitors each year, with peaks in October for the spring flowering and January for the holiday tourist season. It is on the Register of the National Estate in recognition of its importance as a research- and teaching-based botanic garden established to display and interpret Australian flora.

The Australian National Herbarium, containing dried specimens of the living plants in the Gardens, is managed jointly with CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Plant Industry as part of the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research. It currently houses about 1.32 million herbarium specimens.

Additional information about botanic hardens and herbaria in Australia can be obtained from the web sites: Australian National Botanic Gardens at <http://www.anbg.gov.au>, Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens at <http://www.chabg.gov.au>, Directory of Australian Botanic Gardens and Arboreta at <http://www.chabg.gov.au/bg-dir>, and Resources of Australian Herbaria at <http://www.chah.gov.au/resources>.

Attendance at botanic gardens

The 2002 Survey of Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events showed that 41.6% of the Australian population aged 18 and over (6.0 million people) attended a botanic garden at least once in the 12 months prior to interview (table 12.7). In 1999, the attendance rate by adults was 36.4% (5.1 million people).


12.7 ATTENDANCE(a) AT BOTANIC GARDENS - 2002

Attendance rate(b)
%

Males
40.0
Females
43.2
Persons
41.6
Age group (years)
18-24
42.6
25-34
45.5
35-44
43.4
45-54
41.4
55-64
42.2
65 and over
33.1
Birthplace
Australia
40.4
Main English-speaking countries
48.1
Other countries
42.8

(a) Attendance at least once in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002.
(b) The number of people who attended, expressed as a percentage of the number of people in that population group.
Source: Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2002 (4114.0).

The ABS Botanic Gardens Census estimated that during 1999-2000 there were 11.8 million visits to botanic gardens. This estimate includes visits by Australian adults, children, and people from outside Australia, as well as multiple visits by individuals. The six largest botanic gardens (i.e. those employing 50 or more persons) accounted for 61.9% of these visits at an average of 332,000 visits per location.

Botanic gardens industry

The ABS Botanic Gardens Census in respect of 1999-2000 found that there were 72 employing organisations operating botanic gardens at the end of June 2000. The operations of these organisations covered 3,664 ha, comprising 3,050 ha of botanic gardens and 614 ha of arboreta. The organisations employed 1,250 people at the end of June 2000 and utilised the services of 1,991 volunteers during the month of June. Many of the smaller botanic gardens have few or no staff, and are particularly reliant on volunteers for their operation. There were 54 organisations which employed nine or fewer people, and these organisations employed a total of 156 people at the end of June 2000, and used the services of 871 volunteers during the month of June.

Zoological parks and aquariums

Zoological parks and aquariums (i.e. animal, fauna, bird life and reptile parks, aquariums, aviaries, butterfly houses and dolphinariums) are primarily engaged in the breeding, preservation, study and display of native and/or exotic fauna in captivity, enclosures or natural environments, that are made accessible to the general public.

The first zoo in Australia, the Melbourne Zoo, was founded in 1857. There are now zoos and wildlife sanctuaries throughout Australia. As well as the four traditional zoos in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, there are numerous wildlife parks and sanctuaries, some of which are associated with urban zoos and others which are privately owned. Some of the better known zoological parks and sanctuaries are Taronga Park (Sydney), Healesville Sanctuary (60 km from Melbourne), the Western Plains Zoo (Dubbo), Victoria's Open Range Zoo at Werribee (a Melbourne suburb), The Territory Wildlife Park (Darwin), Monarto Zoological Park (70 km from Adelaide), Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (Brisbane) and Currumbin Sanctuary (Gold Coast).

The Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA) was formally established in 1990. A key purpose of the association is to harness the collective resources of zoos and aquariums to help conserve biodiversity in the natural environment. More information on conservation programs and activities with ARAZPA involvement can be obtained from the web site, <http://www.arazpa.org.au>.

Attendance at zoological parks and aquariums

The 2002 Survey of Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events showed that 40.0% of the Australian population aged 18 and over (5.8 million people) visited a zoological park or aquarium during the 12 months prior to interview (table 12.8). Of these, 56.3% (3.3 million people, or 22.6% of the Australian population aged 18 and over) visited a zoo at least once during the year. In 1999 the attendance rate by adults at zoological parks and aquariums was 33.8% (4.8 million people).

12.8 ATTENDANCE(a) AT ZOOLOGICAL PARKS AND AQUARIUMS - 2002

Attendance rate(b)
%

Males
38.3
Females
41.8
Persons
40.0
Age group (years)
18-24
43.2
25-34
51.9
35-44
49.1
45-54
36.7
55-64
32.8
65 and over
20.1
Birthplace
Australia
39.9
Main English-speaking countries
46.2
Other countries
36.7

(a) Attendance at least once in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002.
(b) The number of people who attended, expressed as a percentage of the number of people in that population group.
Source: Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2002 (4114.0).

Zoological parks and aquariums industry

An ABS survey of the zoological parks and aquariums industry, in respect of 1996-97, showed that there were almost 8 million paid admissions to zoological parks and aquariums during that year. At the end of June 1997, there were 65 businesses in this industry, comprising 53 zoological parks and 12 aquariums. There were 1,946 persons employed in the zoological parks and aquariums industry at the end of June 1997. Full-time employees accounted for 65.2% (1,268) of total employment. A further 1,591 persons worked for zoological parks and aquariums on a volunteer basis during June 1997. The majority of these volunteers (75.0%) worked as guides and information officers.

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