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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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Contents >> Culture and Recreation >> Botanic gardens, zoological parks and aquaria

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 that is,. a scientific collection of dried preserved plant specimens used for 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 exceptions of Brisbane (which is managed by the City Council) and Canberra (which is managed by the Commonwealth Government). The Commonwealth also manages the Booderee Botanic Gardens at Jervis Bay 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, with a rotating secretariat, 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 to provide plant information and locational data on the Internet.

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 plants constituting about 7,000 species. It receives about 330,000 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 the 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 1.4 million herbarium specimens.

Attendance at botanic gardens

The 1999 Survey of Attendance at Selected Cultural and Sporting Events and Venues showed that 36.1% of the Australian population aged 15 and over (almost 5.4 million people) attended a botanic garden at least once in the 12 months prior to interview in April 1999 (table 12.7). In 1995 the attendance rate was 38.5% (5.4 million people).


12.7 ATTENDANCE(a) AT BOTANIC GARDENS - 1999

Attendance rate(b)
%

Sex
Males
33.1
Females
39.0
Persons
36.1
Age group (years)
15-17
31.0
18-24
35.1
25-34
40.4
35-44
39.5
45-54
39.1
55-64
33.8
65 and over
27.4
Birthplace
Australia
35.6
Main English-speaking countries
41.4
Other countries
34.8

(a) Attendance at least once in the 12 months prior to interview in April 1999.
(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, Australia, April 1999 (4114.0).


The 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. Further information about botanic gardens, including comparisons with data from the 1996-97 Census, is included in Service industries.

Zoological parks and aquaria

Zoological parks and aquaria (i.e. animal, fauna, bird life and reptile parks, aquaria, 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, to be 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 best known aquarium in Australia is Sea World at Surfers Paradise, Queensland.

The Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA) was formally established in 1990 at Auckland Zoo, New Zealand, and was incorporated in Australia in 1991. The Australian regional office is located in New South Wales. ARAZPA is administered by a board of management, with committees addressing the region's species management program, ethics, budget and policy review, and animal husbandry. There are currently 47 full institutional members, which are zoological parks and aquaria, along with a large number of individual memberships. A key purpose of the association is to promote and maintain professional standards of operation in the zoological industry and to maximise its collective resources for the conservation of biodiversity.

Attendance at animal or marine parks

The 1999 Survey of Attendance at Selected Cultural and Sporting Events and Venues shows that 33.9% of the Australian population aged 15 and over (5.0 million people) visited an animal or marine park during the 12 months prior to interview in April 1999 (table 12.8). Of these, 61.4% (3.1 million people, or 20.8% of the Australian population aged 15 and over) visited a zoo at least once during the year. In 1995 the attendance rate at animal and marine parks was 35.3% (also 5.0 million people).


12.8 ATTENDANCE(a) AT ANIMAL AND MARINE PARKS - 1999

Attendance rate(b)
%

Sex
Males
31.3
Females
36.3
Persons
33.9
Age group (years)
15-17
35.0
18-24
36.0
25-34
44.8
35-44
43.5
45-54
30.1
55-64
25.2
65 and over
16.4
Birthplace
Australia
33.9
Main English-speaking countries
39.7
Other countries
29.8

(a) Attendance at least once in the 12 months prior to interview in April 1999.
(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, Australia, April 1999 (4114.0).


Zoological gardens and aquaria industry

An ABS survey of the zoological gardens and aquaria industry, in respect of 1996-97, showed that there were almost 8 million paid admissions to zoological gardens and aquaria during that year. Admissions income of $69.2m accounted for 48.6% of total income. At the end of June 1997, there were 65 businesses in this industry, comprising 53 zoological gardens and 12 aquaria. These businesses operated from 69 separate locations covering an area of 3,631 ha.

There were 1,946 persons employed in the zoological gardens and aquaria 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 gardens and aquaria on a volunteer basis during June 1997. The majority of these volunteers (75.0%) worked as guides and information officers.

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