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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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Contents >> Culture and Recreation >> Botanic gardens, zoological parks and aquaria

Botanic gardens

Botanic gardens and arboreta (tree collections) 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 augment the living botanical displays with a herbarium (a scientific collection of dried preserved plant specimens used for the accurate classification and identification of plants and plant material and for taxonomic studies), and some botanic gardens (those in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney) have annexes to extend the range of cultivated plant displays.

At the end of the 19th century Australia had about 30 botanic gardens. By the beginning of the 21st century there were about 100 botanic gardens (including herbaria) and about 20 significant arboreta. Many of the 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, managed by the State or Territory Governments (except for Brisbane, which is municipal, and Canberra, which is Commonwealth). 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 (CHABG), 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 (CHAH) with a rotating secretariat, coordinates the liaison between the various herbaria. This body is also responsible for 'Australia's Virtual Herbarium' being developed to link the databases of all the herbaria to provide plant information and locational data on the Internet.

The Australian National Botanic Gardens occupies a 90 hectare 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. The Australian National Botanic Gardens maintains about 100,000 plants constituting about 7,000 species, one-third of the vascular plants recorded for Australia. 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 Plant Industry as part of the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research. It currently houses about 1.3 million herbarium specimens.


Attendance at botanic gardens

The 1999 Survey of Attendance at Selected Culture/Leisure Venues showed that almost 5.4 million people (36.1% of the Australian population aged 15 and over) attended a botanic garden at least once in the 12 months ending 30 April 1999 (table 12.6). The Census of Botanic Gardens estimated that during 1999-2000 there were 11.8 million visits to botanic gardens. The six largest botanic gardens (i.e. those employing 50 or more persons) accounted for 61.9% of these visits at an average of just over 332,000 visits per location.


12.6 ATTENDANCE(a) AT BOTANIC GARDENS - 1999

Attendees
’000

Sex -
- Male
2,427.1
- Female
2,952.8
- Total
5,379.8
Age -
- 15 to 24 years
902.4
- 25 to 34 years
1,152.5
- 35 to 44 years
1,146.3
- 45 to 54 years
984.7
- 55 to 64 years
561.9
- 65 years and over
631.9
Birthplace -
- Australian-born
3,869.1
- Overseas-born
1,510.7

(a) Attendance in the 12 months prior to interview.

Source: Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues, April 1999 (4114.0).


Botanic gardens industry

The ABS Census of Botanic Gardens 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 hectares, comprising 3,050 hectares of botanic gardens and 614 hectares of arboreta (table 12.7).


12.7 BOTANIC GARDENS, Key Aggregates - 1999-2000

Units

Organisations at end June 2000
no.
72
Locations at end June 2000 -
- Botanic gardens
no.
74
- Arboreta
no.
24
- Herbaria
no.
25
- Total
no.
123
Hectares at end June 2000 -
- Botanic gardens
ha.
3,050
- Arboreta
ha.
614
- Total
ha.
3,664
Employment at end June 2000 -
- Permanent full-time
no.
971
- Permanent part-time
no.
108
- Casuals
no.
171
- Total
Volunteers during June 2000
no.
no.
1,250
1,991
Income
$m
91.8
Expenses
$m
81.5

Source: Botanic Gardens, Australia, 1999-2000 (8563.0).


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, so as to be accessible to the general public. 'Marine parks' refers to legally declared marine parks such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Great Australian Bight Marine Park. These have been created for conservation purposes, and are treated for statistical purposes as part of the natural environment.

Melbourne was the location of 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 associated with urban zoos and others privately owned. Some of the better known zoological parks and sanctuaries are 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.


Zoological parks and aquaria attendance

The 1999 Survey of Attendance at Selected Culture/Leisure Venues shows that over 5 million people (33.9% of the Australian population aged 15 and over) visited a zoological park or aquarium during the 12 months ending April 1999 (table 12.8). Of these, 3.1 million (20.8% of the Australian population aged 15 and over) visited a zoo at least once during the year.


12.8 ATTENDANCE(a) AT ZOOLOGICAL PARKS AND AQUARIA - 1999

Attendees
’000

Sex -
- Male
2,301.0
- Female
2,747.5
- Total
5,048.5
Age -
- 15 to 24 years
950.3
- 25 to 34 years
1,279.6
- 35 to 44 years
1,264.0
- 45 to 54 years
758.0
- 55 to 64 years
418.2
- 65 years and over
378.4
Birthplace -
- Australian-born
3,687.3
- Overseas-born
1,361.3

(a) Attendance in the 12 months prior to interview.

Source: Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues, April 1999 (4114.0).


Zoological parks and aquaria industry

An ABS survey of zoos, parks and gardens shows that there were almost 8 million paid admissions to zoological parks and aquaria in the 12 months ending 30 June 1997 (table 12.9). Admissions income of $69.2 million accounted for 48.6% of total income.


12.9 ZOOLOGICAL PARKS AND AQUARIA, Key Aggregates - 1996-97

Units

Organisations at end June 1997 -
- Zoological gardens
no.
53
- Aquaria
no.
12
- Total organisations
no.
65
Locations at end June 1997
no.
69
Area of zoos, aquaria at end June 1997
ha.
3,631
Employment at end June 1997 -
- Full-time
no.
1,268
- Part-time
no.
677
- Total employment
no.
1,946
Volunteers during June 1997
no.
1,591
Paid admissions
’000
7,978.8
Income -
- Admissions
$m
69.2
- Other
$m
73.2
- Total
$m
142.4
Expenses
$m
126.9
Operating surplus
$m
16.3
Industry gross product
$m
74.4

Source: Zoos, Parks and Gardens Industry, Australia, 1996-97 (8699.0).


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