Ivanhoe Park Botanic Garden is a hidden gem that covers 1.82 hectares of parkland. Its charm is due to the expansive lawns, majestic and rare tree species and natural and heritage values. The Garden provides a quiet space away from the busy pace of Manly.
Take a stroll along the meandering paths and enjoy the majestic trees and dappled sunshine. Imagine the people who occupied and used the park over the previous centuries.
Ivanhoe Park Botanic Garden is part of a heritage precinct that incorporates Gilbert Park and Manly Oval. It is complemented by a number of heritage listed items including the buildings and trees along Raglan Street and Sydney Road. The area has a fascinating history that is reflected in the character of the park today.
The park was initially called Manly Park. It was held in private ownership and used for recreation and events by the public who generally paid for the privilege. During these years it contained a large pavilion that was used for dances and events, and a hotel – the Ivanhoe Park Hotel (not to be confused with the current Ivanhoe Hotel at the Corso). The Council operated from the hotel building in the park until 1909.
The land was purchased by Manly Council in 1883, and then sold to the state government who handed control over to the Council in 1887. During the 1880s and 1890s, the Manly Wildflower Shows were held at the pavilion, which was demolished in 1893.
Some of the sandstone areas were quarried in the 1890s and drainage works were undertaken. Part of the park was separated off in 1910 and the trees cleared to accommodate a crossing loop for the Spit to Manly tram route. The tramway was completed in 1911 and the first tram travelled along Sydney Road via a horseshoe curve between Crescent and George streets, skirting the western and northern boundaries of Ivanhoe Park before reaching level terrain in Raglan Street.
The last trams ran in 1939, and the tracks were taken up, but a portion of the tramway loop is still visible.
In 1962 the council approved a £50,000 redevelopment at the oval, including a new Girl Guides and kindergarten building in Ivanhoe Park.
The reserve at the western end of the park was renamed Ivanhoe Park Botanic Garden in 2006, after being approved by the Geographical Names Board.
Ivanhoe Park Botanic Garden and the tram loop are heritage listed in the Manly LEP 2014, Schedule 5 Environmental Heritage Items Part 1 - Heritage. Significance: Local. Item Numbers:
- 1162 - Ivanhoe Park (bounded by Sydney Road, Belgrave Street and Raglan Street)
- 1161 - The Ivanhoe Loop (former train track route).
Plans for the Garden
A Masterplan was adopted by Council on 8 August 2017. The masterplan aims to improve opportunities for recreation, provide all-ability pedestrian connections, further enhancements to the botanic garden and protection of historic elements such as the Merrett Historic Gate, old tramway alignment and the ANZAC Memorial.
- A site and tree survey and identification was undertaken in September 2018.
- Labels will be designed and installed for the trees.
- A detailed design plan will be developed to improve pedestrian circulation and all-ability access.
- A botanist or other suitably qualified specialist will be engaged to prepare a planting plan to extend and enhance the botanic garden.
- A plan of management will be developed for the Garden.
You are welcome to be part of these exciting plans for the Garden. The most effective way to participate is through membership of the Friends of Ivanhoe Park Botanic Gardens.
Friends Ivanhoe Park Botanic Garden Inc.
The Friends of Ivanhoe Park Botanic Garden aim to promote and further develop the Garden, commensurate with a first-class botanic garden suited to this prestigious location. Manly attracted 1.1 million visitors in 2016 (Destination NSW YE 2016) and the number of visitors grows each year. Visitors can access the Garden directly from the ferry terminal via Gilbert Park which is part of the heritage precinct.
The Friends group are newly formed and propose to organise outings, events at the Garden, fund raise and engage in volunteer gardening. Joining the Friends group is a great way to enjoy being part of the local community and an opportunity to make new friends. A link to the Friends webpage is provided under Contact Information below including how to join the group.