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The Rex Hazlewood Rose Garden

Old Parliament House Gardens - The Rex Hazlewood Rose Garden

This rose garden is the largest of the Old Parliament House Rose Gardens and the first to be planted in 1931. The rose garden was designed by Rex Hazlewood as the result of a meeting between Robert Broinowski (Secretary of the Joint House Department and Usher of the Black Rod) and representatives of the National Rose Society of New South Wales.

Hazlewood was a man of wide-ranging interests. A self-taught professional photographer, he served in Europe during World War I. While on leave in England , he spent time studying the English landscape. In the 1920s, he became interested in landscape design and eventually gave up photography to work for his brothers at Hazlewood Brothers Rose and Tree Specialists in Epping, Sydney.

Short of funds, Broinowski devised a scheme for Australians to contribute roses for the parliamentary gardens. Donations were received from staff of the House of Representatives, Senate, Parliamentary Library and Joint House Department, together with parliamentary press reporters. Signs were erected to recognise the many organisations and individuals who had donated roses. It is thought that the English cricket team, visiting Canberra in 1933, also contributed roses.

Roses and Design

The Rex Hazlewood Rose Garden has been reconstructed to its original 1931 layout and portrays the international history of rose cultivation. There are more than 40,000 roses registered internationally. This rose garden is a representative display of the extensive hybridisation which has taken place globally over centuries.

The western half of the Rex Hazlewood Rose Garden includes early European rose varieties and hybrids of rose species native to southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean . These include the Gallica, Damask and Alba roses grown since ancient times, the sixteenth century Centifolia roses and the later Moss and Portland roses.

The early Asiatic roses are located in the eastern half of the Garden and include the China roses bred in China before their arrival in Europe during the eighteenth century. Those roses derived from rose species native to China represented in the collection include the Tea, Noisette, Bourbon and Rugosa roses (from northern Japan and Siberia ), Hybrid musk and Polyantha roses.

ast meets West at the central beds of the Garden, with the culmination of cross-breeding resulting in the Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses. Those roses grown by internationally renowned Australian rose breeder, Alister Clark, are planted at the centre of the Garden. Clark 's roses were bred for Australian conditions.