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The Robert Broinowski Garden

Old Parliament House Gardens - The Robert Broinowski Garden

Robert Broinowski was one of a handful of parliamentary officers who, in May 1927, travelled from Melbourne to Australia 's capital city of Canberra to staff the Provisional (now Old) Parliament House. He was committed to the vision of a grand city of legislation, learning and culture, but he was also very conscious that the dry dust bowl in the Federal Capital Territory was hardly a promising start.

It was Broinowski's challenge to surround the Provisional Parliament House with gardens so that the parliamentarians would not miss the Treasury gardens near their former temporary quarters, the Victorian parliamentary buildings in Melbourne .

As Secretary of the Joint House Department and Usher of the Black Rod, Broinowski sought and obtained the permission of the President of the Senate, Sir Walter Kingsmill, to start a campaign in 1931 for Australians to buy roses for the parliamentary gardens. This was at a cost of one shilling and four pence. The scheme was an immediate success. Bulbs also arrived from Holland and Great Britain , and trees from Canada . Broinowski completed the overall layout of the parliamentary gardens between 1931 and 1938.

Roses and Design

The Broinowski Rose Garden has undergone many changes since it was first conceived by Robert Broinowski in the early 1930s.

The Garden exhibits shrub roses including those roses bred by the English rose breeder, David Austin. The English shrub rose, a cross between Old Roses and either modern Hybrid Teas or Floribundas, is a comparatively new rose which first gained prominence in the 1970s. This rose combines the form and fragrance of older roses with the colour and repeat flowering of the new.

The first of this type, 'Constance Spry', was bred by Austin in 1961 by cross-breeding 'Belle Isis', a light pink, old garden Gallica rose, with 'Dainty Maid', a pale silvery pink and carmine Floribunda rose.