House of Representatives Gardens, Old Parliament House Gardens, Parkes.
Photographed by Martin Ollman.
The Ladies Rose Garden
In 1933, Robert Broinowski (Secretary of the Joint House Department and Usher of the Black Rod) asked Dame Mary Hughes, Dame Enid Lyons and other wives of parliamentarians to support the Ladies Rose Garden. They agreed, and soon commenced gathering donations of one shilling and four pence per rose. Many women contributed roses for the Garden, in particular Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses, which were popular as cut flowers.
When Parliament was in session, thousands of roses and other flowers were cut from the parliamentary gardens and used in Parliament House for floral displays. Throughout the 1930s and after World War II, Members and Senators would also take boxes of flowers cut from the gardens back to their homes, once Parliament had adjourned.
Roses and Design
In the spirit of the 1930s plantings, the Ladies Rose Garden exhibits Hybrid Tea roses and their smaller cousins, the Floribundas.
The roses are arranged by colour in quadrants of white, yellow, red and pink shades. To provide a unifying effect, companion planting of perennial plants in blue shades has been placed amongst the roses.
Hybrid Tea roses emerged in the mid-nineteenth century as crosses between Tea roses, derived from early Chinese breeding, and Hybrid Perpetual roses, derived from the early cross-breeding of Portland, China, Bourbon and Gallica roses. Hybrid Tea roses have large flowers and, typically, pointed buds with large leaves and strong stems.
Originally called 'Poulsen Roses' after the breeder, Floribunda roses were derived by crossing Polyantha with Hybrid Tea roses in 1924. These roses are repeat blooming with flowers grouped in clusters, and they provide a mass of colour over a long season.
Today, the Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses are the most commonly grown roses.
The Macarthur Rose Garden
The Macarthur Rose Garden, planted in 1937, was the last rose garden to be constructed under the direction of Robert Broinowski (Secretary of the Joint House Department and Usher of the Black Rod).
Miss Rosa Sibella Macarthur-Onslow, great granddaughter of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, arranged to donate one hundred red 'Étoile de Hollande' roses to commemorate the major contribution by John Macarthur to the breeding of merino sheep at Parramatta (Elizabeth Farm) and Camden.
A formal grouping of trees in the Macarthur Rose Garden was undertaken in 1933, with pairs of four different species planted: Southern Nettle (Celtis australis), Desert Ash (Fraxinus oxycarpa), Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) and Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos). The Silver Maples, all surviving today, were a gift from the Canadian Government to the people of Australia .
In 1938, fifty 'Shot Silk' roses were donated by Miss Macarthur-Onslow. These were planted in the Ladies Rose Garden, in recognition of Elizabeth Macarthur and her pivotal role in the growth of the Australian wool industry.
Roses and Design
The Macarthur Rose Garden exhibits the Tea, China and Noisette roses, first hybridised during the early nineteenth century – about the same time that John and Elizabeth Macarthur established their garden at Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta.
Tea roses are hybrids of the Chinese rose species R. gigantea and R. chinensis. They are called 'Tea' roses because the flower fragrance resembles that of green tea. Of all rose types, this one is considered to have the most exquisite form and colouration.
China roses, bred from R. chinensis, were introduced from China into the West between 1760 and 1790. As with the Tea roses, industrious French rose breeders of the time quickly began hybridising.
Noisette roses originated when John Champney, of Charleston , South Carolina , crossed a pink China rose with the Musk rose R. moschata. He obtained a large growing shrub with clusters of lightly fragrant pink flowers, 'Champney's Pink Cluster'. A French grower, Phillippe Noisette, planted its seeds and grew 'Blush Noisette' – released in 1814.
A mass planting of red 'Étoile de Hollande' roses (the roses originally donated by the Macarthur-Onslow family) has been reinstated at the centre of the Macarthur Rose Garden.
King George Terrace Entries
Queen Victoria Terrace Entry
Centenary of Women's Suffrage Fountain
Centenary of Women's Suffrage Timeline
House of Representatives Kiosk
Bowling Green & Croquet Lawn
Bowling Green Club House
3 Tennis Courts
Bowling Green Club House
At the commencement of the reconstruction project for the Old Parliament House Gardens, a number of roses of cultural and social significance were identified and removed for reuse in the completed gardens. The roses in this bed comprise a selection of these significant roses, conserved and transplanted in order to retain important elements of the heritage fabric of the gardens. Other heritage fabric, such as rose signs and the bowling green roller, are stored on site. The rose varieties have not been identified.
Acknowledgement of Country
Our work is on the land of the Ngunnawal People, Ngunnawal Country. We pay our respects to their Elders – past, present and emerging.