C. W. Curran, a local storekeeper is claimed to have been the first person to introduce Begonias to Orange. Alf Blowes, who was Mayor at the time, showed interest in these plants and was instrumental in the building of the Conservatory in 1934. The central lantern of the building has ‘Blowes Conservatory’ in leadlight across its side.
The first begonias were donated by the City of Ballarat from the Ballarat Gardens and have been supplemented by the purchase of additional varieties. The collection is on display in the Blowes Conservatory from February until April each year when the plants are flowering.
Open every day of the year from 7.30am until dusk. Entry free. Bus groups welcome.
Cook Park’s History
In 1873 the site of Cook Park was proclaimed as a park and in 1882 was officially named in honour of Captain James Cook.
From the 1870s onwards the first trees were planted resulting in today’s mature specimens. Andrew Patterson was the first curator employed in 1887.
Cook Park was laid out with straight paths and rows of trees, with much of the original design still in place.
Bastick Cottage in the Park
The Caretaker’s Cottage was built in 1887 at a cost of £185.
It was named Bastick Cottage to honour two former Parks and
Gardens Supervisors who, between father and son, gave 90 years
of service to Orange. The cottage now houses the Park Guildry,
which operates as an arts and crafts shop.
The fountain was donated to the people of Orange by local storekeeper James Dalton in 1989 and it’s always held pride of place in Cook Park. The historic fountain includes a lot of decorative detail, including four cherubs and two overflow bowls.
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