The Palmetum is located on Nathan Street in Douglas.
It is a 25 hectare botanical garden that features only one family of plants, the palms.
It has a range of habitats to suit flora originating from the dry topics through to the wet tropical lowlands. In addition to the recreated habitat types, there are expansive lawns and water features frequented by numerous bird species. Large mango trees that shade the rainforest walk are remnants of the areas earlier use as a mango orchard and dairy farm.
The garden’s collection includes all six subfamilies within the family Arecaceae, with a total of about 300 species represented. There are approximately 300 species of palms that are native to Australia and most are represented here.
Many are considered rare and threatened in their natural habitat. Around 50% of these species are naturally found in Australia which makes the plantarium a diverse experience. 60% of the plants currently in the palmetum are labelled.
A boardwalk within the park follows the wetland path and also around a small inlet from Ross River.
The Palmetum was officially opened in September 1988 as a Bicentennial project. Townsville’s Japanese sister city Tokuyama actually funded the initial development of the Licuala Walk and Tokuyama Garden, which was completed in 1996. The Palmetum has continually expanded as new palm varieties and scenic walks are added.
Tumbetin Lodge is an example of local heritage architecture. It was built in 1934 in Railway Estate for the Roman Catholic Church. It was, until 1975, used as the St Francis Xavier School and in 1993 it was relocated to its current site. The building It is constructed predominately of Australian silky oak. A Birds of the Palmetum brochure is available in the foyer of Tumbetin Lodge.
The Blackhawk Memorial was completed in 1997 and is dedicated to the 18 soldiers who lost their lives in a training exercise accident at the High Range Training Area near Townsville.
Any visitor would agree that the Palmetum is an exotic and attractive feature of our city, and a significant botanic achievement.
The changing face of the developing Palmetum allows visitors to return year after year and still be delighted with the seasonal changes that continue to occur.
Public facilities include public conveniences, information, selected art exhibitions, meeting rooms and The Palmetum Restaurant and Tea Rooms.
The gardens are open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.
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