After ten years as Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Tim Entwistle has decided to pursue other interests, “such as writing and speaking, and perhaps seek new civic roles”. He expects to depart in July, leaving plenty of time to find a successor.
He began his working career at RBG Melbourne as a botanist in the 1990s, returning to the Gardens in 2013 as Director. His stated aim then was “to make the Botanic Gardens an essential part of Melbourne’s cultural life – an international cultural attraction, while leading in science-based conservation.” He believes that, and more has been achieved.
“We’ve transformed our two beautiful botanic gardens – at Melbourne and Cranbourne – into places for celebration and inspiration. In December 2022, the Gardens won the Major Tourist Attraction prize at the Victorian Tourism Awards – for the third year in a row – off the back of winning the National Award earlier in the year. The Gardens established (what I like to call) Victoria’s Plant Rescue and Care Unit, combining bushfire recovery, Victoria’s Conservation Seedbank and the country’s leading native orchid conservation program. Science has prospered, expanding into ‘genomics and bioinformatics,’ and delivering more plant information and new discoveries through the online VicFlora and HortFlora websites. I’m delighted that Conservation Horticulture, combining science and horticulture, is now an indispensable part of RBGV’s future,” Tim said.
Over recent years, he said he had been particularly delighted to support an increase in the diversity of plant collections at both sites and a stronger focus on conservation and extension.
“This was alongside a strengthening of our international profile and leadership through the establishment of the Climate Change Alliance of Botanic Gardens (now with over 500 members from around the world), contributions to Botanic Gardens Conservation International and International Association of Botanic Gardens, plus hosting the 7th Global Botanic Gardens Congress in Melbourne in September 2022 (for the first time in Australia), closely followed by the 17th Australasian Botanic Guides Conference”, he added. Over recent years, Tim has also advocated strongly for a new herbarium to protect our “precious State Botanical Collection, and for a Nature Science Precinct, including the return of the Great Melbourne Telescope, to bring the wonders of our natural world to all visitors.”