Alfred Nicolas Gardens Boat House
Situated on Sherbrooke Road in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges, the Burnham Beeches Estate is home to Alfred Nicholas Gardens.
The Alfred Nicholas Gardens are famous for their striking waterfalls, water features, iconic decorative lake, and boathouse.
Alfred Nicholas and brother George developed the painkiller formula Aspro, becoming the first person to patent the drug after being lost after WW1.
Alfred purchased the land in 1929 and continued to buy land around it, increasing the property’s size to 13 acres. Burnham Beeches Estate is an Art Deco treasure designed for Nicholas in the early thirties and is similar to an ocean liner’s lines.
Alfred travelled around Victoria and overseas looking for established trees to populate his gardens, planning them with a lake, rock pools, and beautiful designs. He hired an expert to help with the creation of the gardens.
Alfred Nicholas Gardens almost lost
They weren’t finished before his death in 1937, although he finalised most of the planting. His widow was alone to look after the property, resulting in the garden falling into a degenerative state.
The property has a long history of admirers. It’s gone through many ownership changes, being a hotel, Children’s Hospital in the 1940s, a research facility in the ’50s, with new extensions added to it in both the 1950s and 1980s.
After falling into disrepair unusable in the 90s, the Estate was purchased in 2010 and upgraded to modern standards.
The gardens themselves are now owned and operated by Parks Victoria. Significant restorations were made in the late 90s, transforming and recreating the spectacular location that has become the Alfred Nicholas gardens we know today.
Many native birds are in the gardens, king parrots and colourful rosellas, ducks in the lake, and kookaburras in the treetops. A blend of native and exotic trees, mountain ash, ginkgoes, maples and liquid ambers decorate the garden.
Flowering exotic shrubs, bulbs and trees provide colour throughout the year.