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Local volunteers take out prestigious Botanic Gardens award
May 11, 2023

Local community group, Friends of the Sale Botanic Gardens are enjoying a proud moment after longstanding members Heather Harrington, Dianne Honey, and Evelyn McAdam were awarded the 2023 AAFBG Handbury Award at an event held in Melbourne last week.

The announcement was made at the Association of Friends of Botanic Gardens Inc (AAFFB) Annual General Meeting in Melbourne, Victoria on Friday 5 May 2023.

The Handbury Award is named after the late Geoff Handbury AO, a major benefactor of the AAFBG, and recognises exceptional contributions to an Australian Botanic Garden, Arboretum or Park, by an AAFBG member group or individual from a member group.

Heather, Dianne, and Evelyn were announced as Category One winners – showing long-term dedication to fostering the cause of the Sale Botanic Gardens through volunteering, including writing, promotion, advocacy, and education.  

Heather, as President of the Friends of the Sale Botanic Gardens was acknowledged for showing outstanding leadership through education and establishment of tour programs and engaging with the community.

Evelyn as Secretary of the Friends of the Sale Botanic Gardens was celebrated for maintaining effective administration, communication, and correspondence for members and the public.  

Dianne was awarded for being the operational driving force behind promotion of the gardens via social media and networking, enabling the group to reach a wider audience and establish a steady growth of followers.  

The Friends of Sale Botanic Gardens volunteer group was established in 2000 to assist Wellington Shire to re-awaken the Gardens. Two decades later, the group continues to play an active role in promoting the Gardens through monthly guided tours, events and activities and publishing quartley newsletters.

With strong Council support, the Friends of Sale Botanic Gardens has been pivotal in supporting the revitalisation of the Gardens by replacing trees and restoring plant collections.  

Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye acknowledged the award recipients and the wonderful team working together at the Sale Botanic Gardens.  

“Council would like to congratulate Heather, Dianne, Evelyn and thank all members of the Friends of Sale Botanic Gardens volunteering group for continuing to enrich the lives of everyone who visits the Gardens each and every year, Cr Bye said.

For more information, visit or follow the Friends of the Sale Botanic Gardens on Facebook.

The Sale Botanic Gardens originated in 1860 and is the only surviving Botanic Gardens from the Colonial era, still to be located in Gippsland. Regarded as one the premier gardens in Victoria, the Sale Botanic Gardens occupies 5.1 hectares on the eastern periphery of Lake Guthridge and boasts 4 km of walking trails, beautiful gardens, a playground, sculptures, sensory garden, elm forest, the Nakunbalook Environmental and Cultural Education Centre, and is home to a variety of fauna.

Pictured from left, Dianne Honey, Open Space Officer Tracey Parker, Cr Carolyn Crossley, Friends of Sale Botanic Gardens Fred Hellriegel, Heather Harrington, Sale Botanic Gardens Curator Tony King and Evelyn McAdam.

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