Introducing Gandel Gondwana Garden

A one-of-a-kind palaeontological adventure garden coming to Melbourne Museum this year.

Explore Victoria’s biodiversity from the prehistoric to now in a brand new immersive and sensory outdoor gallery – Gandel Gondwana Garden.

Museums Victoria today announced Gandel Gondwana Garden, due to open in late 2022 at Melbourne Museum.

Gandel Gondwana Garden is a partnership between Museums Victoria, the Andrews Labor government which announced significant investment for this project in the Victorian Budget 2021/22, and the generous support of esteemed Victorian philanthropists, Mr John Gandel AC and Mrs Pauline Gandel AC, in honour of whom the Garden has been named. This latest donation from Mr and Mrs Gandel equals their previous contribution to the Museum, which at the time was the single largest philanthropic donation to Melbourne Museum.

The garden will expand Melbourne Museum’s spaces for children connecting the much-loved Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery with a new 900 square metre outdoor play-based learning gallery for six-to-12-year-olds. This new outdoor learning space will also connect to the newly opened Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs. First People’s stories of Creation will feature throughout Gandel Gondwana Garden and chronicle Australian Indigenous cosmogony and the inextricable link between land, language and culture.

Gandel Gondwana Garden is an expansion of the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery, taking visitors on an expedition across the five different ecosystems and reconstructing the habitats that have shaped Victoria’s environment over time. As visitors make their way through the garden, they will explore the natural ecosystems that make life on Earth possible. Named after the supercontinent Gondwana that connected most of the southern hemisphere, including Australia, visitors will discover a palaeontological adventure for the ages, encountering Victoria’s prehistoric megafauna, plants, habitats and ecosystems in a sensory and interactive journey as they move through the evolution of Victoria’s environment.

Danny Pearson, Minister for Creative Industries, said, “Melbourne Museum is Victoria’s ultimate drawcard for the curious mind and with new attractions including Horridus the Triceratops, it continues to delight visitors from around Victoria, Australia and the world. The Gandel Gondwana Garden is an immersive wonderland, letting kids roam through our natural history and appreciate the extraordinary creatures that once roamed this land.”

Lynley Crosswell, CEO and Director of Museums Victoria said, “The Gandel Gondwana Garden will capture the imaginations of generations of children and families. Complementing the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery, this unique outdoor learning space will captivate young audiences through play-led learning and spark a deep engagement with science and the world around us. We are deeply grateful to the Victorian State Government and to Mr John Gandel AC and Mrs Pauline Gandel AC and the Gandel Foundation for their continued generous support of our Museums and the contribution they have made to the enrichment and education of more than a million children.”

“Our family has had a great experience with the Melbourne Museum through the Children’s Gallery project, which has been a runaway success since opening its doors back in 2016. We are therefore very pleased to extend our support for, and partnership with, the Museum and help them create another wonderful learning space, this time for slightly older children. The brand new, interactive and immersive Gondwana outdoor space will encourage our youth to engage, develop their skills, their inquisitiveness and their thirst for knowledge and learning, which is critically important for their future success in life,” said Mrs Pauline Gandel AC.

Gandel Gondwana Garden is one of three major projects that will create world-leading experiences at Melbourne Museum for audiences from across Victoria and beyond. The first of these projects, the new exhibition Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs featuring Horridus, the world’s most complete and finely preserved Triceratops, opened in March 2022.