The changing name of the Rhodo Gardens, Blackheath

When looking through all the minutes from the Management Committee over the 50 years you realise that the Rhodo Gardens were not officially named for many years. It seems from the time the land was gazetted to the Society for the development of a Rhododendron Garden on 13th March 1970 it was known as “The Rhododendron Garden Project.” This name was used in July 1972 when the Leura Garden Club showed interest in the project and requested a speaker to attend one of their meetings. This garden club went on to support the project with some funding.   

We are not sure who applied to the Geographical Names Board for formal name recognition, but in September 1981 “The Blue Mountains Rhododendron Garden and Research Area” was the name approved by that august body & assigned at this time. Interestingly, there still seems to be some conjecture! Norm Campbell said the title was always “Gardens” to be different from The Memorial Park which is often referred to as The Rhododendron Park. This name does not appear in any of the papers the authors have sighted. 

20 years went by and on 12.5.1990 during the 20th Anniversary Celebrations Harold Coates named the Gardens “The Blue Mountains Rhododendron Society of NSW Inc Bacchante Gardens” shortened to “Bacchante Gardens”. 

Olive Campbell died in December 1994 and Norm was ageing. On 19.8.1995, Dick Harris, a Patron, proposed a motion at the general meeting, quoted as follows in the minutes, “Dick Harris put a motion that the Bacchante Gardens be renamed ‘the Campbells’ Bacchante Garden’ ” in honour of the outstanding devotion and service to the Society of Olive and Norm Campbell for over 25 years, Motion was carried”.

We now have a problem because there is no reference to what the Gardens specialise in. 

So at a Management Committee meeting on 20.7.2001, as recorded in the minutes, “Pam (Smith) suggested Gardens name be changed to CAMPBELLS’ RHODODENDRON GARDENS, BACCHANTE ST, BLACKHEATH. General agreement, to take to next Gen Meet.”

On the 15.9.2001 “New name officially accepted as “Campbell Rhododendron Gardens, Bacchante Street, Blackheath”.

The full name of the Gardens remains to this day!

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