Preliminary planning of the Botanic Gardens began in 1961 with the first trees planted the following year. The work was supervised by Council’s Superintendent of Parks, Tom Wood, after whom the main drive is named.
The gardens were officially opened in August 1968 by the Director of Botanic Gardens, Adelaide, Mr T.R.R. Lothian.
In 1988, Australia’s bicentennial celebrations acted as a catalyst for many new developments and completion of projects already underway. These included the model railway, outdoor entertainment area (music bowl), the tree chapel, fitness trail and a pedestrian bridge. The Camellia, Cactus and Shakespearian gardens were also developed during this time.
The extensive rose garden and Australian native plant section located within the Botanic Gardens formed part of the original design. An addition to the Gardens in 1995 was the Waterwise garden, which includes models demonstrating how to minimise water use.