One of the newer additions to the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney is
Rathborne Lodge, located in the southern part of the gardens. This
historic sandstone cottage was for many years was known as ‘Cottage 4’.
Due to a generous bequest from Cliffina (‘Babs’) Rathborne, the cottage
has been restored and refurbished.
Built in 1856 for the Governor’s gardener, within the site of the
kitchen garden for Government House, the cottage was incorporated into
the Botanic Gardens during the 1870s. It was then used as accommodation
for the gardens’ staff, but later became a residence for the
Superintendent of the Gardens.
Jack and Babs Rathborne cherished the Royal Botanic Gardens, it was
here that their courtship took place and in the last months of Jack’s
Gardens were his favourite and regular place of contemplation.
It wasn’t until after Babs’ death in 1998, that her bequest was
revealed. Her will provided for ‘a suitable gift to the memory of (her)
late husband John and in recognition of the enjoyment which the Gardens
gave to both of us’.
Now future generations can share the enjoyment of the gardens, with
this generous gift, that has given new life to the historic building now
named ‘Rathborne Lodge’.
Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.