E.G. Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens Turn Fifty!

Location: Caringbah south 104 President Avenue View on map


Open: Monday - Friday: 9am - 4pm Weekends and Public Holidays Saturday: 9.30am - 5pm Sunday: 9.30am - 5pm Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Did you know the E. G. Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens turned 50 in July 2020? 

Our community’s passion for nature has made the Gardens an incredibly popular site for visitors and residents alike. The pathways, contemplation corners, picnic areas, birdlife, and yes, flowers are wonderful all year round.

There are hundreds of different camellia cultivars growing at the Gardens.  The camellias flower from the start of autumn till early springtime and are at their best between April and August each year.   Visit any day that the sun shines for the atmosphere, and a coffee at the Teahouse.

The site’s rich history goes back further than 1970. The land was first noted for potential sale in 1825 and was advertised for auction in 1855. It was eventually sold (in part) to Thomas Holt and became part of his Sutherland Estate before it was obtained by the Matson family and turned into the popular recreational area known as the Matson Pleasure Grounds in the early 1900s. During this time it existed as a picnic and boating area for locals and was even used to host a visit by the Crown Prince of Japan and officers of the visiting Japanese fleet in 1905.

Camellia Gardens - website heritage image Matsons Pleasure Grounds [bay view]_Image courtes... (A6915438).jpg

The area was sub-divided during the war years and the reserve that was left became Kareena Park. From there it was transformed into the Gardens we all know and love today.

The Gardens were opened by Lady Cutler on 18 July 1970 to commemorate the bicentenary of the arrival of Lt James Cook at Kurnell in 1770. In 1971, a memorial to Elizabeth Cook was unveiled in 1971 by the then-Deputy Shire President, Cr Jean Manuel.

The Gardens, which contain one of the largest collections of camellias in Australia, were named after Professor Eban Gowrie Waterhouse (1881-1977), a distinguished Australian linguist and expert on camellias. Professor Gowrie served as the first President of the International Camellia Society (1962). The Gardens were developed as an all-seasons area over two hectares and feature, among the remarkable collection of camellias, many other ornamental and native plants.

The successful establishment of the Gardens is due to the amazing voluntary effort of Eric Utick BEM (1915-2005) who served as the Honorary Director for over 30 years.

If you would like to discover more about the E.G. Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens, explore Sutherland Shire Libraries' local history collection.

To find out more about the Gardens, including opening hours, guided tours and maps, click here.

Council acknowledges and pays respect to the Dharawal speaking people, the traditional custodians of the land on which the Gardens sit.


More information


Enquiries can be directed to the Sutherland Shire Council on 9710 0333 or ssc@ssc.nsw.gov.au


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