A Botanical Garden was first established in Suva back in 1881 by the Consul, Sir John Thurston, KCMG (1836-97), acting Governor 1881-87 & Governor 1888-97, a knowledgeable amateur botanist. Thurston’s Palm is named after him. In 1913 the Botanic Gardens were moved to their current location and eventually renamed Thurston Gardens in 1976. The gardens are on the site of where the original town of Suva stood, and wherein 1843 a bloody battle took place, many of the inhabitants being killed.
The drinking fountain was presented by Henry Marks for the use of the public visiting the gardens in 1914 and shortly after that, the Marks family presented the octagonal bandstand with its classical, columned clock tower. The clock tower and bandstand were officially opened in 1918 and were often used for musical concerts.
In 1949, the Garden’s collection of plants consisted of twenty types of ornamental and timber trees, seventeen types of palms, various trees and shrubs, grasses, orchids and ferns. Thurston Gardens are currently going through a redevelopment phase to restore them to their former glory and make them a more usable place for the Suva public. There is an avenue of 101 royal palms and 39 tree ferns.
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