Rhododendron Society brings Olinda Police Station’s garden to life

Olinda Police with the Australian Rhododendron Society. Pictures: PARKER MCKENZIE

By Parker McKenzie

Within the lobby of Olinda Police Station, a newspaper clipping hangs on the wall showing the garden at the old police station down the road.

When Sergeant Roy Higgins first came to Olinda Police Station 18 months ago and saw the difference between the heritage police station’s garden and the one at the current building, he knew he wanted to do something about it.

“When I came out and looked at our garden, I thought it looked just like a barren desert,” he said.

“Why can’t we make it exactly the same? It might not happen fast, but in 10 years’ time, it should be exactly what the old police station used to be.”

He decided to approach the Australian Rhodendron Society, which was founded in Olinda and established the Dandenong Ranges Botanical Gardens.

Prue Crome from the Society said the garden would feature different colours and varieties of the plant when they matured.

“It’ll probably start looking good in about two or three years and then at some point down the track in 10 to 15 years they will get too big,” she said.

“Roy is going to sort out a sign to promote the society. Rhododendrons are actually really tough plants.”

The brightly coloured plants usually bloom sometime between late winter and early summer.

Sergeant Higgins said it was important to recognise the hard work of the Rhododendron Society for not just the police station, but Olinda as a whole.

“Without them and their efforts, we couldn’t get it done,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out.”