History - Ballarat Begonia Festival
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The Ballarat Begonia Festival is an innovative garden-based horticultural festival that showcases our city’s natural assets including our unique and rare collection of Begonias.


Established in 1953, the Ballarat Begonia Festival is an innovative garden-based horticultural event that showcases Ballarat’s natural assets including its unique and rare collections of begonias. For 10 months of the year, the City of Ballarat’s horticultural team has grown and nurtured thousands of begonias in over 500 varieties. The impressive collection is the rarest in the Southern hemisphere. The annual event is held in March and represents an authentic part of Ballarat’s story. It is one of Ballarat’s largest events drawing thousands of visitors to the city.

  • 1953: The opening of the first Begonia Festival in Ballarat
  • 1954: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visits the Festival
  • 1953-1993: Ballarat Begonia Festival hosts ‘Queen of Begonia’. A judging panel would select one woman to become the annual Queen of Begonias. Her role was to promote the Festival and appear in the parade
  • 1960: The ‘new’ begonia glasshouse in the Botanical Gardens was opened and the floral clock was installed. it was the largest electrically motorised floral clock in the world at the time
  • 1964: The floral carpet was the first large-scale, live flower floral carpet, measuring 30 feet by 21 feet and featuring over 700,000 specially grown blooms
  • 1972: Festival introduces Princesses of Begonias (runners-up)
  • 1973: Annual parade moves to Lake Wendouree
  • 1993: The Festival crowns its last Queen of Begonias
  • 1995: The newly opened Robert Clark Conservatory became a focal point of the Festival.
  • 1999: The Festival celebrated 100 years of begonias being present in Ballarat
  • 2012: 60th year celebrations
  • 2015: The world’s largest outdoor LEGO flower, made by Brickman Ryan McNaught, was launched at the Festival
  • 2022: 70th year celebrations
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25 Armstrong Street South, Ballarat Central VIC 3350

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