Olive Pink Botanic Garden is a reserve developed for the display of
a somewhat eclectic collection of trees and shrubs native to the
central Australian region as well as various cacti, garden flowers, and
introduced trees around Home Hut that could withstand the harsh
summers. The gardens features a network of walking tracks, extensive
plantings of mulga, red gums and various other tree specie, a waterhole
and sand dune habitat, with an interpretive display installed within
the Visitor Centre. The Garden is located within walking distance of
the Alice Springs Central Business District.
Entry by donation.
Location: Tuncks Rd Alice Springs NT 0870. Ph (08) 8952 2154.
Miss Olive Pink
Miss Olive Muriel Pink was an extraordinary individual – she
contributed to the development of the field of anthropology, campaigned
vigorously for the rights of Aboriginal Australians long before it was
fashionable to do so, was an accomplished artist, and was the visionary
force behind the development of the first Arid Zone Botanic Garden in
the southern hemisphere. Miss Pink did not arrive in Alice Springs
until she was well in to her forties, arriving first in 1930 on an
extended sketching holiday in which she travelled on the Ghan railcar
and stopped off at various railway sidings where she set up camp to
The University of Tasmania has an excellent website that showcases a
significant collection of Miss Pink’s wildflower sketches, some
of which Olive Pink Botanic Garden used in an exhibition of Miss
Pink’s Central Australian wildflower sketches held March 17th
-31st 2007. Over the next decade Miss Pink visited Central Australia
several times, living variously on the outskirts of Alice Springs or in
the Tanami Desert where she undertook some of the significant early
anthropological studies of Arrernte and Warlpiri people.
She published some of her research in well-respected anthropological
journals, but she never formally completed her academic thesis due to a
combination of ill health during her fieldwork, competition for the
same Aboriginal informants with more established anthropologists, and
withdrawal of university support for her research. From 1942-1946 Miss
Pink lived with Warlpiri people at Thompson’s Rockhole in the
Tanami Desert, where she attempted to set up a ‘secular
sanctuary’ for Warlpiri – a campaign that engaged her
considerable lobbying skills and consumed a significant amount of her
time over the rest of her life.