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Creators of the world’s biggest indoor rainforest plan massive eco-tourism attraction in Australia

Monique Hore, May 22, 2019 6:45PM Herald Sun

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The original Eden Project in Cornwall, UK. You can seem the series of domes that are distinct environments, such as a rainforest and a Western Australian garden. Picture: iStock media_cameraThe original Eden Project in Cornwall, UK. You can seem the series of domes that are distinct environments, such as a rainforest and a Western Australian garden. Picture: iStock


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Australia is set to get its own Eden Project on land that was once a coal mine.

The $150 million eco-tourism* development will be built at the site of Alcoa’s former coal mine in Anglesea, Victoria.

The original Eden Project is a series of indoor and outdoor human-made nature environments in domes on the site of a former clay mine in Cornwall in the UK. It includes the world’s biggest indoor rainforest, a Mediterranean garden and a Western Australian garden to help people learn about nature.

More than 20 million tourists have visited since it opened in 2001.

The Eden Project is run by a UK-based education and environment charity* of the same name.

The charity has been called in to help fix up the 143ha site, with plans for an artificial lake and tourism centre to teach visitors about the environment and climate change.

Australia’s Eden Project would not be a copy of the original but would include “a series of buildings nestled* into the landscape”.

media_cameraAn artist’s impression of the proposed Eden Project at Anglesea, Victoria. Picture: AAP

Eden Project International’s David Harland said the attraction would focus on the “indigenous concept of fire, water, air and earth”.

There would also be shops and eating places and possibly places to stay the night.

“This is about creating a great day out for people,” Mr Harland said.

“A lot of people drive down there but zoom straight past Anglesea because it is the start of the Great Ocean Rd*.”

The attraction is tipped to draw thousands of new visitors to the small beach town of Anglesea and create at least 300 full-time jobs.

People have been arguing about how best to fix up and use the former mine site for many years. A plan to revegetate* the site with plants that would have once grown on that land was abandoned in 2017.

media_cameraThe former coal mine at Anglesea, Victoria, where The Eden Project plans to build its new Australian environmental education centre. Picture: AAP

Proposals since have included an outdoor adventure park, art museum, brewery* and holiday resort, prompting concern from residents and community groups.

Mr Harland said The Eden Project’s plans would only be built with community support.

“If the local people say to us ‘we really, really don’t want this’, well why would we come?” Mr Harland said.

“This is not something that we want to force on people.”

The Eden Project said it hoped the attraction would open in late 2023 or early 2024.

In 2016 the Tasmanian government discussed an approach by the Eden Project to set up an Australian version at a former railway yard in Hobart, Tasmania.

media_cameraAn artist’s impression of how the mine site could look once it is redeveloped.


  • eco-tourism: sustainable tourism with a focus on experiencing nature
  • charity: not-for-profit organisation to help people or something
  • nestled: settled into
  • Great Ocean Road: Famous scenic Victorian coast road that is also a war memorial
  • revegetate: put plants back
  • brewery: where beer is made


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  1. What has the land been used for in the past?
  2. How much land is at the mine site?
  3. What would the focus of the new Eden Project be?
  4. What other uses have been suggested for the site?
  5. Why is Hobart mentioned?


1. Create an artwork
In the story,David Harland said Australia’s  Eden Project will be inspired by the indigenous concepts of fire, water, air and earth.

Create an artwork that is inspired by at least one of these concepts.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity 
Curriculum Links: Visual Arts, Critical and Creative Thinking.

 2. Extension 
If you lived in Anglesea, would you want the eco-tourism Eden Project to be built in your town?

Write a list of benefits (good things) and disadvantages (problems or bad things) of the Eden Project. Then, use your lists to write down your opinion on why having the Eden Project built in your town would be a good or bad thing.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity 
Curriculum Links: English, Geography, Civics and Citizenship

Once Eden is designed and opened for the public, they are going to need to start convincing people how special it is, and inviting everyone to come and visit.

Write out a radio advertisement promoting Eden. As the Australian version is not set on its design plans yet, base your ad on the UK Eden.

Remember to use your VCOP to convince the audience to come along.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Should Australia get an Eden Project? Where should it be? Would you visit?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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