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Arboretum Newsletter November 2014

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  Arboretum Newsletter November 2014
Welcome to the Arboretum’s newsletter where we keep you informed about the latest news and activities. It’s been a really busy spring so far, with our school holiday programs and activities proving very popular. Good progress is also being made on a range of capital works projects including the Water Security and Events Terrace projects. Our business partners, Ginger Catering and the Curatoreum, continue to provide great service to our visitors, while our horticultural team and contractors are busy managing the flush of spring growth in the forests and the bonsai collection.
A warm welcome also to readers who have subscribed via the new ‘Join our mailing list’ button on the Arboretum’s homepage. We will send you a short e-newsletter about every six weeks, plus the occasional invitation as the opportunity arises. Please let your colleagues and friends know about this e-newsletter. Your comments are always welcome. Please call 02 6207 8484 or email: if you would like to contribute any feedback.

  Improved Access for Guests at the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion

New, improved car parking facilities and lighting at the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion mean function guests can now park their vehicles close to the Pavilion, greatly enhancing guest access to the venue. The Pavilion car park has 36 car parking spaces, including 4 designated disabled parking spaces. The improved parking and lighting makes the Pavilion even more attractive for functions, especially night-time events. To inquire or book the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion contact Ginger Catering on 02 6130 0173 or email

       New Dam to Improve Water Security

Noticed some earthworks near the Tuggeranong Parkway? Construction on Stage 4 of the Water Security Project at the Arboretum is underway and scheduled to finish by the end of 2014. Works include the construction of a new 7 megalitre dam near the junction of River Road and Persian Walnut Road (Forest 91), irrigation pipelines and electrical infrastructure to power the pumps. The new infrastructure will transfer water from a nearby bore to the dam before it is pumped up to the underground storage tank on Dairy Farmers Hill, to be gravity-fed to the forests when needed. Some road closures and trail diversions are necessary during the construction, including parts of River Road, Totara Road and the Bicentennial National Trail (BNT). The BNT is diverted to Boundary Road and the underpass under the Tuggeranong Parkway near Persian Walnut Road is closed for the period of construction. Detours are signposted to direct horse-riders, walkers, runners and cyclists to Boundary Road. More...


  Ceremonial Tree Plantings

Most recently, The Prime Minister His Excellency Mr Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Honourable Mr Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia were joined by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher MLA in planting a silver birch (Pendula betula) in Central Valley at the National Arboretum Canberra on 7 November 2014. A few weeks earlier, Her Majesty, Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan, accompanied by the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, Ms Katy Gallagher MLA, and members of the Bhutanese community, planted a Bhutan cypress (Cupressus cashmeriana) in Central Valley on 22 October 2014.

Both trees are excellent, advanced specimens - take a look next time you are out and about in the Arboretum. The trees are located at the bottom of the Central Valley where the zig-zag pathway straightens out.

  Progress in the Forests

Now that the soil and air temperatures are warming up, the horticultural team are busy fertilising selected forests and improving the soil to make the most of the trees’ spring growth and boost their vigour. They will soon be replanting Forests 104 and 65 as part of the annual replanting schedule. With summer just around the corner, water security and irrigation testing are also top priorities. Together with the Friends of the Arboretum, the horticultural team have removed the frost protection covers from the Dragon trees (Dracaena draco) in Forest 15. They have also removed some of the Camden white gums (Eucalyptus benthamii) in Forest 30, to ensure the remaining trees grow healthy and strong. Thinning is part of ensuring forest health and marks a milestone in the establishment of this forest, which in 2007 was the first forest to be planted.

  New Bonsai Trees

Come in to the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection next time you are at the Arboretum, and see new works of bonsai art. Leigh Taafe, Curator of the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection, recently returned 11 precious bonsai trees from the Collection to their owners in Victoria, and returned with 8 new trees on loan for the Collection: a broom-style English elm (Mr. McGee’s tree), an informal upright English elm, a Japanese black pine grown over a rock, a lovely Australian native Brush box, a small Chinese elm, a mini Trident maple grown over a rock, a mini Willow-leaf fig and a multi-trunk Seiju elm.

  Education Programs Growing Strongly

The Education program continues to grow from strength to strength with thirteen school visits in October totalling 582 students. This is more than double the number of visits compared to October last year (2013), and an overall increase of 75% in total student numbers. The majority were interstate students from VIC, TAS, SA and NSW. The feedback from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive about the Arboretum and its educational and creative value. Many are now ensuring that the Arboretum is booked into their next annual school visit.
  Now Available - New Outdoor Space in STEP (Forest 20)

A new outdoor space is available for free public use in the Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park (STEP) Forest 20, across the road from the Village Centre car park. The new outdoor area is a delightful setting for picnics, small gatherings and school groups and features stone platforms for sitting, surrounded by native trees and gardens. Bookings are recommended by calling 02 6207 8484 or emailing:   Access is limited to pedestrians at this stage. STEP Forest 20 is a special forest in the Arboretum, planted with trees and plants native to the local Southern Tablelands area.

  Arboretum Grounds Open 6:00am-8:30pm

The Arboretum grounds and Pod Playground are open seven days a week from 6:00am until 8:30pm, so there are plenty of opportunities for early morning and evening get-togethers, walks and explorations. We encourage visitors to make the most of the extended opening hours, and as many of you know, the sunsets can be spectacular from Dairy Farmers Hill and Pod Playground can be cooler and less busy at either end of the day. The Village Centre, Sprout Cafe, The Curatoreum and the Bonsai Collection are open seven days a week from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm as usual. The Conservatory Restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch from 12 noon until 2:00pm and weekends only for breakfast from 7:00am until 11:00am.

  Foundation Members’ Honour Board Unveiled

The Foundation Members’ Honour Board was recently unveiled near the front glass doors of the Village Centre, in recognition of the fundamental contribution made towards the Arboretum’s development by Foundation Members. The Foundation Program supports the Arboretum’s evolution into one of the world's most significant arboreta; a place of outstanding beauty and community and scientific value. A Foundation Membership is a lifelong membership with a range of benefits. More information here.

    New Office for Friends

The Friends of the Arboretum now have a freshly painted and fitted out office in the small building next to the Administration building near Discovery Garden. Wheelchair access is via a timber ramp. The Friends’ office shares a kitchen, bathroom, meeting room and storage area with Arboretum staff. The office facility will allow the Arboretum and Friends to work together even more closely.

  Voices in the Forest Sunday 30 November 4:45pm – 8:30pm

Canberra's operatic spectacular, Voices in the Forest, will be a magnificent musical showcase at the National Arboretum Canberra on Sunday, 30 November 2014 from 4:45pm – 8:30pm. Enjoy superb performances by some of the finest voices in the world, featuring world-renowned Latvian soprano, Inessa Galante, New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill and Opera Australia baritone, Peter Coleman-Wright, performing a program of well-known operatic arias, Broadway and pop songs. The wonderful Curatoreum Store will be open for extended hours into the evening for browsing and shopping. See the full story...

        Opportunity for Budding Snappers

The National Arboretum is one of the most scenic spots in Canberra. To help celebrate its beauty, a new annual photo competition has been created and is offering participants the chance to win prize money up to $1000, see their photos displayed at the Arboretum and featured in the Arboretum’s promotional, media and communication activities. The goal is to gather exciting and innovative images to promote the Arboretum regionally, nationally and internationally, and to support amateur photography. The competition, run by the Friends of the Arboretum, has several categories: 12 years or under; high school/college students; and adults. Entries close on Saturday 31 January 2014. More information...

        Music with a View Classical Guitar Concert  23 November at 1pm

Join Australian guitarist Matt Withers for an afternoon concert featuring a beautiful selection of classical guitar favourites including Asturias, Recuerdos de la Alhambra and La Catedral, in the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion with panoramic views over Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin and beyond. Matt has just returned from a European tour of concerts, master classes and festivals. Music with a View will include world premiere performances of the winning works from the inaugural Matt Withers Young Australian Music Composition Competition. Tickets available Try Booking website. Bookings are essential as spaces are strictly limited for this special event. No tickets will be available at the door. More information: Matt Withers' website, call 0401 023 767 or
  A Curious Christmas with Special Gifts
The Curatoreum is stocking up on wonderful books, gifts, children’s activities, home wares and jewellery in time for Christmas. With its focus on sourcing unique gifts and books, there is sure to be something new to discover each visit. The knowledgeable staff are always happy to help you find the perfect gift or special something. And remember to show your Arboretum Member’s or Friend’s card for a 10% discount at both the National Arboretum and the National Portrait Gallery stores. For more information visit or call 02 6251 3371.

  Rio Carnival New Year’s Eve Party at the Arboretum  31 December 7:30pm – 1am

Ring in the New Year with dazzling colour and celebration at a party in the Village Centre, overlooking panoramic night-time views of the city lights. Canapes on arrival, 3 course dinner, entertainment, DJ and drinks. Bookings essential at, 02 6130 0170

  Springtime Master Class Dinners at the Conservatory Restaurant

Come into the Arboretum kitchen for a series of culinary master classes with a delicious difference, as Janet Jeffs and her team from Ginger Catering share their tips and techniques while preparing a four-course dinner together to enjoy with matching wines. You will learn how to prepare each top-quality dish at home in your own kitchen. Be prepared to have fun, learn some new tricks and try tantalising tastes and textures to re-create at home. Each dinner includes champagne and recipe notes. More information, including costs...


      Visitor Numbers

As of 31 October 2014, over 787,000 visitors have come through the doors of the Village Centre since the Arboretum opened to the public in February 2013.

      More news on twitter, facebook and website

The Arboretum is more active online than ever! To hear more about what’s happening at the Arboretum and see photos, check out the website, follow us on and  

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